Three Teams with Haas Alumni, Students Win at UC Berkeley Startup Competition

Bplan winners Calcula: David Gal; Buzz Bonneau, MBA 11; Dan Azagury; and Kate Garrett.

Haas alumnus Buzz Bonneau, MBA 11, and his team, Calcula Technologies, won the $20,000 grand prize at the UC Berkeley Startup Competition April 26 for their innovative kidney stone treatment. All told, Berkeley-Haas students and alumni were on three winning teams at the 14th annual competition hosted by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship.

In addition to taking home the grand prize, Calcula also won the $5,000 first-place prize in the Life Sciences track. Calcula's innovative treatment allows smaller kidney stones to be treated in a doctor’s office.

“We are really excited to have the money to complete an in-vivo study of our device next month,” says Bonneau. “We truly believe Calcula's technology will help 1.5 million kidney stone patients avoid six weeks of the worst pain of their lives."

Other Haas wins included Back to the Roots, founded by Haas undergraduate alumni Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, both BS 09. The team won the $5,000 first-place prize in the Products and Services Track and the $5,000 People’s Choice Award for their grow-at-home gourmet mushroom kits.

Haas undergraduate Nanxi Liu, BS 12, and her Nanoly venture took home the $1,000 Elevator Pitch prize. Nanoly, which also includes UC Berkeley PhD students Chawita Netirojjanakul (Chemistry) and Peter Matheu (Applied Science and Tech.), recently won $70,000 in the Duke Startup Challenge for its technology that enables cheap, effective, and safe delivery of vaccines worldwide without refrigeration.

“We are very excited by all the work the student organizers and Lester Center staff  have done to drive the transition this year from the historic UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition to the new UC Berkeley Startup Competition," says Lester Center Executive Director André Marquis, referring to a change this year in the competition's name and format.

"The name change is the manifestation of the many changes the team has made to drive more learning and refinement between the startups, customers, and domain experts throughout the competition," he adds. "It reflects the way we teach entrepreneurship here at Berkeley-Haas and how we work to create the most impactful, scalable startups from across our great colleges, laboratories, and partner companies."