MBA Team Takes Top Honors in Tech Competition

2 Present Plan for Security Technology that Protects Networks from Hackers

March 27, 2009

A team of students from the UT Dallas School of Management took top honors at the WBT-IC2 University Technology Commercialization Competition held on March 24-25, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  The competition is a partnership between the IC² Institute at the University of Texas at Austin and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.  It was created to encourage graduate students to commercialize technologies developed at their universities and to help the resulting new ventures obtain funding.

MBA students Stephen Dunlap and William “Ben” Morrow took first place with PassPro-tech, a unique single-sign-on password technology that offers a simple, secure way to authenticate users on multiple networks with a significantly higher level of security than competing technologies offer. The system is intended for applications in which multiple pre-authorized clients access and interact with one or more central server installations (banks, securities firms, universities, medical institutions, large corporations, military and government agencies, ISPs, etc.) across either the Internet or proprietary intranets.

“The IC2 competition provided a great opportunity to get UT Dallas in front of the 900 entrepreneurs, master’s candidates, and investors that attended the World's Best Technologies Showcase,” Dunlap said.

In the competition, PassPro-tech bested teams from UT Austin, Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech University, Baylor University, Iowa State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Louisville, Yale University, Boston College and Kennesaw State University. UT Dallas teams also took first and third places in the same competition in 2008.

The technology Morrow and Dunlap presented utilizes hardware and software components to provide secure Internet authentication, while providing a robust level of protection from attacks by hackers.

The underlying technology was invented by Dr. Jim Pritchard, a dentist and inventor from Richardson, Texas.  It has been under development since 2000. Four patents have been issued, and six are pending. The entire system is transparent to the user and is as easy to use as remembering a simple username or username/password combination and pressing a button.

“When Dr. Gary Cadenhead, director of the Master of Science in Technology Commercialization program at UT Austin, announced that UT DALLAS had won for the second year in a row, we were honored and humbled to follow the winning tradition set by MicroTransponder last year,” Morrow said.

Dunlap and Morrow were the graduate division winners of the second annual UT Dallas Business Idea competition, hosted by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas in November 2008. In 2007, the same duo walked away with top honors in the undergraduate division of the UT Dallas competition.

“We’re pleased for and proud of Stephen and Ben and their performance in what was a challenging competition,” said Dr. Joseph Picken, executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas. “Over the next several weeks, they’ll be representing UT Dallas in similar competitions at the University of Nebraska, the University of Manitoba, Rice University and the UT Austin. They’ve accomplished a great deal so far, and we look forward to their success in future competitions.”

As the winner of the WBT-IC2 University Technology Commercialization Competition, PassPro-tech will receive a cash award of $10,000, legal services valued at $10,000, consulting advice from a panel of experts valued at $10,000 and an invitation to the world renowned Global Moot Corp Competition at The University of Texas at Austin in May.

“I'm really pumped about competing at Moot Corp!” Morrow said. The competition in Austin takes place May 6-9.

“Not only do Ben and Steve present their plan in a credible and compelling manner, but one major key to their success lies in their in-depth knowledge of their product and market, thus enabling them to field all questions in a very impressive way to those judging,” said Robert Robb, associate vice president for technology commercialization.  “Indeed, they represent UT Dallas well.”


Media contact: Brandon V. Webb, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, brandon.webb@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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PassPro-Tech presentation

MBA students William “Ben” Morrow (left) and Stephen Dunlap have developed a business plan for PassPro-tech, a password technology that offers a simple way to authenticate users on multiple networks.

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