The brains behind a test that can identify a deadly disease threatening premature infants won JEDCO’s fifth annual startup pitch competition Monday afternoon. The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, in partnership with First NBC Bank, is pleased to announce Chosen Diagnostics as the winner of the 2017 JEDCO Challenge powered by First NBC Bank. Sunyoung Kim, the company’s founder, delivered the winning pitch.
Chosen Diagnostics’ test, called Neonatal DDx, will make it easier for doctors to diagnose a common and life-threatening gastrointestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies. Currently, this disease impacts over 6,000 preterm infants in the US every year, which incurs $3.2 million in healthcare costs. Right now, this disease is difficult to diagnose at an early stage and the rapid pace of its progression can result in surgery, long-term complications, and in some cases, death. Chosen Diagnostics’ biomarker test can change that. Using this test, doctors can identify NEC earlier and start immediate treatment. This test will save lives and reduce healthcare costs.
Sunyoung Kim is no stranger to the pitch competition circuit in Greater New Orleans. Chosen Diagnostics won the Louisiana BioChallenge in 2016.
“Being selected as the JEDCO Challenge winner is a humbling and emotional experience. All the entrepreneurs in the competition were inspiring and had such great products – I honestly did not know how we would stack up,” said Sunyoung Kim, founder and CEO of Chosen Diagnostics. “The prize is important to an early stage start-up company for both its validation and its cash. To me personally, support of our community is the most valuable asset. The $20,000 prize will be used toward meaningful coverage of three new hospitals in our ongoing clinical trial. It will accelerate this clinical study and its results and get our test in Jefferson Parish hospitals faster.”
“I can’t say enough about JEDCO,” Kim added. “The organization has been so supportive and insightful in their guidance of the pitch finalists. Their guidance has made all of us better entrepreneurs. This platform has helped all of us reach out to the public and our leaders in a way that is not possible in any other format.”
“We are very excited to celebrate the successes of Chosen Diagnostics this year. This company has proven itself to be a true innovator in the bioscience industry and we are enthusiastic about the potential for positive impact that Chosen Diagnostics will have on Jefferson Parish and the rest of the world,” said Jerry Bologna, JEDCO President and CEO.
“Through the JEDCO Challenge, our community has an opportunity to experience the high level of talent, innovation, and excellence displayed by a number of startups building their companies locally,” Bologna added. “The entrepreneurs showcased through our event this year represent the future of economic growth in Jefferson Parish. They are passionate, driven, incredibly creative, and we commend each of them for their efforts in this competition and beyond. We look forward to continuing our support of their endeavors as they grow and thrive in our community.”
Held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) presented by IBERIABANK, which is produced by The Idea Village in partnership with Solomon Group, the JEDCO Challenge powered by First NBC Bank is a pitch competition developed to highlight entrepreneurs with ties to Jefferson Parish. Earlier this year, JEDCO chose five startups to participate in Monday’s event at Southport Hall. Nicholas Pashos of BioAesthetics, Phil Taylor of Drone Party Planet, Domenic Giunta of IDIYA, and Andrew Prat of Southern City Farm joined Sunyoung to compete for the Jefferson Parish prize package.
The entrepreneurs pitched to a full house at Southport Hall Monday afternoon. The winner was partially chosen by a panel of Jefferson Parish business leaders: Aimee Quirk of InnovationOchsner, Sherif Ebrahim of Strategic Wealth Management and Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business, Ray Seamon of First NBC Bank, Daryl Schloz of NO/LA Angel Network, and Todd Tournillon of Postlethwaite & Netterville.
The judges scored the pitches on presentation, innovation, ability to answer questions effectively, Jefferson Parish impact and company scalability. The entrepreneurs also received points based on a crowd vote and business plans submitted in advance of Monday’s pitch competition.
Chosen Diagnostics won a prize package worth $60,000 in cash and donated business services, including:
The second place winner, Southern City Farm, won insurance consultation with Daul Insurance and legal assistance through Carver, Darden, Koretzky, Tessier, Finn, Blossman & Areaux’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, valued at over $5,000. All of the finalists received a free year of membership through the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and access to Gillis, Ellis & Baker’s GEB University Seminars.