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2018 Knapp Venture Competition Winners

“Participating in cross-disciplinary work has opened my eyes to opportunities for innovation in all aspects of my life. Some people go to the movies to relax but I unwind by working on side projects that are outside of the scope of my PhD research. It helps my mind to stay active and engaged but also focused on solving complex problems.” – Cyn McKee

Two GPB students and their team won 1st prize in the Anderson School of Management 2018 Knapp Venture Competition.  Cynthia (Cyn) McKee and Thanh Pham (Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology Home Area, 3rd year), along with Anderson students Aditya Marathe and Van Nguyen, worked to create a scientifically formulated skin care product tailored for an individual’s skin biomarkers.  As part of the competition, they were required develop a product based on extensive primary research and develop the financial projections and growth model of producing and marketing their venture. The team received $15,000 and have been selected for the Pritzker Group Fellows Program, a three month program for student entrepreneurs, including a $20,000 investment in their company and co-working space in the Anderson Venture Accelerator. 

Although Cyn and Thanh are in separate labs now, they both met and maintained a connection from their first year.  “As a third year graduate student, while unsure about the exact career I want to do, I definitely am pursuing a career to bridge science and business, whether it’s through management consulting, entrepreneurship, or pharmaceutical business development. The science, business knowledge and interdisciplinary network I have developed at UCLA will stay with me to all future career endeavors” shares Thanh, who also won second prize in the L.E.K Case Consulting Competition at UCLA. 

Their project has formed another interdisciplinary bridge between North and South campus.  They also hope to make more opportunities available for GPB students to explore business and entrepreneurship. 

“We are thankful for all the guidance of UCLA Tech Transfer Office, The UCLA Business of Science Center, UCLA Anderson Business School, Price Center, UCLA Accelerator Program, and all other support that helped us from the ground up with navigating the process of setting up a business. Most importantly, our PIs have been very understanding and supporting these endeavors.” – Thanh Pham

The Anderson School of Management Knapp Venture Competition is now in its 36th year, offering students the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines. 

Find out more about U-Defi and the Knapp Venture Competition at the following link: 

UCLA Anderson Blog:


Blog photo left to right: Aditya Marathe, Van Nguyen, Thanh Thuy Dan Pham, Cynthia McKee



Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Knapp Venture Competition! . 1st place goes to U-Defi, an innovative personalized anti-aging skincare that is scientifically formulated based on an individual’s unique skin biomarker profile. Team members include: Aditya Marathe (’18); Cynthia Mckee (Ph.D. ’20), UCLA College of Life Sciences; Thanh Thuy Dan Pham, (Ph.D. ’20), David @dgsomucla; Van Nguyen (FEMBA ’19) . Second place goes to Tutorfly, a peer tutoring platform that pairs student tutors with younger students in the same community. . Third place goes to MiVUE, an at-home smart otoscope that enables telemedicine and tracking of ear infections. . Fourth place goes to Riders Share, a peer-to-peer rentals marketplace for motorcycles. . Fifth place goes to Pluscare, a technology platform that intellectually connects healthcare organizations with staffing agencies and clinicians via an interactive marketplace. . The Fast Pitch Competition Winners: First place goes to Altitude Beverages, which sells ultra-premium and innovative cold brew coffee. . Second place goes to HEAT DANCE, which provides 50-minute immersive dance class experiences in Hip Hop, Salsa, and Barre-work at our transformative studios equipped with theatrical lighting and live DJs in every class. #WhyAnderson | #UCLAAnderson #Bschool #BusinessSchool #VentureCapital #MBA #WhyMBA #businesspitch #businesssuccess #businessmodel #businessplan #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurs #highered #highereducation #ucla #sceneatucla #losangeles #UCLABruins #goBruins #innovation #BusinessCompetition

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