Vaylenx recently competed in the Ideator May Challenge where over a hundred different ideas were vying for the top 5 spots in order to pitch to an outstanding panel of judges. Vaylenx placed 2nd in the competition and we recently caught up with the busy team to learn more about their company.
Vaylenx is creating a novel, environmentally-friendly, affordable larvicide to contribute to the fight against mosquitoes worldwide.
How exactly do they do it? CNP-1 is a natural byproduct of materials like grass clippings that are treated with simple chemicals and delivered to mosquito breeding sites. This process relies on the fact that mosquitoes breed in standing water. Putting these particles in the water causes the mosquito larvae to ingest the particle, which disrupts their life cycle and kills the mosquito. The Vaylenx team is stopping the mosquito before it ever even has a chance to bite a person.
How did they come up with the idea?
“The core Vaylenx team was working on a case competition regarding a humanitarian purpose, looking specifically at malaria in Guyana, S. America,” Noah Rosenblatt said, “We researched a variety of control methods and finally came across the study regarding a similar technology. We then worked with the original researcher of this study to create new research aims and adjusted the technology quite a bit to be more effective to create CNP-1.”
Success doesn’t come overnight, of course. There are always ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Their biggest hurdle?
“Dealing with the scrutiny from both the scientific and startup community being young entrepreneurs taking on a large idea. The core team is 22-23 years old and most entrepreneurs our age, or millennial entrepreneurs, create an app, not a larvicide. We were and have always been immensely confident; however, there were many members of both communities (scientific and startup) who were skeptical because of our lack in expertise. We overcame this through two methods.”
Now take note, as these are transferrable methods you can use with your own ideas:
“The first being that we did what college students are best at doing, we learned. We spent 2 years speaking to experts in both fields, networking, making phone calls or scheduling Skype interviews. We would work with faculty from our university and for what we couldn’t find there we turned to the Internet and conducted our own primary and secondary research. The second method by which we overcame this obstacle was by complying an all start team that helped boost our reputation. This includes business executives, professors, serial entrepreneurs, researchers and heads of government organizations.”
Problem-solving at every turn. We love it.
Where do they see Vaylenx in the future? CNP-1 will be used “as an effective vector borne disease abatement mechanism in every at risk area across the globe without harming the natural environment,” Noah said.
The Vaylenx team benefits from Ideator by receiving valuable feedback on their business and scientific research models from the startup community. Making it to the finals of the Ideator May Challenge gave them a “…podium to speak in front of the A+ judging panel”. The constructive criticism helped them refine their pitch, and further craft their presentation. It also gave them an opportunity to see how other entrepreneurs, both in school and seasoned professionals, were presenting to potential investors. The Ideator community bridges the educational and professional worlds.
What’s next for Vaylenx? They’ve moved onto the next stage in their research down in Ecuador. Catch Vaylenx’s pitch (click here) along with their answers to the tough questions asked by the A+ judging panel! Or keep updated on Noah and his team’s progress down in LATAM by following their idea today!