Innovative catheter, advanced circulation device concepts take top prizes at Purdue's 8th annual elevator pitch competition

April 8, 2014  


Francisco Portela, left, a Purdue nursing sciences senior, delivers his winning pitch about Spiracath, an advanced catheter, during the eighth annual Purdue University Elevator Pitch Competition on Friday (April 4) in Discovery Park. Listening to the pitch is David Kitchell, who played the role of a prospective venture capitalist in the virtual elevator. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Entrepreneurs developing an innovative catheter and an advanced pneumatic compression device to improve circulation were the big winners in the eighth annual Purdue University Elevator Pitch Competition.

Purdue nursing senior Francisco Portela of Attleboro, Mass., won $1,000 in the undergraduate division for his pitch about Spiracath, which is developing a more advanced catheter that reduces biofilm buildup and improves functionality.

Brother-sister duo Kerry and Kat Logan of West Lafayette claimed the $1,000 top prize in the open division for their pitch on Advanced Vascular Therapies, a Purdue Research Park company in its early stages working on an inflatable compression device that could be used more effectively and conveniently for home health-care needs.

"Each year, the participants raise the bar for the quality, originality and creativity of the business ideas that we are able to showcase through the Purdue Elevator Pitch Competition," said Jeanette Greener, program manager for the Purdue Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, which puts on the event. "We had a record number of entries this year, representing the energy for and involvement in entrepreneurship on campus."

In the undergraduate division, Michaela Bunting was second, receiving $500 for her pitch about Green Goods Bakery. Finishing third and receiving $250 was Matthew Crissman for Easy 3D.


Kerry Logan, left, of West Lafayette highlights the potential for his business concept, Advanced Vascular Therapies, a Purdue Research Park company in its early stages working on an advanced pneumatic compression device to improve circulation, mostly for the elderly. Logan won the open division in the eighth annual Purdue Elevator Pitch Competition for his pitch to Susan Davis, who served as the venture capitalist in the virtual elevator. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) 
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Rachel Box, a Carmel, Ind., student in apparel design and technology, won $500 for the most entertaining pitch for her business concept Guarders, an undergarment for women to carry credit cards and other personal information.

In the open division, Harsh Wardhan Aggarwal was second, receiving $500 for his pitch on Sustainable Waste Remodeling. Ian Klein received $250 for third place for the Spero Energy Inc. presentation.

Rucha Joshi, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering from India, claimed $500 for the division's most entertaining pitch on Low-Calorie Pulp Biscuits, which use banana peels as a key ingredient for a low-calorie, low-fat, high-fiber cookie.

The open division is for faculty members and staff, graduate students, entrepreneurs from Purdue Research Park companies and certificate program alumni.

"It feels incredible to win such a unique event and claim the top $1,000 prize. This was the result of a lot of hard work over the past several months," said Portela of Spiracath.

Open division winner Kerry Logan of Advanced Vascular Therapies, said: "We're definitely excited. Our goal is to get our device to the people who would benefit from it, and this takes us one step closer to that."

The Purdue competition, organized by the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, featured more than 40 participants making their 2-minute pitches on Friday (April 4) at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. Each participant had two minutes to convey the value of a business venture idea to judges by highlighting the product or service, market and its size, competitive advantage, and plans to make the business profitable.

Sponsors are Otis Elevator Co., Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, Allos Ventures, Indiana Spine Center, Alerding Castor Hewitt LLP, Elevate Ventures, LoadOut Technologies, Purdue Federal Credit Union and VisionTech Partners.

Otis Elevator marked its eighth year of support for the competition, and Neil Mylet, founder and CEO of LoadOut Technologies, provided the first sponsorship as a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Alumni.

Joining Mylet as competition judges were Corey Von Mervedt of Otis Elevator, Doug Gallagher of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, Cathy Langlois of Launch Fishers, Karen Leeker of Elevate Ventures, Bob Falk of Purdue Federal Credit Union and Oscar Moralez of VisionTech. 

The Purdue Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, led by technology leadership and innovation professor Nathalie Duval-Couetil, serves more than 1,800 students each year and continues to integrate 300 new students each semester. By the end of 2014, the program anticipates more than 5,200 student participants and 1,700 certificate recipients since it began in 2005. Similar to a minor, students complete a series of five courses or experiential learning programs to earn the certificate.

Housed in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and led by the Purdue Office of the Provost, the program is available to Purdue undergraduate students in all majors. Its purpose is to make entrepreneurship an accessible career option by providing students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in business on their own terms.  

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, 

Sources: Jeanette Greener, 765 494-3805,

Nathalie Duval-Couetil, 765-494-7068,

Francisco Portela, 

Kerry Logan and Kat Logan, 765-423-1720, 

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