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ECE Students, Faculty Win Two Categories in $50K Business Plan Competition

ECE Students, Faculty Win Two Categories in $50K Business Plan Competition

The Advanced Magneto-Optical Systems (AMOS) team won in the Alumni and Graduate category.
The Advanced Magneto-Optical Systems (AMOS) team won in the Alumni and Graduate category.

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students and faculty won in two different categories of Friday's $50K Business Plan Competition at the University of Maryland, organized annually by Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH) Ventures, a unit of the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

A team comprised of Professor Isaak Mayergoyz, Research Assistant Iulian Nistor, and Research Associate Carsten Holthaus was the winner in the Faculty & Graduate category. They received the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Award and a $15,000 prize. Their business plan, titled Advanced Magneto-Optical Systems (AMOS), will provide technology compatible with current optical scanners that will enable the use of two-dimensional hidden magnetic barcodes and other authenticity marks to enhance the security of critical identity products such as credit cards, checks, banknotes, drivers' licenses, medication packages and other manufactured components.

"Winning this award represents a huge boost for the credibility of our start-up company, and will allow us to enter the first round of funding and partnerships with a great deal of confidence," said AMOS co-founder Iulian Nistor, a doctoral candidate in electrical and computer engineering. "We feel very fortunate to be affiliated with the University of Maryland, an institution where the entrepreneurial spirit is so strongly supported and encouraged."

The winner in the Undergraduate Student category was I-Receipts, a team comprised of Michael Altman, an ECE senior, and Sam Fine, a finance student. The team received $12,000 to help put their business plan into action. I-Receipts provides a service that eliminates paper receipts for consumers and businesses by providing instant database and Internet access to purchase information.

The runner-up in the Undergraduate Student category was a team consisting of ECE undergraduates John Karvounis, John Wyrwas, a dual major in ECE & physics, and Peter Orlicki, a dual major in ECE & finance, as well as William Lair, a computer science and mathematics major. Their team’s project, titled (Online Realty Business Solutions), aims to be the first nationwide listing database for real estate agents, offering easy-to-use agent web hosting, a “Real Estate in a box” package for companies, and a national property database. They received a $2,000 prize.

The runner-up in the Young Alumni category was a team comprised of ECE M.S. alumnus Guarav Agarwal and Sammer Shirdhonkar, a Computer Science Ph.D. candidate. Their project, titled Vfore Content-Based Image Organizer and Search Engine, allows users to search images based on their content—the objects or people in the images—first as a desktop-based image organizer and then as an Internet-based search engine. The team received a $3,000 prize.

The University of Maryland $50K Business Plan Competition, now in its sixth year, has historically awarded a total of $285,000 in prizes to faculty, students and alumni with the best plans for innovative new ventures. Previous winners have generated millions in revenues, grants and awards. The competition was sponsored by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Mintz Levin, and Fish & Richardson P.C.

More information is available at:

Event photos are located at:

April 7, 2006

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