Northwestern Law Students and Alumni Awarded Startup Capital at Northwestern University Venture Challenge

June 08, 2015

Opticent Health, launched by Kieren Patel (JD-MBA ’16) won first prize at this year’s Northwestern University Venture Challenge (NUVC) competition, earning $45,000 in startup capital. Opticent Health is one of three participating startups, including MDAR Technologies and Hazel Technologies, with Law School students or alumni as part of their company leadership.

NUVC has five tracks that students compete in: Business Products, Consumer Products, Green Energy and Sustainability, Life Sciences and Medical, and Social Enterprise.

Patel’s startup designs and manufactures optical medical devices, specifically creating non-invasive tests for eye disease. In addition to winning first prize across the whole competition, Opticent Health also won first prize in the Life Sciences and Medical track of the competition. Patel has a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in Molecular and Cell Biology and has distinguished himself at Northwestern as an Innovation to Commercialization Fellow (I2C).

Jesse Chang (JD-MBA ’16) is also an I2C Fellow, Zell Scholar, and the leader behind MDAR Technologies, which pioneered a new form of 3D scanning that helps autonomous vehicles respond more accurately in difficult driving conditions. MDAR Technologies won third prize in the overall competition and first in the Business Products track.

Amy Garber (MSL ’15) started Hazel Technologies this year with classmates from her NUVention class. Their first product, FruitBrite, seeks to slow down the fruit ripening process, so that produce lasts longer and generates less waste. Hazel Technologies won second place in the Green Energy and Sustainability track.

Garber is a member of the first class of Master of Science in Law graduates at Northwestern Law, a program designed to bring together leaders with science backgrounds and provide business-centered legal training.

NUVC is a yearlong business pitch competition that provides funding and mentorship to entrepreneurs with promising business ideas. Conceived six years ago, the competition has drawn over 100 competitors from across the Northwestern University campus.