Finalists Announced for 2011 Intel Global Challenge

The Intel Global Challengebrings entrepreneurs from around the world to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business to compete for $100,000 in prize money. Beyond the prize money, it’s a fantastic opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to get feedback on their ideas, and to network with investors, professors, start-up coaches, and their peers.


It’s also a great chance for lucky bystanders to soak up the spirit of entrepreneurship.

After a busy day of spirited semifinal pitches to panels of experienced judges including investment managers from Intel Capital, Intel’s Manav Subodh announced the three special award winners and eight finalists who will compete for the grand prize tomorrow.

Special Awards of $5,000

– Social Innovation Award: NextDrop

– Young Innovator Award: BUCKY’o’ZUN

– Emerging Impact Award: aQuainnova


– Kaleidoscope


– MaxGen

– Lifeware S.A.C


– Gaitu

– NanoDiagX

– MicroMed

I don’t have space to say all the great things about every team that participated; so instead, I’d like to focus on one team that has a fascinating history of participating together in the Intel family of technology innovation programs.

Kaleidoscope was started by a team of Turkish entrepreneurs including Emir Konuk and Emre Yilmaz, who in 2005, at the tender age of 19, competed together at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), demonstrating a digital ophthalmoscope designed to let doctors see blood vessels in the retina more easily. (This, incidentally, is not what I was doing at age 19.)

Six years later, after attending college together in Ankara, Emir and Emre are still a team, and they haven’t abandoned their quest to make blood vessels easier to see. This time Kaleidoscope (see link to their elevator pitch below) is focused on augmented reality goggles that doctors and nurses can use to see blood vessels, making it more likely that they will find the vein when starting an IV or drawing blood.

This issue is not just a matter of discomfort when a medical practitioner misses a vein (which Kaleidoscope says can happen one third of the time, or more in some patients), but can be life or death when a critically ill patient needs an IV “stat” as they say.

So now Emir and Emre, at the wise old age of 25, are presenting in the finals for the chance to make a serious dent in their company’s fundraising goals.

During Kaleidoscope’s Q&A session today, the duo was asked about hierarchy in the founding team. Emir replied that the team is 100% democratic. “Emre and I lived in the same room for three years, so we are like brothers.”

It’s great to know that Intel’s education events like ISEF and the Intel Global Challenge help aspiring entrepreneurs – teenagers in some cases -build the relationships necessary to tackle difficult problems that can improve the quality of life for millions of people.

Good luck to all the finalists and congratulations to everyone who participated in this great event! And please vote now for the People’s Choice Award!