Perhaps because there are only two members of his team presenting at the contest -- and the other is an undergraduate -- Steve Xu felt the need to reassure judges that "we do have adult supervision." But Xu exudes maturity beyond his years, which he pinpoints at "22.5."
Xu worked with three others to build a tool to provide doctors with an accurate and quantifiable way to measure hand strength. Carpal tunnel syndrome alone costs $2 billion a year, and a quarter of the 500,000 surgeries fail. The technology may also be useful in assessing neuromuscular disorders like Parkinson's disease and ALS, and in rehabilitating stroke victims.
The team estimates their invention, called Prime, could grab sales of $14 million in year five. By then Xu hopes to be an MD. This fall he'll attend Harvard Medical School, so about 20% of the $500,000 the team wants to raise is earmarked for recruiting a fulltime CEO. Xu says he plans to stay involved -- just as he remains part of his first startup, which he co-founded when he was just 19.
NEXT: 5th place: Ambiq Micro