Technology for personal panic button gets top prize

Technology for personal panic button gets top prize

CHAMPAIGN — A team touting personal-protection technology won $25,000 as the "most fundable venture" in the V. Dale Cozad New Venture Competition at the University of Illinois.

Altogether, the competition, which concluded Saturday, awarded more than $110,000 in money and prizes to teams in the competition.

More than 70 teams took part in the contest this year.

That number was trimmed to 20 semifinalists, and by Friday night, the field was down to eight finalists. Those finalists competed Saturday for the top prizes.

The winning team, Servabo, aims to market "one-click access to safety" through a panic button that can be put onto cellphone cases, keychains and other accessories.

Besides winning $25,000, the Servabo team won acceptance into the I-Start program, which provides 90 percent funding for the cost of first-year legal services, accounting assistance and website development.

Taking second place and a $10,000 prize was Wedlum, a team developing online tools to connect 400,000 wedding vendors with more than 2 million couples.

Third place and a $5,000 prize went to CELLular Diagnostics, which is developing a smart phone biosensor for on-site diagnosis of disease and malnutrition for parts of the world that don't have medical laboratories.

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