Where are they now? OptDx: Global Impact award winner at the 2015 USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase

USC students Ayush Jaiswal and Ja-Yoon Choe co-founded OptDx, one of the startups that won an award at the USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase last year.

The 10th Annual USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase is coming up on October 7, 2016. We recently spoke with past winners to see how they have progressed since competing last year.

Before USC students Ja-Yoon Choe and Ayush Jaiswal entered the USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase last year, they had a great concept for medical software but no previous business experience for how to make their idea a reality.

They applied for the Showcase and competed against 23 other teams of USC student entrepreneurs at the USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase last October. Through the process of applying and competing, they refined their business pitch and impressed Showcase judges to earn the $5,000 Global Impact award for their startup, OptDx. OptDx offers software screening infants for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition that can cause blindness.

“The award gave us credibility, that our ideas were good and that others believed we could be successful,” said Jaiswal, who was a graduate student in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

“The Showcase provided a great learning process for us, as we were new to being entrepreneurs,” added Choe, a graduate student in the Keck School of Medicine of USC, who along with Jaiswal and Keck medical student Roxanne Fries developed their ideas for OptDx in the Health, Technology and Engineering (HTE) program at USC.

The Showcase also gave the OptDx team the confidence and skills to apply for another USC competition, the Min Family Social Entrepreneurship Challenge where they won 2nd place. They have since connected with experts in their field, including partnering with a university researcher in Oregon, and added interns to their team. Next, they are working toward finalizing a prototype by the end of 2016 that can be tested.

This Friday, October 7, 2016, the USC Stevens Center for Innovation will be hosting its 10th Annual USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase, where USC students like the OptDx team will compete for over $30,000 in prizes. The competition, which includes undergraduate and graduate USC students, will take place 9AM to 3PM on the Allan Hancock Foundation Building lawn (AHF). The showcase is USC Stevens’ annual flagship event where USC students in all disciplines present their startup ideas to faculty and leaders from the entrepreneur and business community, competing for thousands of dollars in USC-sponsored prizes.

This year’s event will feature Mark Stevens as keynote speaker. Mr. Stevens, one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capitalists and benefactor to the USC Stevens Center for Innovation, will present his Keynote Address, “The Future of Entrepreneurship.”

All USC students, faculty, staff and the general public are invited to attend the USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase from 9AM-3PM and Mark Stevens’ Keynote Address at 12PM. The event takes place at Hancock building at USC’s University Park Campus (3616 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA).

Last year, over $25,000 was awarded to six student teams with innovations in all disciplines included healthcare and medical devices. The 2015 winners included entrepreneurial minded USC undergraduate and graduate students from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, USC Marshall School of Business, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The annual competition distributed over $86,000 in awards to USC students from 2007 to 2015.

–By Peijean Tsai, USC Stevens, published October 4, 2016