Winning startup team at Campus 1871 includes iSchool student Saajan Dehury

Master's student Saajan Dehury was part of the winning team at Campus 1871, a startup pitch competition held on March 31-April 2 at 1871, Chicago's Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship. 

The objective of the competition was to design a potential startup company and create a viable business model that would solve a meaningful problem, all within one weekend. Teams, limited to ten members, were composed of students from various backgrounds and universities. Members accepted different responsibilities for their startup, including design, business model, revenue model, marketing, and user experience/interface.

Campus 1871 team members included (pictured above), front row: Pakhi Chaturvedi (Univ. of Chicago), Mary Novokhovsky (IIT), Neha Goel (Loyola), Moses Lara (Devry); back row: Saajan Dehury, Amy Kamin (IIT), David Olorundare (DePaul), Briana Kennedy (Loyola

Dehury's team decided to pitch a startup to tackle the problem of asthma and design a technology to improve inhalers. Dehury worked on the revenue model for the company, although his background is not in business. 

"Thirteen percent of the U.S. population suffers from asthma, and ten Americans die every day from the condition. Uncontrolled asthmatics contribute to growing medical costs, resulting in higher insurance claims. In addition, the dosage released from the nozzle of a conventional inhaler is sometimes inaccurate, and the nozzle can become clogged," he explained.

His team designed a universal smart technology, an inhaler cap, which would fit into almost all traditional inhalers. The device, Respirare, is made up of a durable, reusable, antimicrobial plastic. A touch sensor controls the dose and communicates with a mobile application that helps keep track of the user's condition. 

"We presented the idea to a panel of five judges and eventually secured the first position among fourteen teams. The reward includes an office space for six months in 1871, with access to resources needed for building a successful startup," Dehury said.

He credits his Campus 1871 experience with providing him the opportunity to "explore the entire product lifecycle" as well as helping him better appreciate the value of teamwork. 

The event was organized by the collaborative initiative of 1871 and nine universities—Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, DeVry University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, The University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Springfield, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

First place win for MS/IM students’ hackathon team

Three iSchool students were on the winning team at PygHack 2018, a 24-hour hackathon that brings together coders, designers, engineers, and dreamers to work together to create something that can benefit the community or an organization in Champaign-Urbana. This year's event was held on September 29-30 at the University of Illinois Research Park. PygHack projects were judged on community benefit, collaboration, design, functioning prototype, and innovation. 

PygHack team

Kahyun Choi defends dissertation

Doctoral candidate Kahyun Choi successfully defended her dissertation, "Computational Lyricology: Quantitative Approaches to Understanding Song Lyrics and Their Interpretations."

Kahyun Choi

Phelps to discuss digital literacy initiatives at ISIC 2018

Doctoral candidate Kirstin Phelps will participate in ISIC 2018: The Information Behaviour Conference, which will be held October 9-11 in Krakow, Poland. The conference is a platform for a broad and multidisciplinary community of researchers to present and discuss how people engage with information in a myriad of contexts.

Kirstin C Phelps

Join us at the 2018 ILA Annual Conference

The 2018 Illinois Library Association (ILA) Annual Conference will be held from October 9-11 in Peoria. The theme of this year's conference is "Libraries: All Inclusive." Visit with the iSchool at Booth #315 in the Exhibit Hall on October 10 and 11. The School will also host an alumni breakfast on October 11.