The CEO of Complete Start, a company selling nutritious breakfast shakes for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients, won the first-ever Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Innovation Award “Empowering Patients: An Innovation Challenge in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”
This award was created to support IBD patients or their loved ones with established companies of all sizes, who have developed a product or service to address a problem related to the disease.
The challenge took place in the UnitedHealth Group facilities, in Minnetonka, Minnesota, July 24-25. The judges of the challenge awarded first prize to Jon Margalit, founder and CEO of Complete Start.
Complete Start’s breakfast shakes are 100-percent organic, plant-based instant shakes, commercialized in three flavors, including mocha, greens/vanilla and peanut butter/banana.
The second-place award was attributed to Vik Kashyap of Toi Labs, which develops innovative bathroom technologies to improve health and wellness. Third place went to Scott Sundvor of Nima Labs, an allergenic-free food producer that developed the world’s first portable gluten sensor.
“Each Innovation Challenge award winner has launched a health care company with a mission and passion for improving the lives of people afflicted with inflammatory bowel disease,” Deneen Vojta, UnitedHealth Group executive vice-president of research and development, said in a press release.
“We believe their products and services have great potential for getting to the market and making the strongest impact on people’s health and quality of life,” Vojta added.
The winners were selected from 11 finalists and awarded with $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, for first-, second-, and third-places, respectively.
The challenge brought together entrepreneurs with venture capitalists, key opinion leaders and patient advocates from UnitedHealth Group, as well as Lyfebulb know-how to promote awareness and discussion about IBD.
The panel of judges consisted of patients, physicians and entrepreneurs, including: Rebecca Babcock, patient ambassador at Lyfebulb; Karin Hehenberger, founder and CEO of Lyfebulb; Shomit Ghose, general partner at ONSET Ventures; Deneen Vojta; Gerard Honing, translational research manager at Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation; and Scott Ketover, president and CEO of Minnesota Gastroenterology.
“We salute each of our patient entrepreneur finalists and UnitedHealth Group for helping us bring focus to issues confronting and solutions for people affected by IBD,” said Hehenberger. “All our challenge participants share our vision of reducing the burden of chronic disease. We appreciate the support of the IBD community in sharing its insights into unmet patient needs and putting forth a tremendous pool of applicants for this challenge.”
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