Wise Earthcare finished in second place and won $25,000. The company seeks to reduce plastic pollution by marketing a line of toothbrushes and other home-dental-care products that are compostable and sustainable. UCLA Law student Scott Panitz ’21 teamed with UCLA Anderson students Andrew Coyle, William Hawkins, Belinda Lau, Pradnya Parulekar and Ingrid Vining.
“The work we produced for the competition has helped us to critically evaluate and improve all the aspects of our business — legal, operations, production, marketing, et cetera — and sharpen and refine our vision,” says Panitz, who founded a tutoring company in the Czech Republic before law school and will work at the national business law firm Greenspoon Marder this summer.
OYA Apparel earned the third-place prize of $15,000 and the audience award of $1,000. It designs fashionable leggings that minimize the health problems that are commonly associated with functional sportswear for new mothers and other women. The team includes UCLA Law student Ashley Sykora ’21 and UCLA Anderson students Patrick Ayers, Mitchella Gilbert, Mac Seder and Raylan Vaz.
Amid the pandemic, Sykora headed to Texas and collaborated with teammates who had dispersed to New York and around California. While most of her legal education has been focused on litigation, she says, “to have the opportunity to do hands-on work involving the transactional side was something I really valued.”
Sandler and Milken served as judges for the final round alongside Fenwick & West partner Joshua Geffon ’04 and Victoria Slivkoff, who is the global head of innovation and entrepreneurship at the UC Office of the President. Fenwick & West sponsored the final-round competition, which was overseen by Lowell Milken Institute Executive Director Joel Feuer. He will continue to advise the winners.
Other finalists included Brand Socialite, a staffing platform for event managers and other employers; Protean Surgical Instruments, which is developing a cost-effective catheter; Sike Insights, whose technology uses artificial intelligence to improve the ways that remote teams collaborate; and VHomes, which helps convert distressed real estate properties into budget-travel destinations.