Doctoral student selected as finalist at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week
Varun Kopparthy, a doctoral student in Louisiana Tech University’s biomedical engineering program, was selected as one of five finalists during a special innovation pitch session of the New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week (NOEW) as part of the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Entrepreneurship Network.PathoRADAR, a novel thermal-based detection technology for identifying pathogenic contamination developed by Kopparthy and Dr. Gergana Nestorova, emerged as one of NOEW’s most impressive innovations, providing Kopparthy an opportunity to present the technology directly to investors from across the region and country. In order to advance from the initial pool of 16 entrepreneurs, Kopparthy was challenged to convince a panel of judges that PathoRADAR was financially appealing and prepared for launch. “Participating in DRA’s Delta Entrepreneur Network was a great opportunity for PathoRADAR,” said Kopparthy. “The feedback we received from judges was incredible and helped us a lot to fine tune the pitch to clearly communicate to the investor community. The connections and relationships I have made through the program are invaluable and it is very exciting for PathoRADAR to pursue these opportunities as we move forward into our next phase.” Kopparthy earned the opportunity to compete during NOEW after being selected as a Delta Entrepreneurship Network Fellow by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) in February 2015. Competing against entrepreneurs across six southern states, Kopparthy was chosen as a Fellow based on both the quality of his presentation and the economic viability demonstrated by the enterprise. PathoRADAR’s technology detects disease-causing germs through samples taken from food, water and the environment. Current methods for detection of pathogens in food samples are time consuming, expensive and complex to handle, requiring trained professionals and laboratory analysis to perform the testing. PathoRADAR offers solution to the problem by dramatically reducing the detection time to approximately 40 minutes, detecting multiple pathogen contaminations in a single test run. PathoRADAR’s method is rapid and simple to use so the added cost of trained professionals and lengthy time to obtain lab results are eliminated. “Varun began the entrepreneurial process as an outstanding student and has honed his business skills,” said Kathy Wyatt, director of the Technology Business Development Center at Louisiana Tech. “He continues to pursue technological advances to the device and persists in acting upon commercialization opportunities. Varun is poised for success and it is rewarding to see his efforts recognized.” Wyatt says Louisiana Tech’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development supports the efforts of Kopparthy and other entrepreneurs and innovators, and serves as a resource and a catalyst for business development. NOEW is an annual event celebrating business, innovation, and advanced thinking in New Orleans. This is the inaugural year of the partnership between the DRA and the Idea Village that brought 31 entrepreneurs and support organizations to New Orleans for the special DRA programming. Produced by The Idea Village, NOEW engages a dynamic global network to support growing companies and elevate entrepreneurial successes through eight days of discussion, debate, education, competition, and celebration.