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Alum Wins Opportunity to Pitch at Venture Summit

January 24, 2018

UC Merced alumnus Michael Urner is one of five finalists in the University of California new “I am a UC Entrepreneur” contest.

Urner was selected from a pool of 169 contestants — representing all 10 UC campuses — for his innovation and creativity in co-founding Tergis Technologies, a company developing new medical devices to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections.

The finalists, selected by a panel of prominent investors, have won the opportunity to pitch their startups to more than 600 business leaders and venture capitalists at the third annual 2018 Global Corporate Venturing & Innovation (GCVI) Summit, held in Monterey from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

Following the GCVI pitch sessions, contest sponsor Future Planet Capital will select one finalist to take part in the second annual Future Planet Awards that will take place at Global Corporate Venturing’s symposium in London in May.

UC Merced alumni Michael Urner and Paul Barghouth founded Tergis Technologies, a company developing new medical devices to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections.
UC Merced alumni Michael Urner and Paul Barghouth founded Tergis Technologies, a company developing new medical devices to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections.

Urner earned degrees in molecular and cell biology and materials engineering science in 2014. He and business partner Paul Barghouth, who graduated with a degree in bioengineering in 2013 and is pursuing a doctorate in Quantitative Systems Biology, were part of the campus’s 2013 Innovate to Grow competition. They went on to create two startups through the UC Merced Venture Lab and have patented their work.

The “I am a UC Entrepreneur” contest for alumni was launched in October to highlight the innovation and creativity of the UC community. The UC invited alumni entrepreneurs and startup leaders to submit pitch videos and materials explaining their visions and strategies. An associated campaign, launched in 2016, showcases the impressive work of the university’s student, faculty and staff entrepreneurs.

“The UC community is full of entrepreneurs creating groundbreaking products and revolutionary companies,” UC Senior Vice President for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Christine Gulbranson said. “These finalists embody the bold range of innovative and forward-looking projects that our alumni are undertaking.”

The “I am a UC Entrepreneur” campaign for UC alumni is supported by Future Planet Capital (FPC), a global innovation fund.

“Disruption is key to Future Planet’s mission of delivering impactful solutions to the world’s greatest challenges,” said FPC Executive Chairman Douglas Hansen-Luke. “These five finalists are excellent examples of how innovation in health, transport, software and IT are creating the next technological revolution, and we look forward to working with them.”

For more information about the alumni entrepreneur contest, visit http://entrepreneurs.universityofcalifornia.edu/.