Transcend Madison

Innovation Competition

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Transcend Madison, created by Transcend Engineering, is UW’s first-ever student-led innovation competition. With the 3rd annual competition just wrapped up, we've given away over $55,000 worth of prizes. This event was made with one goal in mind: to bring students all across UW Madison together to demonstrate their novel ideas and creations. 


This is a competition for the doers. We judge heavily on execution: taking the necessary steps to turn your idea from nothing into reality. 

Thank you to all the competitors for a great competition!

2018 Transcend Madison Winners

First Prize ($15,000)
LineLeap, a fast-pass for nightclubs that allows users to bypass big crowds, now available in 11 cities.
Pictured: Max Schauff
Second Prize ($10,000)
SafeRotation, a device for diabetics to minimize bruising complications while self-administering insulin injections.
Pictured: Shawn Michels
Third Prize ($8,000)
Pathogenomica, a DNA-squence-based method for rapidly identifying bacterial outbreaks in water and the food-supply chain.
Pictured: Pamela Camejo, Jacqueline Mejia, Francisco Moya
Best Prototype ($3,000)
AtriAmp, a device to improve cardiac arrhythmia diagnosis by providing continuous, real-time monitoring of post-operative patients.
Pictured: Philip Terrien, Matthew Knoespe
Sponsored by: Boldt
Best Pitch ($3,000)
HaulTalk, an online platform for creating fashion content and helping creators monetize their media.
Pictured: Yu-Lin Yang, Nathan Eggenberger, Ben Konrath
Sponsored by: QBE
Best Business Brief ($3,000)
EnerGyan, an education platform for teaching high school and college students about power grids and renewable energy.
Pictured: Ashray Manur
Social Entrepreneurship ($3,000)
NovoMoto, a system for bringing solar power to homes and communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Pictured: Aaron Olson
Best Poster or Booth ($3,000)
BrewBar, a nutritious granola and snack bar made from spent brewery grains.
Pictured: Giulia Buffa
Early Stage Best Pitch ($1,000)
Portable Tissue Company, a prototype carry-case that combines convenience with littering prevention.
Pictured: Jared Horowitz
Early Stage Best Prototype ($1,000)
Early Detection of Central Line Infections, a device for alerting doctors to potentially life-threatening surgery complications
Pictured: Susan Zelasko, Josh Choe
Early Stage Social Entrepreneurship
TurnIt, an automatic page turning device for helping people with disabilities read books.
Pictured: Seth Eiseman, Kevin Kirk, Ben Gabbard, Matt Czerwinski
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Not Pictured

Fan Favorite ($2,000): ZeroBarrier, which makes metal 3D printers.

Early Stage Best Business Brief ($1,000): Hospital Acquired Infection Database, a software platform for helping medical professionals detect and respond to outbreaks.

Main Stage Competition (April 4th-5th): Competitors of this track have highly developed ideas that can demonstrate strong growth of their project. This track offers $50,000 worth of prizes that not only consist of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but prizes such as Best Pitch and Transcend Alumni Award. The first day of competition consists of a 10 minute pitch and a 5 minute Q&A. A select group of teams will be called back to meet with the judging panel and finalize the prize decisions.


Complete schedule of Main Stage Competition

Early Stage Competition (April 4th): This is an added track to the original Transcend Madison, Innovation Competition. This new track targets innovative students that want to compete, but haven’t developed their idea to a mature enough stage yet. The Early Stage Competition will have a prize pool of $5,000 and will be judged independently of the main competition. This track will consist of a 10 minute presentation and 5 minute Q&A from each team.

Complete schedule of Early Stage Competition


Guidelines and Regulations

All competitors are required to abide by the following rules.

Please contact transcenduw@gmail.com with any questions or concerns 

Click Here for a pdf with submission instructions.

  1. You must be a University of Wisconsin - Madison student to compete in Transcend Madison.1,2 All majors are encouraged to apply. Collaboration among students from different colleges is strongly encouraged and will create a competitive advantage.

  2. All participants must submit an initial registration by the deadline: 11:59pm, January 1, 2018.

  3. Attend a minimum of 3 events including the mandatory IP workshop. 

  4. Once your application has been approved, final submissions must be completed by 4:00pm on March 22nd, 2018. This deadline is subject to change. Submission details will be available shortly and provided to you individually upon approval.

  5. All you need is an idea to compete.

  6. However, final submissions will be evaluated based on five main criteria:

    • Idea—novelty, creativity, importance

    • Prototype3 —implementing your idea in the real world

    • Business Model—how your idea fits a market (product-market fit). Keys to promoting your idea as a business: customer segment, value proposition, channels, cost structure, etc. See this video for a great place to start

    • Execution—the most important factor. Hustle, effort, and taking the meaningful steps to grow an idea are all crucial

    • Pitch—sell us on your idea. There is an award for Fan Favorite! (10 mins for pitching and 5 mins for Q & A)

  7. Teams may include up to 5 participants.4

  8. After final submissions are made, all group members are required to attend their assigned pitch time-slot. It is also highly encouraged that at least one member remain at your team’s booth for the entirety of the competition to engage with attendees interested in your idea.

  9. Students may submit multiple entries.

  10. For those competing with class projects, all group members must have to option to compete together with said idea. Permission to compete with said idea must be a unanimous decision, regardless of if each individual member decides to compete.

  11. For the main competition pitches will be broken up into two days, April 4th and 5th, 2018. The pitching order is assigned based on availability and not by quality of submission. There will be two rounds of judging. In the first round, every team will present to the panel of judges. The judges will then deliberate and select teams for call backs. This is a chance for selected teams to refine their pitch and answer any remaining questions the judges may have before judges make their final decisions.

For the early stage competition pitches will be broken up into one day, April 4th, 2018. The pitching order consists of the same guidelines as the main competition. There will be one round of judging and final prize decisions will be disclosed during the award ceremony, April 5th. 

  1. Students graduating in the fall semester are still eligible to compete.

  2. All U.S. Citizens will be required to submit a W-9 form with their final application in the spring. All resident aliens and non-resident aliens will be asked to present their I-20, most recent I-94, Passport with photo and Homeland Security stamp, SEVIS, and W-8BEN (subject to change). These requirements allow you to receive your awards faster!

  3. Prototypes are not required. For those competing with prototypes, there will be designated times for demonstration. Prototypes do not need to be final or working prototypes. Prototypes simply display your effort to implement your idea in reality and demonstrate its feasibility. Prototypes do not need to be physical: mockups, renderings, CAD models, wireframes or 3D prints are all valid. Think minimum viable product first.

  4. Special exceptions may be made for in class projects to protect the intellectual contribution of group members. If you think this may be the case, please email transcenduw@gmail.com

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© Transcend UW - a registered student organization at the University of Wisconsin - Madison