Berkeley Lab hosts an annual pitch competition for scientist-entrepreneurs who participate in the Lab I-Corps Lite program, providing them with the opportunity to practice pitching their ideas. The first place winner advances to a DOE-wide pitch competition to compete for cash prizes supporting market research.
LBNL Pitch Competition 2021
On September 9, 2021, a handful of Berkeley Lab scientists participated in an annual pitch competition hosted by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), making their business cases for their inventions in front of a panel of judges.
The winners of the pitch competition are:
- First Place: Lukas Hackl (ETA) for “Aepnus Technology, an Electrochemical Platform Technology for the Refinement of Battery Minerals”
- Second Place: Bishoy Kamel (JGI) for “Rapid Development of COVID Precise Diagnostics”
- Third Place (tied):
- Nick Buraglio (ESnet) for “Hecate: Directing happiness to internet service provider customer” (artificial intelligence/machine learning-driven traffic engineering for high profile networks
- Peter Grant (ETA) for “SmartRecirc—Near Zero Waste Hot Water Distribution”
LBNL Pitch Competition 2020
The LBNL Pitch Competition 2020 was held on October 8 from 1:30-3:30 pm. The winners received cash prizes to be applied towards customer discovery:
- First Place: Andrew Haddad (Energy Technologies Area)
- Second Place: Dilip Vasudevan (Computing Sciences Area)
- Third Place: Reshma Singh (Energy Technologies Area)
|Sam Birenbaum, A Sustainable, Affordable, Transportable HUD-compliant Home
Spencer Dutton, Packaged HVAC and Energy Storage
LBNL Pitch Competition 2019
Eight IPO I-Corps Lite graduates pitched their technology commercialization plans to a panel of industry judges at LBNL’s 2019 Pitch Competition. August 1.
The most compelling business cases were awarded funds to continue customer discovery efforts.
- 1st place: Erika Suzuki — radioactivity mapping
- 2nd place: Andrew Voyles — radionuclide production for nuclear medicine
- 3rd place: Arun Persaud — soil health system
Other entrepreneurial researcher participants included
- Pete Christensen – recyclable polymer for circular plastics economy
- Nicholas DeForest – investing energy resources for buildings or microgrids
- Ernst Oberortner – DNA, RNA, and protein sequence design
- Maren Wehrs and Yuzhong Liu – natural dyes for safer, sustainable textiles
- Ning Sun – renewable ionic liquids
The judging panel questioned each participant to identify top features and next steps for business planning. The panel included
- Thomas Schenkel, LBNL physicist/senior administrator and 2017 pitch competition winner
- Kevin Rodondi, I-Corps instructor and UCSF pharmacy professor
- Rhonda Shrader, Haas School of Business executive director of entrepreneurship
- Virginia Rath, Quotient Design Research consultant and Haas faculty member
- Mike Biddle, Evok Innovations managing director
Interested in a future pitch event and entrepreneurial training? Contact Gregg Scharfstein, GAScharfstein@lbl.gov at 510.486.7586.