UNM Rainforest Innovations

On April 13th and 14th, participants gathered at the Lobo Rainforest Building where they would take their innovative ideas and collaborate within teams to fast-track them to being realized.

The Lobo Hackathon helps teams intensely focus and collaborate on improving an idea to address a problem, utilize a technology, or create something new. Participants included UNM students, faculty, staff, entrepreneurs, and others in the community. On the final day, ten teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes from a prize pool of $25,000.

First Day

The two-day event kicked off Thursday afternoon with opening remarks from Eric Prossnitz, PhD, Program Leader in the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center and Chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine. Other presentations included Hacking 101 by Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer of UNM Rainforest Innovations; Intellectual Property Overview by Gregg Banninger, Innovation Manager, UNM Rainforest Innovations; and Pitch an idea or Problem by Rob Delcampo, Executive Director, Innovation Academy.

For the rest of the evening, participants branched off in teams to start developing their innovative ideas.

Second Day and Final Pitch Presentations

The next day, participants were invited back to the Lobo Rainforest Building where they were provided space to work, meals and snacks throughout the day, and mentors available for guidance and support. Participants worked on prototype development, business model development, and preparing their final presentations. The ten teams included:

  1. Plover Oral Care – Joseph Baltzer and Tracy Mallette
  2. New Mexico (Cowboy/Cowgirl Art) – Juliet Jones, Corey Tubb
  3. Financial Rhinos – Wacinque Amistad Kaizen Bemende, Teyah Rodriquez, Kole Simmons, Lesley Ruiz, Wanwirote Varophas
  4. EatWell Solutions – Mark Niederhaus, Dharish Totiger, Stephan Drawe, Fermin Ramos, Younes Slaoui
  5. Navigator – Soyeon Kim, Chaeeun Park, Liangkun Yu
  6. CASA VIDA  –  Tony Wallace, Tina Memarian, Joe Yelk, Zachary Boncini
  7. Open Source Medical Solutions LLC – Christopher Dankocsik, Chadi Harmouche, Eddie Acosta, Nicholas Gabaldon, Ahmed Hersy
  8. Dateline – Matt Channon and Tanner Holly
  9. Cockroach Trap – Aboutaleb Abarham, Natasha Vani, Azita Manavi
  10. LifeSense -Bob Gramley and Eve Fain

For the final pitches, teams had five minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges comprised of Justin Muskopf, Software Developer at RESPEC; Stacy Sacco, President/CEO of Sacco Connections LLC; and Susan Cornelius, Principal of Accelerate2Solutions. Five finalists were chosen by the judges to receive $5,000 each.

The winners of the event included:

  • Plover Oral Care – Joseph Baltzer and Tracy Mallette
  • EatWell Solutions – Mark Niederhaus, Dharish Totiger, Stephen Drawe, Fermin Ramos, and Younes Slaoui
  • Navigator – Soyeon Kim, Chaeeun Park, and Liangkun Yu
  • CASA VIDA – Tony Wallace, Tina Memarian, Joe Yelk, and Zachary Boncini
  • Cockroach Trap – Aboutaleb Abarham, Natasha Vani, and Azita Manavi

Thank you to our sponsors who made this event possible. They included HP Inc., Nusenda Credit Union, RESPEC, Speck Design, Westwind Roadrunner 3D, UNM Anderson School of Management, UNM Clinical & Translational Science Center, UNM Health Sciences, UNM School of Engineering, UNM Office of the Vice President for Research, and UNM Rainforest Innovations.

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