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 Griffin Takes Burton Morgan Competition's Top Prize

By Tim Newton

Winning team members (from left) Garth Patterson, John Scott and Dennis Barket Jr. of Griffitn Analytical Technologies stand next to an existing-technology chemical detector. Griffin has developed a miniaturized, shoebox-sized spectrometer. Team member Enrique vasquez is not present.

Griffin Analytical Technologies

GRIFFIN ANALYTICAL TECHNOLOGIES, a student based team out of Krannert's Technology Transfer initiative won first place and $20,000 at the 14th annual Burton Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition last March. The competition allows high-tech, entrepreneurial Purdue students to showcase their concepts, inventions, and business marketing skills.

The prize money rose from $30,000 last year to $54,000 in 2001, the "largest amount of prize money of any university business plan contest in the world," says Shailendra Mehta, director of the Krannert School Entrepreneurship Initiative. The number of participants has also steadily increased. Forty-three teams, totaling 220 people, participated this year. In addition to the prize money, the top projects get reduced-price office space in the Purdue Research Park and access to consultants and other resources to help get the fledgling enterprises off the ground.

The top teams were:

1st Place/$20,000- Griffin Analytical Technologies, for its miniaturized mass chemical detector. The instrument allows scientists in many fields to identify substances by measuring the mass of molecules or fragments. Griffin's founders are chemistry graduate students Dennis J. Barket, Jr. and Garth Peterson. Strategic and operations consultants are John Scott, MBA '01, and Enrique Vasquez, MBA '01, who were research assistants at TTi.

Griffin also recently won $10,000 in a business-plan competition sponsored by the University of Nebraska and also won first place in the CEO! Best Business Idea Competition from the Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago. The prize was $5,000.

2nd Place/$10,000- MECORDS.com, for its software that provides online medical records and billing services to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. MECORDS.com's president is Kintan Brahmbhatt, a Purdue computer science and economics graduate. Gabriel Chaddock, a Purdue bachelor's degree graduate in computer engineering, is the company's chief technology officer. MECORDS.com also took the $4,000 prize for being the best undergraduate entry, a new addition this year.

3rd Place/$7,000- Verifocal Systems, for its PassageWays, a business Web portal management system. Paroon Chadha, MBA '02 is the company's chief marketing officer. Prof. Patrick Duparcq, marketing, is a partner.

4th Place/$6,000- Flexbook, an e-book with a folding design and a screen that is an improvement over existing models. Principals are Tze Yi Yeoh, a graduate student in the school of Electrical and Computer, Engineering; Ram Shastri, a Purdue master's degree graduate in aeronautical engineering; and John Kibitlewski, a computer science major.

The remaining $2,000 in prize money was distributed to 20 semifinalists.

This year's judges were Jim Anderson, Foundation Capital, Menlo Park, Calif.; Don Aquilano, Gazelle Tech Ventures, Indianapolis; Bob Compton, Veregon, Indianapolis; Chris Quinn, Netfuel Ventures, Chicago; Scot Swenberg, CID Equity, Indianapolis; and Tom Weldon, Innovation Factory, Atlanta.

The competition is sponsored by Purdue alumnus and entrepreneur Burton D. Morgan, the Krannert School of Management, the Purdue Schools of Engineering and the School of Science.

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