Butterworth Product Development Competition

Annual student contest spotlights bright ideas

Ten teams of future entrepreneurs gathered May 17 in Bren Hall to compete in the final round of the 9th Annual Butterworth Product Development Competition. Organized by the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences, the contest promotes the creation of commercially viable technology and products while fostering entrepreneurship among undergraduate and graduate students.

The competition began in January with 19 teams and more than 60 students. Its namesake, Paul Butterworth (B.S. ’74, M.S. ’81), is chief technical officer of AccessG2 Inc.

“This was, by far, the most impressive group of competitors we’ve seen over the last nine years,” said judge Kevin Kinsey, CEO and co-founder of Netreo, who has been involved with the Butterworth Competition since it debuted in 2003. “Each of the finalists gave me a sense that they were trying to solve a real need. It was a tremendously difficult decision to come up with the Top 3.”



1st place — $5,000

Portfelo is creating a new experience for people in the modeling industry (photographers, models, make-up artists, hair stylists and wardrobe stylists) to market their portfolio and network with each other. While current tools (such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, 4ormat, ModelMayhem) solves a small portion of the challenges the industry currently experiences, Portfelo aims to be the solution to the industry’s pain points.

Team Portfelo: Michael Cupino (leader), Ferdinand Lucero, Jordan Speer, Evan White, Danielle Yu

Mentor: Tony Crisp (B.S. ’92, School of Biological Sciences), CEO and Brand Strategist, CRISP Brand Agency


2nd place — $3,500

Spawnd is a social networking website for online gamers that couples the concept of online social networking with an innovative incentive where the more you play, the more you can earn discounts and rewards on your favorite games and accessories. Spawnd works to tear down console-to-console gaming barriers through its patent-pending universal ‘Spawnd Point’ system that allows gamers to compare stats and rankings across different gaming platforms. Users of Spawnd can surf profiles of gaming friends, get the latest gaming news, and even host custom tournaments all while racking up ‘Spawnd Points’ that can be allocated toward rewards and discounts.

Team Spawnd: Rohan Venapusala (leader), Ryan Reyes, Bellal Labanieh, Naren Sathiya, John Junyszek

Mentor: Ash Kumra, Co-Founder of DesiYou and DreamItAlive.com


3rd place — $1,500

M-prescription is an alternative solution for prescription transaction. It uses a patient’s mobile phone to store prescription information, instead of paper or an Internet server. In this way, M-prescription provides more security and privacy protection, as well as convenience, to users (patients). The prescribers can also benefit from its simplified work flow and prescribing decision support. In addition, the pharmacies are less dependent on Internet connection during prescription transactions; thus, a more robust transaction base is achieved. Moreover, the pharmacies that are outside the M-prescription network can also use its service through land call or multimedia messaging service.

Team M-prescription: Jianlin Shi (leader), Chandra Bhavanasi, Jeffrey Tse

Mentor: Channa Samynathan (B.S. ’96, Bren School of ICS), Solutions Architect, Independent




Public transport (e.g., bus service) has always had the problem of delay associated with boarding time of passengers. There are hassles associated with the current system of paying by cash in the fare box or by card swiping. Approve is a mobile application that lets a passenger pay for the ticket or verify the details of the bus pass prior to boarding the bus, while waiting at the stop. There are several other features, like real-time location tracking and providing a platform for advertisements for the public transport authority, thus making the experience of public transport smart and comfortable.

Team Approve: Venu Madhav Gundeti (leader), Pramit Choudhary, Swapnil Chavan

Mentor: Channa Samynathan (B.S. ’96, Bren School of ICS), Solutions Architect, Independent



Devue aims to be a mobile platform through which users can submit etudes, scores, music pieces and other excerpts through a website. Through pitch detection from the mobile application, users will be able to receive instant feedback as to how well they played a piece. With Devue, the user can have access to potentially unlimited etudes to practice from, through the Devue store. Each etude is submitted by other musicians and can be accessed by other users to practice a special skill set, or just general playing skills. Devue offers a mobile, end-to-end solution that is revolutionary in music education.

Team Kiwi: Jason J. Lee (leader), Juan Cortez, Kevin Lu, Albert Law, Andrew Ouyang

Mentor: Kojiro Umezaki, Assistant Professor, Music, Trevor School of Arts



Optinerary (OPTimal itINERARY) is an activity recommendation and scheduling mobile application that generates optimized itineraries for business and time-constrained travelers on the go. The system optimizes itineraries based on information regarding different activities and spatio-temporal conditions; it analyzes users’ travel information such as location, time, travel mode and preference settings to generate personalized itineraries with routing information for activities, including tourist attractions, local businesses (restaurants, shopping centers, etc.) and local events (concerts, sports games, festivals, etc.). Optinerary makes complex activity planning on mobile phones an easy task.

Team Optinerary: Hang Liu (leader), Dmitri Arkhipov

Mentor: Brian Dao (B.S. ’03, Bren School of ICS), Managing Partner, Alpha Sprouts

Advisor: Joseph Chow (Ph.D. ’10, Samueli School of Engineering), Postdoctoral Scholar, UCI Institute of Transportation Studies



Pictorria is a web-based image understanding service capable of analyzing a photo’s visual and contextual data and extracting information from it in order to facilitate the development of photo-related applications. Pictorria is capable of recognizing faces, people, landmarks, scenes, text and many other objects of interest. Users of our service can use this data to create personalized applications such as finding and matching a specific set of visual objects.

Team Pictorria: Mohsen Hejrati (leader), Brian Russell Reinhart

Mentor: Ramesh Jain, Bren Professor, Computer Science, Bren School of ICS

Advisors: Mohammad Rastegari, Maryland University, and Matthew Redmond (B.S. ’11, Samueli School of Engineering)



Utilizing the latest in RFID technological development, Rims (RFID Inventory Management System) takes aim at industry standard inventory management for retail businesses. Rims is a revolutionary new form of inventory management and business solution that can completely alter the landscape of how products are managed and sold to consumers. Rims provides not only analytical statistics on products moving in and out of a store, but also provides live location-based inventory statistics. The beauty of Rims is that it not only provides retail businesses a new solution in managing inventory, but it also provides a gateway for consumers to view select inventory statistics (e.g., physical location in store and number of stock) at the discretion of the retail business.

Team ShakeNBake: Minda Wang (leader), Manuel Yang, Jonathan Chang

Mentor: Don Patterson, Associate Professor, Informatics, Bren School of ICS



SmartHome aims to provide an easier method for users to control their home appliance by their cell phones with a graphic user interface through telecommunication networks. It allows users to communicate with the appliance remotely and at their needs.

Team Megaline: Zonglin Guo (leader), Zi-shun Huang, Xiaoyi Zhang

Mentor: Ian Harris, Associate Professor, Computer Science, Bren School of ICS



WhoBot is a shopping application that gives users real-time news feed of products that their friends have recently purchased or wanted to recommend to their social group. It serves as a place where people come to talk about shopping only. Through WhoBot, users can create a social network with the use of their contact list and share their shopping adventures with their friends. This application aims to create a more reliable and enjoyable shopping experience for users.

Team WhoBot: Maryam Khademi (leader), Bryant Pham

Mentor: Don Patterson, Associate Professor, Informatics, Bren School of ICS