The University of California recently awarded UC San Diego entrepreneur Jason McKeown for his wearable weight loss technology company Neurovalens, UC announced Monday.
McKeown was one of 12 finalists in the third annual UC Entrepreneur Pitch Competition. Six early-stage biotechnology startups and six late-stage biotech businesses were selected to present their pitches at last week’s 2019 Global Corporate Venturing and Innovation Summit. According to UC officials, nearly 150 businesses and startups from all 10 UC campuses applied to the pitch competition.
McKeown won in the late-stage category for Neurovalens and its signature product, Modius, a headset that sends electrical pulses into the wearer’s brain to curb appetite and cravings.
Digital clinical diagnostics startup Velox Biosystems, started by UC Berkeley’s Byron Shen, won among early-stage entrants. The 12 finalists included three other UCSD startups as well as products from UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Irvine.
According to Christine Gulbranson, UC’s senior vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship, the number of applicants spurred UC officials to create two categories for this year’s awards.
“I’m so impressed with the innovations in our ecosystem: There isn’t an industry we aren’t tackling,” Gulbranson said. “These finalists embody the bold range of innovative, market-driven and impactful initiatives our entrepreneurs are undertaking.”
The 12 finalists presented their startups to a panel of investors and an audience surpassing 800 people at the summit. McKeown and Shen each received a $15,000 prize for winning in their respective categories.