Cardinal Challenge: Rice University’s Medical Informatics Takes 1st; Our Own VOC Diagnostics 2nd


Big day in Louisville yesterday, with the University of Louisville Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge drawing quite a crowd. Twelve teams from across the U.S. and Canada competed with their business plans – and fielded some pretty tough questions from the judges. (Hello, Bob Saunders.)

The top prize winner: Medical Informatics from Rice University. Their real-time data solution will help doctors and nurses make faster, better patient care decisions. The team of Jessica Fenlon, Christopher Raff and Emma Fauss, shown above with Dr. Van Clouse, head of our UofL Entrepreneurship MBA program, took home $15,000 in cash and another $100,000 worth of business start-up services if they bring their company to Louisville.

Rice Cute

Now THAT’S a happy team!


Second place winners: UofL’s own VOC Diagnostics, which pocketed $5,000. This team, including JD Edington, Bayard Donaldson, Nick Muscato and Justus Zils, will bring VitaLung to market – a diagnostic device that detects the presence of lung cancer in patients. Here’s my in-depth, investigative video interview with Justus, shot the evening before the competition.

Third place went to EverClean Coating Solutions from the University of Arkansas and fourth place to BeatBox Beverages of the University of Texas-Austin.


Personally, I think the one to watch is Red Duck Ketchup from the University of Oregon, winners of the Fast Pitch (elevator speech) competition. Their pitch – “When was the last time you were excited about ketchup?” was darling and their flavored ketchups – Classic, Curry and Spicy – are delish.


Plus, look how cute! I love their logo and packaging. They’re also on top of social media with an active Facebook page and Twitter. A definite fit for Whole Food or anywhere.

“There’s not a shelf that we shouldn’t be on,” they told the judges. I agree.

Congratulations to all the teams!


Leave a Reply