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Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge

The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge is an exciting extracurricular competition that gives students the opportunity to come up with meaningful solutions to big problems the world faces today related to health.

Learn more about the 2018 final Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge event and see photos and student comments about how much they learned and how much fun they had in the process of bringing their innovations forward. Check out the recap on UW TV. Find out how some of these teams got started and where they are going with their innovations next.

2018 Awards and Honors

A-Alpha Bio developed an AlphaSeq technology which improves clinical trial success rates by helping pharmaceutical companies fully characterize their drug candidates in the pre-clinical stage.Read more about 2018 winners

OLA Simple developed a point-of-care technology platform that aims to revolutionize the diagnostics, predictive outcomes, and targeted therapy for genetic disorders and conditions.Read more about 2018 winners

ACBI (Automated Continuous Bladder Irrigation) created a device that makes continuous bladder irrigation treatment less time intensive and expensive, while reducing the risk of complications for patients.Read more about 2018 winners

CoreView developed a new kind of automation related to preparing a needle biopsy specimen.Read more about 2018 winners

ElectroActive developed a chronic wound healing device that does not require the use of topical antibiotics.  
Nanodropper created an affordable, universal eye drop adaptor which aims to reduce the cost, waste, and side effects normally associated with expensive prescription eye medications.Read more about 2018 winners

2017-18 Dates and Deadlines

Health Innovation Practicum | Thursdays 5:00-6:50pm, Fall Quarter.
Gain knowledge of current healthcare systems local to global, and hear from successful innovators.

Team Formation: Innovative? Find Your People Events | Oct – Dec (see specific time and locations under Team Formation tab)
Meet students from diverse majors and form interdisciplinary teams to prepare for the HIC. These are fun interactive events generally held in the evening.

Fall Startup Workshops | October – December (see specific topics, times and locations under Team Formation tab)
Valuable training to help you be more effective at innovation and learning what you need to do as you move from idea product.

Prototype Funding Applications | Application dates Nov -Jan (see Prototype Funding Tab).
Funds are available for demonstration models or simulations that will help you showcase your idea.

MBA Biz Dev Consulting | November- March.
MBA students in this consulting group can advise teams as they prepare their 5-7 page submissions. Email the team at

MentorConnect Website | November- March.
Professionals from the community are available through our MentorConnect website to advise teams as they prepare their 5-7 page submissions.

Business Plan Practicum | Tuesdays, 6:00-7:50pm, Winter Quarter
Speakers and resources that will help you understand how to build a business plan. Great prep for the HIC!

OFFICIAL ENTRY DEADLINE Screening Round | Noon, Monday February 11, 2019
Submit a 5-7 page business summary for official entry into the HIC. Judges notify teams Yes/No by Friday, Feb 20.

Pitch Workshop for Finalist Teams | February 26
Attendance is mandatory for all teams in the Seattle area going to the finals on Mar 6.

1-Page Business Summary Due for Finalist Teams | February 28
Summaries sent to every judge before the day of the Challenge so they can decide which demos to visit.

HOLLOMON HEALTH INNOVATION CHALLENGE | Wednesday, Mar 6, 1:00-6:00pm, HUB North Ballroom, U Washington.
Teams set up demos/simulations in the morning and pitch to a room full of judges early afternoon. Reception follows.


Watch the video above to learn more about HIC.

The common thread is INNOVATION, the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge builds on the strengths of colleges and universities in the Pacific to provide a platform for interdisciplinary student teams to work on new solutions to existing problems, new approaches to helping people live healthier lives, new opportunities for care and treatment, new products/services to market. Challenges spark creativity, design thinking, novel solutions, and the potential for new companies. This challenge, much like the Buerk Center’s well-regarded Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, is designed for those students who are passionate about health innovation and are determined to make a difference.

Innovations in health and healthcare that promote, impact, and monitor health are creating a paradigm shift in our approach to healthy living. In the United States, healthcare has entered a period of unprecedented change with the Affordable Care Act and the “triple aim,” the emphasis on care that is safer, more efficient, and more accessible. Worldwide, the goal is clear: a healthier future that revolves around reducing infectious and noncommunicable disease, increasing the safety of care, lowering the cost of health care delivery, expanding access, and introducing technologies that bring greater health and wellness to the populous.

Entry Requirements

Any student from a Pacific Northwest college or university who is enrolled in a degree-seeking program can participate in the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC). Teams must be student led. Cross-disciplinary teams are highly encouraged. The most successful teams have members with various skill sets from various departments, including built environments, law, engineering, business, policy, etc. Non-students can be members of a team, generally as advisers, but they can’t present at the HIC, nor can they receive prize money.

What is needed to enter?

What is needed to enter the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge?
Prototype Funding, apply Nov -Jan (see Prototype Funding Tab)

All Entrants

  • 5-7 page Business Summary (DUE Feb 11, 2019)

Top Teams chosen to come to the final event

  • Mandatory Pitch Workshop (Thu, Feb 26, 2019, 5:30-9pm)
  • 1-page business summary (due Fri Feb 28, 2019)
  • 60-second Pitch (at the HIC, March 6, 2019)
  • Demo or prototype (at the HIC, March 6, 2019)

Your submission into the competition is distributed to a large group of community professionals who act as judges.

We strongly encourage any team with concerns regarding intellectual property such as patent or copyright potential to either contact their University’s intellectual property office (for University-developed discoveries) or competent legal counsel (for non-University related discoveries) before submitting their proposal into the competition.

The University of Washington, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, the Foster School of Business, and the organizers of the competition are not responsible for any proprietary information and/or intellectual property included in a submitted business summary.
Ultimately, protection of sensitive materials is the sole responsibility of the individual or team participating in the competition.


  1. Teams entering must have at least one full-time or part-time student on the team who is enrolled in a degree seeking program at an accredited college or university in the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. If you graduated the summer quarter prior to the year of the competition or later, you are considered a current student in the competition.
  2. The competition entry must be developed during the student’s tenure at the college or university. Students working with outside entrepreneurs must create their own original business plan and have responsibility for their own portion of the business.
  3. All submissions to the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge must live up to the higher ideals of the University of Washington. The team’s idea must be appropriate for a university-sponsored event. The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is its judgment violates the letter or the spirit of the competition or exceeds the bounds of social convention.
  4. If the team or company entering the competition is revenue positive, actual annual revenue cannot exceed $500k. (Please note this is different than the company’s projected revenue. This rule does not apply to projected revenue.)
  5. Eligible students can form a team with non-students, but for the sake of this competition, non-students will be considered as advisors.
  6. Students must have an ownership stake in the business or the potential for equity or employment.
  7. Only student team members are eligible to earn prize money. No payments will be made to non-students.

Note: The Director of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship reserves the right to make the final determination of the eligibility of submitted business ventures.

Judging Criteria

Screening Round Requirements

  • 5-7 Page Business Summary
  • Due Date Noon, Monday, February 12, notification of advancement Friday, February 16

The first hurdle on your path toward the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge finals is to submit a winning business summary so your team is selected to be one of the Top Teams who are invited to participate in the final Challenge.

What should be included in the 5-7 page business summary?

    • Examples:
    • Definition of the Problem
      • Who cares about this problem? What will be different if you solve this problem? What is the size of the problem?
    • Proposed Solution
      • What is your idea for solving the problem you are addressing?
      • What is unique about your solution.
      • Why would customers be excited enough to pay you for your solution?
    • Team
      • Who are the individuals on the team? Do they have the skills to solve the problem? Have they engaged advisors, mentors, and experts from the community or industry?
    • Questions you should address (use your own format and style)
      • Have you defined the problem?
      • Have you clearly described the proposed solution?
      • If there is a demo, what is it? (prototype, simulation, proof of concept, poster, video)?
      • Is the solution original or is it a novel application of an existing product or service?
      • Has the team researched and described the market opportunity and the competitors?
      • Has the team interviewed potential customers? How many? What did they say?
      • What is the scope of the opportunity (dollars, units produced, global impact)?
      • Does the solution fit the problem? Does it demonstrate an appropriate balance between the cost of the solution and its impact on the problem?
      • What is an estimate of the cost to produce?
      • What is the estimated timeline for development leading to launch of the product/service?

Final Round Requirements

Top Teams that are invited to the final event must prepare:

      • 1-page business summary due Feb 28
      • 1-minute pitch, mandatory pitch clinic February 26, 6-9pm
      • Demonstration or prototype

If your team makes it past the screening round you will be invited to participate in the live half-day competition final event. There the Top Teams have tables set up trade-show style with their prototypes on display. A member of each team gives a 1-minute pitch to the audience of 150+ professionals who will be judging and the judges then circulate and learn more from teams before picking their top choices for the prizes.

The Top HIC Teams that present on the day of the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge finals will be judged on their 1-page business summary, their pitch, their demo or prototype, and the potential for impact.

What should be included in the 1-page business summary?

  • The criteria and contents for the 1-page business summary are the same as those for the 5-7 page summary (above), just shorter and more concise.

What matters for the 1-minute pitch?

  • How motivated, enthusiastic is the team?
  • Does the pitch convey the essential elements of the problem, the solution, and the market opportunity?
  • Does the team understand the problem/solution (from both technical and marketing perspectives)?
  • Has the pitch generated enthusiasm to see the demo?

What should the demonstration or prototype table setup include?

  • Does the Demo work? If it is not yet complete, could it work?
  • Has the team provided test results and validation?
  • Can the team describe the process and how it works?
  • Can they describe how it could be improved?
  • Is this solution efficient? Does it make optimal use of resources?
  • How practical is this solution?
  • What would it cost to make?
  • Is this original work? Is it a novel application of an existing product? Is it off-the-shelf?

What questions should be answered for the potential for impact?

  • Could this team and this solution have a substantial impact in the market? In healthcare? In people’s lives?
  • Is there a patent in the works?
  • What is the regulatory path, if necessary?
Interested in entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge? Want to meet other students who want to join your team? There are multiple ways to find team members:

  1. Team Formation Nights
  2. Startup Workshops
  3. Team Formation Web Portal
  4. Health Innovation Practicum
  5. Capstone Course in Your Major

As long as you have one student on the team who is enrolled in a college or university in the Pacific Northwest, your team can enter the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge.

Questions? Email Terri Butler at

  • Team Formation Nights “Find Your People”
    Informal meetups are held on the UW Seattle campus where students can come out and find others who have an interest in working on solving problems together. Many go on to enter the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge, Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, or Business Plan Competition. Questions? Email Terri Butler,

  • Startup Workshops
    Are you tossing around ideas for a startup venture, but not sure where to begin? These startup workshops are for you! Learn some basic strategies to get started. Brainstorming ideas, figuring out your customers, checking out competition, and how to pull the pieces together into a plan—you’ll start the process into developing your own venture!

  • Team Formation Web Portal
    Find teammates through the Team Formation Web Portal. Students log in with their UW net ID (non-UW students email us for a login ID). In this web portal you will find some students who have an idea and need more team members to help out and you will also find students with specific skills who are interested in innovation and want to join a team. Think of it as a match-making site for innovators!
  • Health Innovation Practicum
    The fall quarter hands-on Health Innovation Practicum course is another way students can dive in and learn about health challenges while working on team-based projects. Many of the class teams decide to continue on into the extracurricular Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge where they will connect with mentors and further develop their concepts. Learn more in the Health Innovation Practicum: ENTRE 445/545 tab.
  • Capstone Course Teams
    You may be in an engineering, science, or other major that requires a capstone project as a degree requirement. Why not build on that capstone by bringing it in to the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge where the visibility of your accomplishments can be increased and mentors you connect with can help you take it to the next level?

Health Innovation Practicum

Health Innovation Practicum, Autumn 2018, Thursdays, 5:00-6:50 p.m., Paccar Hall 290
ENTRE 445/545
Instructors: Will Canestaro, PhD,

Course description: The goal of this hands-on practicum is to help students innovate and create solutions to the toughest health challenges we face –on a domestic or global scale. Students will form cross-disciplinary teams around project concepts chosen by the class and present the team’s solutions to classmates and a panel of expert judges who will score the presentations. Although not required, teams are invited and encouraged to go beyond the class to compete in the Health Innovation Challenge.

Readings: All Readings are online and linked from the Canvas homepage and syllabus.

Great Resources

Learning objectives:

  • Learn about some of the biggest challenges in the health field are, and how various actors are tackling them.
  • Learn from best-in-class innovators and industry experts about solutions emerging in health.
  • Evaluate business opportunities in health as outlined by guest speakers, required readings and world news.
  • Gain hands-on experience in creating business solutions for issues in Health and pitching your ideas to panels of experts.
Class Schedule
Date Topic / Tentative Class Plan Class Preparation Class Guests Links
CLASS 1: 9/28/2017 Top Healthcare Issues and Opportunities

The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) pegs US healthcare spending at about $10,000 per person per year, without exceptional outcomes. That’s about $3.2 trillion dollars.  Almost 90% of that spending is in medical services, but only 20% of healthcare outcomes are determined by the medical system. We’ll cover this and other issues in healthcare.


Cascadia Capital: The Future Health Ecosystem Today. Feb 2016. Great overview of where the problems and opportunities are.

PWC Top health industry issues of 2017  -A bit wonky and requires some knowledge of the industry, but scan the top ten issues, and see where the money is flowing.

Khan Academy: Introduction to the US Healthcare System. A little slow, but great if you have no background whatsoever.

Watch this video: If airlines worked like healthcare Kevin Cable, Managing Director, Healthcare and Digital Health, Cascadia Capital.
CLASS 2: 10/5 2017 Business Model Canvas; Pitch Ideas; Choose Teams. Business Model Canvas; Pitch Ideas; Choose Teams.
CLASS 3: 10/12/2017 How Money Flows in Health 

The US system traditionally operated around three distinct groups: Patients, Providers (Doctors, Pharmacies, Hospitals etc.) and Payers (Generally companies, government, insurers).  We will cover how creating a business model for a health innovation hinges on finding a way to capture a revenue stream, in a market where traditionally consumers don’t choose or pay for the services they need, and where providers are incented to “do something” rather than help consumers avoid the medical system entirely.

Henry Albrecht Founder and CEO, Limeade; Ralph Derrickson, CEO, CarenaMD; Mike McSherry , CEO Xealth
CLASS 4: 10/19/2017 Student pitches. Each group will present three slides:

  1. Proposed Solution (Value Proposition)
  2. What is the market size (TAM or Total Addressable Market)

Upload your presentation in advance. See the assignment here

Invited panel of judges who will become team mentors. We will spend the class giving feedback and offering suggestions to help move the project along.
CLASS 5: 10/26/2017 Navigating regulation

Few industries can compete with Healthcare for the challenges posed to entrepreneurs by regulations. These include long-standing regulations such as FDA and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)  to newer strictures around Health IT, such as Meaningful Use and The Affordable Care Act. Learn which regulation may shape the implementation of your idea.

David Schoolcraft, Co-Chair, Health Care Group with a practice focusing on health care and information technology, Ogden Murphy Wallace
CLASS 6: 11/2/2017 Sharing Risk / Aligning Interests Mike Hilton, Chief Product Office, Accolade.
CLASS 7: 11/9/2017 Capitalizing a Healthcare Startup

In 2016 total investment in healthcare was $16 billion: $8.1 billion in biopharma, $3.8 billion in devices and $4.2 billion in digital health. The digital health category is growing fast, with the most money going to companies focused on genomics and sequencing, followed by analytics and big data, wearables and telemedicine. Learn how these investment decisions are made and whether your idea is fundable.

How Venture Capital Works, Bob Zider, Harvard Business Review 1998; Bootstrap Finance: The art of start-ups, Amar Bhidé, Harvard Business Review 1992.

Background: 2016 Year End Funding Report: A reality check for digital health. Rockhealth. 2017 Healthcare Investing Report, Silicon Valley Bank.

Kirsten Morbeck  and Eric Bell, Managing Directors, Springrock Ventures
CLASS 8: 11/16/2017 Data in Healthcare

Some of the greatest opportunities in healthcare lie in the data space: Intuitive, accessible, sharable personal health records that interpret terabytes of genomics data. Artificial Intelligence systems that can help providers sort through the masses of email, lab results, scans, referrals and prioritize or triage depending on criticality. Analytics systems in precision and personalized medicine, and analytics to support the drive towards value-based medicine. Learn where the opportunities and gaps are in this space.

TA McCann, Serial entrepreneur, Founder Rival IQ, Entrepreneur in Residence, Providence Health and Services.
NO CLASS 11/23/2017  Happy Thanksgiving!
CLASS 9: 11/30/2017 From Nail it to Scale it

The success of every company depends on scaling from that first employee, product and customer to a sustainable enterprise with multiple teams, locations, partners customer and stakeholders. How can you navigate that transition and build an enduring organization?

Chris Devore, Partner, Founders Co-op, Managing Director, Techstars Seattle and Derek Streat, Founder and CEO, C-SATS
CLASS 10: 12/7/2017 Final presentations

Class will be in Douglas Forum on 4th floor of SEEC with invited guests. Class will also extend to 6:30pm to give time for feedback and socializing.

Prototype Funding for teams entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge

Prototype funding can spur development and help convey your idea to a broader audience. We have funding available to teams that are entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge this year to help with creating a physical model, object, or device.

Student teams are invited to apply for funds that can be used to:

  • Purchase materials
  • Rent equipment
  • Hire short-term workers with high level skills beyond the team’s capacity

Teams must commit to entering the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge if accept prototype funding.

Awards are generally between $500-$2500, although other requests will be considered.

Funds can NOT be used for:

  • Marketing or Posters
  • Business cards
  • Displays
  • Signage
  • Computers
  • Digital devices
  • Legal or professional fees

Information you will need to complete the application:

  • Current student team member’s information. (We understand this may change.)
  • Description of the problem you are attempting to solve.
  • Description of the solution you are proposing.
  • Description of the prototype you will build to demonstrate your solution.
  • A budget estimate (itemized list) to build your prototype. Changes are expected but any major changes must be approved by Terri Butler,

Application deadlines:
November 27, 2018
January 11, 2019


Questions? Contact Terri Butler,

Resources to Help You

Resources to help you with your 5-7 page business summary for entry into the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge include:

Sponsors and Prizes

2018 Prizes:
$15,000 Hollomon Family Grand Prize
$10,000 Herbert B. Jones Foundation Second Place Prize
$5,000 Fenwick & West Third Place Prize

Thank you to our 2018 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge sponsors for their generosity and dedication to helping students achieve their potential.

Game Changers:
The Hollomon Family
UW Foster School of Business
UW College of Engineering
Herbert B. Jones Foundation

Fenwick & West
WRF Capital

Amazon Catalyst
K&L Gates
Perkins Coie
UW Department of Biology
UW Department of Bioengineering

Friends of the HIC:
Kent & Lisa Sacia
Emer Dooley and Rob Short
Devindra and Manisha Chainani
Annie Young-Scrivner

Questions? Contact Terri Butler via email: or phone: 206-685-5538.

Join the conversation & keep in the loop on dates and deadlines:

Attend an event

Connect with the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge