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On March 26, the Duke Start-Up Challenge held its sixth annual challenge awards ceremony, the final event of a multi-stage competition featuring a $50,000 prize to the top winning company. The six start-ups, created by students from across
Duke University, gave their final presentation to the audience of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and interested business people prior to the award ceremony.

The following teams emerged victorious in the competition:
Nanocell Technology emerged victorious as the grand prize winner for the Start-up Challenge. Fuqua student Nikhil Dhongade ’06 and Frank Shi comprised the team for Nanocell Technology, Inc. (NTI). Their company designs and develops high-density and low-cost semiconductor Flash memory chips used in explosively growing portable electronic systems, such as cellular phones, PDAs, mobile PCs, digital cameras, etc. The company’s proprietary innovations will offer the products with multiple unique features and technological advantages over the current market vendors. NTI’s technologies and products will revolutionize the cost and performance of the silicon Flash memory devices.

HMdisplay, Inc. was the second place winner with Class of 2006 members Scott Dieckhaus and Todd Schwarzinger, along with Lauren Matic, Chongchang Mao, Lianhua Ji and Sangrok Lee. HMdisplay specializes in the design and develop-
ment of proprietary technologies and production-ready solutions for the next-generation visual display technology. HMdisplay seeks to design, prototype and outsource the manufacturing, on a timely and cost-effective basis, of a distinctive,
high-quality display device in order to overcome the limitations of traditional displays. Combining unique imaging expertise and superior intellectual property, HMdisplay has developed an innovative liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) visor
with enhanced brightness and high contrast ratio at a fraction of the cost of current models available in the market place.

The third place winner was SecureSilicon. The team consisted of Class of 2005 members Eric Lange and Pali Bhat. SecureSilicon solves the problem of software piracy and leverages its solution to create a value-added distribution service for software manufacturers. SecureSilicon’s method of software encryption and control will allow software distributors to establish an online store for software, control and monitor who uses software purchased online and regulate the level or length of time for which the software is used.

Howie Rhee,
Nov 10, 2009, 3:11 AM