Asana Medical, a medical device company based in Miami Lakes, is a top finalist and $250,000 winner in New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s 43North, one of the world’s largest business idea competitions. Asana was chosen from nearly 7,000 applications to the contest.
The 11 finalist teams from around the world competed in front of a panel of judges today in Buffalo, N.Y., to win one of the 43North cash prizes: the top prize of $1 million, one of six $500,000 prizes, or four $250,000 prizes. Winners also received free incubator space in Buffalo for a year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs such as Start-UpNY.
Asana Medical seeks to improve the quality of one’s health and therefore quality of life by providing a novel treatment for debilitating digestive diseases with a patent-pending medical device that stimulates the body to heal itself. Asana Medical offers a drug-free, surgery-free twist on a proven therapy and targets the $9 billion ulcerative colitis market.
Asana is an early-stage company founded in May of 2013, currently with three employees and additional consultants, said co-founder and CEO Marc Ramer, who has 20 years experience as a biomedical engineer. The other cofounders are Christine Sapan, with 35 years' experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, and Gerard S. Coombs and Richard C. Bulman, who have experience starting and growing companies and have had exits, said Ramer.
Ramer said participating in the contest was "really stimulating" and a "first-rate, professional and positive experience." The other contestants as well as 43North staff were "warm and welcoming," he said.
The million-dollar winner was ASi, of Tonawanda, NY, with the rapid metal forming process that aims to transform manufacturing by providing superior performing components that cost less.
Other winners came from the New York and the Northeast, the Midwest, Canada, Scotland and Taiwan. Asana was the only other Florida company. Many but not all were biotech, medical or healthcare companies. Other winning concepts included a clean-tech system that converts wasted kinetic energy from braking vehicles into renewable electricity; a fan-less cooling system and a productivity app.
A total of 6,932 business ideas were initially submitted for the 43North competition’s first round, which took place Feb. 5 through May 31. From a pool of 2,603 qualified submissions, 113 semifinalists were selected to advance to the second round through a formal, month-long review period conducted by more than 269 judges from an array of professional sectors.
Eleven finalists, including Asana, advanced to the third and final round of the competition to vie for the series of cash prizes. All winners will be required to locate their companies in Buffalo, New York, for one year under the terms of the competition.
Posted Oct. 30, 2014