SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University students Russell Fearon and Ricardo Sanchez were the grand-prize winners of the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at the 2021 Syracuse University (SU) campus qualifier for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) InVenture Prize.
SU Libraries put on the event virtually on Jan. 29. Fearon (College of Engineering and Computer Science) and Sanchez (College of Visual and Performing Arts) earned a $5,000 cash prize, sponsored by M&T Bank, and will now move on to participate virtually in a PBS-televised event in April. The ACC InVenture finals feature a $30,000 prize package and will be hosted virtually by North Carolina State University. Fearon and Sanchez’ invention, SugEx, is an “innovative” device and mobile app designed to better monitor glucose levels for people with pre-, Type 1, and Type 2 diabetes, Syracuse University Libraries said.
“We started in the Invent@SU accelerator as undergraduates and immediately began working with the tenacious team in the LaunchPad who incubate amazing entrepreneurs,” said Fearon, co-founder and CEO of SugEx. The SugEx team developed an initial prototype in the Invent@SU program for a wearable glucose monitoring device, based on Fearon’s own experience discovering he had diabetes while in college. They worked with the LaunchPad on a commercialization roadmap and along the way won a number of accolades, including a national health innovation award from the American Heart Association.
The SugEx team has now won more than $60,000 for the invention in various competitions.
Fearon is now finishing his master’s degree in bioengineering and biomedical engineering after receiving his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Syracuse University. Sanchez, co-founder and CTO of SugEx, is a fifth-year industrial and interaction design student at SU.
The Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries is the university’s innovation hub. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and alumni across disciplines who are interested in innovation, invention, entrepreneurship, venture creation, careers, entrepreneurial skills, diversity, equity, inclusion, and taking ideas from concept to commercialization.