Cozad 2022 Winners: Nephra, Ferritiva, and Haylon Technologies Showcase Success on “Innovations” Podcast

Categories : EnterpriseWorks, Features, Recognition & Awards
Posted on: June 16, 2022

The newest episode of Innovations @ Research Park Podcast features the top 3 finishers from the Cozad New Venture Challenge, a University of Illinois event where student teams can compete to win funding for their startups.

Tanmay Shaw first speaks with Jonathan Politzki, CEO of EnterpriseWorks startup Nephra, whose team won $20,000 worth of funding and the I-Start prize at Cozad. Nephra is revolutionizing kidney dialysis by engineering a software embedded in ECGs. This allows patients to monitor potassium levels through fingerprints.

When reflecting on his success, Politzki offers up his own advice to those inspired by his company’s success, “I encourage everyone out there to just give it a shot, try new things, learn a lot, spend a lot of time and focused effort, and you will make changes.”

The future of Nephra involves investing in hardware that will facilitate more deep learning, allowing Nephra to accelerate its developments and continue to bring groundbreaking technology to the medical world. 

Next in the podcast, Shaw brings on Jeffrey Lu, co-founder of Ferritiva, a startup that is developing a noninvasive method to detect iron deficiency. At Cozad, Ferritiva won more than $45,000 in funding as a second place winner.

The creation of Ferritiva started from Lu’s observations as a cross country coach, leading him to attend Carle Illinois College of Medicine and ultimately work on bringing his idea to life.

Lu shares how the Cozad New Venture Challenge played a role in his startup’s journey, “Cozad reminded me how difficult entrepreneurship is…but once things got rolling and we had some data to report, it was just very fun to share our story and share our vision with people.”

Finally, Shaw introduces Namin Shah, founder of Haylon Technologies, the startup that won the grand prize at Cozad, the I-Start prize, and acceptance into multiple accelerators. Haylon Technologies’ goal is to improve battery life and functioning for various businesses that rely heavily on battery usage. 

As someone who competed in Cozad multiple times, Shah highlights the most consistent and helpful aspects of the process. “Cozad does a really good job of highlighting the importance of doing proper customer discovery before you even engage in anything.”

To listen to more of the conversations that Tanmay Shaw had with Jonathan Politzki, Jeffrey Lu, and Namin Shah about their experiences at Cozad, tune in to the Innovations @ Research Park Podcast.

To listen to the podcast, visit iTunes Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you prefer to download your podcasts.

Is there something you want to know about Research Park? Do you have an idea for a guest for the show, or a story we should pursue? Do you want to provide other feedback? Contact Laura Bleill (lwbleill@illinois.edu).