Bryson Allen, a Business Honors Program freshman in the Belk College of Business, has won two awards for development of the SmartBrush, a health monitoring toothbrush.
He received the 2015 J. Chris Murphy Award and $500 on March 30. The J. Chris Murphy Award is presented annually to the top UNC Charlotte Undergraduate team by Charlotte Venture Challenge. He also received the top prize and $500 in the undergraduate student category of the 3rd annual Charlotte Venture Challenge Pitch Day in December.
Allen, who is from Charlotte, developed the idea for the high-tech toothbrush with his brother Richard Allen.
“I was looking into the problem that people don’t understand what is happening on a daily basis with their health,” Allen said. So he and his brother developed a concept that involved a daily activity – brushing your teeth.
“After you brush your teeth, the SmartBrush will analyze saliva, collect data, send it to your phone and provide a report with daily health recommendations,” Allen said. The SmartBrush will measure insulin, vitamins and testosterone. The advantage, he says, is the SmartBrush is convenient and non-invasive, unlike other devices that obtain similar measures.
In December, he pitched the idea in a two-minute presentation at Charlotte Pitch Day, winning his first award. He then received the J. Chris Murphy award on March 30 and presented the idea at Charlotte Venture Challenge on March 31, competing against eight other student teams and more than 20 start-up companies.
“Since I have been exposed to many pitches through my internship with Terry Cox at Business Innovation and Growth (BIG), a large organization for fast growth entrepreneurs in our community, I was able to put together a pitch with confidence,” he said.
He said his involvement in the Business Honors Program has been valuable. “During my first semester of college I had a project in my BHP Introduction to Business class that dealt with formulating a business plan. We went through many of the steps that any company would go through when creating a business plan for a new product. I never expected that later on that semester I would go on to win the CVC Pitch Day for my SmartBrush idea,” Allen said.
The next step? Product development is now under way. Allen’s presentation on March 31 was judged by a group of business experts at a conference with more than 700 investors and professionals in attendance.
“The development of the SmartBrush has come a long way since the CVC Pitch Day in December. Initially, our development of the SmartBrush was strictly through research, confirming our hunches, finding new things to test for, learning more about the science behind it, and just seeing if it was possible in the first place. Oftentimes in entrepreneurship you have a vision for a product, but that vision can't be done. The people willing to change their vision and adapt are the ones that find success,” Allen said.
Top photo, left to right: Bob Wilhelm, Bryson Allen, Devin Collins, Dean Steven Ott
Bottom photo: Bryson Allen presents at Charlotte Venture Challenge on March 31.