Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2004

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The University of Maryland's Fourth Annual Business Plan Competition kick-started six up-and-coming companies founded by students and alumni on May 7 by awarding $51,000 in prizes to those with the best plans for a new company.

Winners, divided into undergraduate, graduate, and alumni categories, were in areas such as Internet publishing, hacker protection, and data recovery. Top teams were awarded cash prizes, as well as professional services from LM&O Advertising, Fish & Richardson P.C., and Ernst & Young.

Squarespace Inc., an Internet publishing company launched by computer science major Anthony Casalena, took first place and $15,000 in prizes in the undergraduate category. Squarespace allows users with little or no Web design skills to create sophisticated sites through its simplified, Lego-block-style platform.

"Going through the process of the competition really helped me solidify my ideas and business plan," said Casalena. "It's great the University of Maryland has a forum for this."

MacroPhage Networks Inc., led by Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D. candidate Mehdi Kalantari, won first prize in the graduate category, garnering $15,000.  MacroPhage has developed a patent-pending technology that mimics the human immune system to protect Internet networks from the 4,000-plus Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that occur each week.

"Winning the competition gives our company further credibility," said Kalantari. "It's gratifying to see our hard work pay off."

MacroPhage's team includes Dr. Mehdi Alasti, a research associate in the department of electrical and computer engineering, and Dr. Mark Shayman, a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering and the Institute for Systems Research.

In the alumni category, Maryland Data Recovery, headed by Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Associate Dr. Chun Tse, earned the first place prize of $15,000.  Maryland Data Recovery uses patent-pending "spin-stand imaging" and data unscrambling technologies to recover previously unrecoverable computer information from hard disks. Other members of MDR's team include Dr. Isaak Mayergoyz, a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, and Dr. Charles Krafft, a senior engineer in the Laboratory for Physical Sciences in College Park, Md.

Second place finishers received $2,000 worth of cash and services. In the undergraduate category, Mindsay Interactive, a Web-based social networking company, finished runner-up.  Pervasive Technology Engineering LLC, creator of patented, miniaturized, acoustic, fiber optic sensors for automobiles and airplanes, finished second in the graduate category. TruGamerz LLC, makers of a patented, ergonomically designed video game controller, took second place in the alumni category.

The judges of the competition were Jonathan Aberman, principal of Fish & Richardson P.C; Robert Cerbone, associate of the Telecommunications Development Fund; Richard Harris, managing director of SpaceVest; Erik Org, senior associate of Techno Venture Management; and Ann Quinn, managing director of the Maryland Venture Fund.

Aris Melissaratos, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, presented the competition awards.

Sponsors of the competition included Fish & Richardson P.C., Techno Venture Management, the Telecommunications Development Fund, and SpaceVest.

The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute and its Hinman Campus Entrepreneurship Opportunities (CEOs) Program are proud to offer the Business Plan Competition to the University community.

The competition was created to find new venture ideas and build successful businesses, as well as to provide education and networking opportunities for students. The competition is open campus-wide to University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to UM alumni who graduated in the last five years. A team is eligible so long as one team member, who plays a "material role," is a current University of Maryland student or an eligible graduate.

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