Lyndsey Linke, center, receives the top prize at the CSU Collegiate Challenge business pitch competition on Wednesday night. (Courtesy Colorado State University)

SiVEC Biotechnologies wins top prize at CSU Collegiate Challenge

FORT COLLINS – SiVEC Biotechnologies, a startup founded by Colorado State University graduate student Lyndsey Linke, took home the $20,000 top prize from the CSU Collegiate Challenge business pitch competition on Wednesday night.

Linke out-pitched outpitched 13 other startups from five states that were competing in the challenge.

In addition to the cash prize, SiVEC also earns an entry into a preliminary round of the $250,000 Capital Championship, which was formerly known as the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge. The startup also earned an automatic interview for the Boulder-based Boomtown startup accelerator, a year of services from AllProWebTools and public relations firm Meld Strategy + Communications and various in-kind legal services.

SiVEC formed out of Link’s work as a doctoral student at CSU and her post-doctoral research in clinical sciences. The company is developing aerosol-based antiviral products for the rapid prevention of respiratory diseases in commercial poultry.

“The validation that you’re working toward something that can have an impact is really meaningful,” Linke said in a release from CSU. “To take it a step further and receive a prize and money, and people who believe in the technology and want to see it move forward, is even more exciting.”

Another CSU startup, IgnoreU, took home second place and $5,000. The company, founded by CSU MBA grad Carmelo Mannino and computer science grad Brandon Dewey, makes a mobile app that acts as a spam filter for people’s social media feeds.

Judges for the challenge included Cliintel Capital Group CEO Rich Batenberg, Zayo Group chief operations officer Matt Erickson, Innosphere CEO Mike Freeman, Thrive on Group CEO Sue Kunz, and angel investor and Epicentral Coworking cofounder Lisa Tessarowicz.

But it wasn’t just the judges whom SiVEC won over. The company also took home the People’s Choice Award voted on by audience members.