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Posted: June 21, 2010

CaraSolva comes up with a winner

So do five other companies

Brooke Wylie

Colorado startup CaraSolva, a provider of web-based software for caregivers, was named winner of the 9th Annual Bard Center Business Plan Competition in early June.

CaraSolva, one of six finalists out of 83 entries, was awarded the $10,000 first prize after all the finalists made presentations and answered questions for the judges.

"I'm delighted by the diversity of the companies," said Dr. Catherine Kunst, Executive Director at the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship. "Today is not so much about the Bard Center, it's about the entrepreneurs and connecting them to the resources they need."

The event began with emcee Chris Franks making a suggestion to the audience. "Pull your socks up, cause they might get knocked off today. "

Presentations followed from UrgentRx/Breakthrough Products, Diego Zhang's Burger Café, Shelter-Me Photography, Physical Activity Innovations, ePRepSolutions LLC and CaraSolva. The CaraSolva team, made up of Geoff Cooper, Scott Simpson and AQ Keller, describes their mission as providing caregivers more time to do what they do best - take care of people. While presenting the CaraSolva business plan, President and CEO Geoff Cooper spoke to motivations outside of revenue.

"I don't want to be a bleeding heart or anything, but we're very driven by reducing health care costs," said Cooper, whose company also received a $5,000 Healthcare Prize from Humana.

Second place in the competition, along with a $5,000 prize, went to UrgentRx/Breakthrough Products. The company, founded by Jordan Eisenberg, has created a line of credit-card sized medications for emergencies ranging from heart attacks to allergic reactions to migraines, that consumers can store in their wallets. Eisenberg explained portability as the great benefit of his product.

"These ailments don't normally strike you when you're in the middle of a Walgreens," he said. The medicine card contains a single dose of medication in powder form, so it requires no liquid, remains sanitary and goes wherever a wallet goes.

The $2,500 third prize went to Diego Zhang's Burger Café. Diego Zhang's currently has two locations and has been awarded the Best of Centennial award for taste. The restaurant offers a wide range of foods and flavors for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and prides itself on doing so.

"We are the first to market with this concept and very proud of it," said Dianna Williams, co-founder of the restaurant. Her business partner, Martin Stone, agreed, explaining to the judges why he feels Diego Zhang's would make a good franchise.

"I think Diego Zhang's offers pride in ownership. It's brand new to the market, there's nothing like it in the country," Stone said.

Shelter-Me Photography, ePRepSolutions and Physical Activity Innovations all received $1,000 awards.

Shelter-Me Photography, a Boulder based nonprofit offering free professional photography services to animal shelters, also received a $2,500 Non-Profit Prize awarded by Peter Mannetti and Ruth Krebs. The Shelter-Me Photography team, Nanette Martin, Maribeth Hite, Pam Alford, Sonja Andreasson and Laura Oldham hope to one day spread their services throughout the United States.

"We use photography to change the way people see these animals. We give them back their dignity," said Martin, a photographer and executive director. She added that some shelters have reported adoption rates as high as 100 percent of photographed animals on several occasions.

ePrepSolutions LLC from Matthew Hickey, John Hickey, Jamie Sabbach and Brian Wilkerson, offers patent-pending software to government organizations, with a focus on parks and recreation, with the goal of assisting in the effective and responsible use of tax dollars.

CEO Brian Wilkerson explained that the PASS software takes existing data, combines it with the values and goals of the community and industry expertise to create information about what should be done next in the community. He said that most important thing the PASS software can do is help governments reflect the will of the taxpayers.

Tom Pritchett, Raymond Browning, James Hill and Edward Sazonov hope to encourage weight loss and an active lifestyle through their company, Physical Activity Innovations and their first product, The Fit Companion.

The Fit Companion is an insert that fits in any shoe and provides physical activity analysis and data, through the use of Bluetooth technology. Pritchett explained to the judges that though there are many fitness devices on the market, such as pedometers, the Fit Companion is different because it is a medical device. Human trials of the Fit Companion will begin next week. After the initial trials, the company wants to complete another set of trials aimed at proving that the Fit Companion can result in a lifestyle change.

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Brooke Wylie is a ColoradoBiz intern.

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