Dr. Sukhpreet Sandhu of HM.Clause presented the $10,000 Food and Agriculture Sector Award to the Chilk team, which is creating a healthy, vegan boba milk tea. Chilk’s CEO Leo Liu (second from right) is a Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry at UCLA.

Startups Make a Splash at the UC Davis Big Bang Business Competition

Prizes worth more than $100,000 were distributed at the 22nd annual awards ceremony

Back Web Only Jun 2, 2022 By Charles Vincent McDonald

The UC Davis campus is always full of fresh ideas, but innovation was at an especially high pitch last Thursday during the 22nd annual Big Bang! Business Competition awards ceremony. Held in person for the first time since 2019, the ceremony presented over $100,000 in prize money and in-kind awards to early-stage startups in the food and agriculture, health, energy/sustainability, and social enterprise sectors. Some of the inventions on display included a medical device that detects fetuses’ oxygen levels, a machine-learning tool that analyzes livestock health, and a boba milk tea that’s healthy, vegan and all-natural.

The UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition, organized by the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has been helping entrepreneurs start or grow business ventures for more than two decades. Contestants do not need to be UC Davis students, but at least one founder on each team must be associated with a higher education institution in California. The Child Institute also holds a concurrent Little Bang! competition for students in high school, college or graduate school to present early-stage business concepts through posters and pitches. The mix of current students and successful entrepreneurs at the event created a celebratory, collegiate mood at the UC Davis Alumni Center. 

Meet some of the innovators who are working to build our future world.  

2022 Big Bang! finalist Zeeshan Khan (right), founder of the physical therapy startup Zoetic Motion, spoke with John Selep, president of the AgTech Innovation Alliance.

Chantal Deslauriers is co-founder of MatterCup. The MatterCup startup was created to combat the ever-growing mountain of waste from single-use cups and won the $10,000 Energy + Sustainability Award, sponsored by SMUD. Chantal is a UC Davis communication and art history double major.

The eight winning student teams in the UC Davis 2022 Little Bang! Pitch + Poster Competition share the stage.

UC Davis communication and art history double major Chantal Deslauriers (on the left), co-founder of MatterCup, received the $10,000 Energy + Sustainability Award from Heidi Pyle (on the right) of SMUD. SMUD sponsored the $10,000 Energy + Sustainability Award.

UC Davis biological science major Kalie Marland (on the left), co-founder of Beat Medical, received the $10,000 Human Health and Industry Sector Award from Elissa Roser (on the right), assistant dean and chief of staff at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Beat Medical has developed an innovative breathing tube holder.

UC Davis Ph.D. candidate in animal biology Catie McVey (on the left), founder of DairyFIT, received the $10,000 Animal Health + Industry Sector Award. DairyFIT is an AI platform that provides insight into livestock health. Pictured with Niki Peterson (on the right, holding Tink), senior program manager at the UC Davis Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Cameron Gallad (on the left), CEO of JusCheckIt, and Jackson Wise (in the center), CFO of JusCheckIt, received the $10,000 Social Entrepreneurship Award, presented by Karen Harding-Davis, program coordinator at the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. UC Davis alumni Cameron Gallad and Jackson Wise are co-founders of the startup, which is creating an online community for legal information and representation.

UC Davis MBA student Regina Hoang (left) and Kourosh Vali (center), a doctoral candidate in computer engineering, won the $20,000 First Place Award for the best innovation in this year’s competition. Storx Technologies developed a medical device that detects fetal oxygen levels. Professor Andrew Hargadon (right), founder and faculty director of the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, presented the check.

Pictured are UC Davis biological science major Kalie Marland (on the left) and her mother Laura Marland (on the right). Kalie Marland, UC Davis biological science major and co-founder of Beat Medical, went home with three Big Bang! Prizes totaling $25,000 in funds and services, as well as a $1,000 award in the Little Bang! Competition. Beat Medical has developed an innovative breathing tube holder.

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