Food, Ag and Social Enterprise Innovations Make a Big Bang!

Promising Startups Showcase Ventures in UC Davis Business Competition

Big Bang! winners with giant check
Terry Han, left, and Neil Ray of Raydiant Oximetry Inc. took the $10,000 first prize in Big Bang! for a fetal oximeter. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)

The makers of an advanced fetal monitor, Raydiant Oximetry Inc., won the $10,000 first prize in the 17th annual UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition on Thursday (May 25).

The goal of the company is to reduce medically unnecessary C-sections, which can create health complications for millions of babies and mothers each year and increase health care costs. The team’s innovation is an oximeter that measures both oxygen saturation and heart rate for mother and baby.

Neil Ray, an anesthesiologist at the UC Davis Medical Center and Raydiant’s chief medical officer, said participating in the Big Bang! — including “learning from the experts about how to start a business, evaluate the market, listen to customers and deliver a successful presentation” — was invaluable. Raydiant will use the prize money for additional product development, starting with more human and animal clinical trials.

Second place team
Lisa Illes and Delaney Ridenour of Chromatiscope demonstrate their work on a device to boost students' scientific literacy at a low price. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)

A team of seven undergraduates and recent alumni from UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Merced, making up Chromatiscope, won the $5,000 second prize.

Chromatiscope aims to boost students’ scientific literacy by combining four specialized laboratory devices for spectrometry, colorimetry, microscopy and fluorimetry into a single, easy-to-use device that costs just $40 to $70 instead of the usual thousands of dollars. The result: More students can afford the experiences necessary to excel in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The People’s Choice Award, given to the team by vote of the audience at the ceremony, was AthleticOutlook, a web-based platform that connects high school and college athletes with NCAA-experienced coaches.

About $40,000 in cash additionally was awarded to top concepts addressing biomedical innovation, global poverty alleviation, and innovation in food and agriculture — all leading research areas at UC Davis. Thursday’s event judged a field that was narrowed from 70 entries.

Other prizes include:

  • Two teams — FloraPulse and ReNew Foods — split the Gowan Co. and AGR Challenge Award, each receiving $5,000. The award recognizes ventures that demonstrate excellent promise to do “more with less” with water, fertilizer, pesticides/herbicides and other food/agriculture resources.
  • Oomni Inc. received the $4,000 Biomedical Innovation Award, sponsored by the UC Davis Office of Research, School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine and College of Engineering. 
  • WISRAN received the $3,000 Innovation in Food and Agriculture Award, sponsored by the UC Davis World Food Center. The startup identifies operation logistics inefficiencies in real time for growers to capture profits.
  • The Berkeley-based Reach 1600 Foundation received the $3,000 Global Poverty Alleviation Award presented by the UC Davis Blum Center for Developing Economies. Reach 1600 has developed a free, adaptive SAT prep program for students from underserved communities that the foundation’s marketing director, Rosie Fan, describes as one solution in “the fight for equal access to resources for higher education.”

The Big Bang! provides workshops, mentorship, financing guidance and networking opportunities to accelerate commercialization and advance the startup process. Organized and run by the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UC Davis, it is open to the university’s students, faculty, researchers and staff as well as to the general public.

Read more about the winners listed above and other prize winners.


Media Resources

Marianne Skoczek, UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, cell 415-425-0878,

Karen Nikos-Rose, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-219-5472,

Primary Category

Secondary Categories

Society, Arts & Culture