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Aptelix Takes 1st Place at U.W. Competition

As Seattle business leaders and collegiate entrepreneurs mingled last night at the UW Business Plan awards dinner, four groups of finalist waited anxiously for the big announcement. When all was said and done, Aptelix.com, a startup from the University of Washington came out on top, earning the judges votes and $25,000. The company created an application, Haiku, which is designed to enhance web-enabled cellular phones to make them more practical, usable mail devices.

Haiku uses technology to automate and edit email responses in order to overcome the limitations of cellular phones for written communications. The Aptelix team focused their presentation on capitalizing on the exploding wireless internet market. The company plans to expand within both the personal and business sectors of the wireless web.

The Aptelix team was excited about the win as well as the opportunities that the contest has afforded them. "To come out on top feels really good, but the experience was fantastic," says Dan Aspleaf, technology officer at Aptelix.

Brad Thompson, VP of marketing for Aptelix notes: "The contest has helped our business significantly. It's given us a lot of confidence that we are developing the right product and that people will want to buy it."

As with Aptelix, many companies saw the prize money as only one part of the contest. "It's pure exposure into the Seattle business community and beyond," said Tom Seery, CEO of Eyecentives, and finalist in the contest.

Numerous businesses echoed Seery's sentiments. "There's just great contacts you can make, great chances to meet people, as well as great opportunities for capital funding in the future," said Christopher Reanier, COO of CarfairUSA.com.

The contest was judged by a board of distinguished Seattle business moguls. The judges not only took advantage of an opportunity to give back to the community, but also to survey up and coming business ideas. "First and foremost I am here to help out the community and all the students here," said Tom Johnston, a judge from Alexander Hutton. "Of course if something comes up that looks like we might fund it, we'd be happy to take a look."

Now that the contest is over, Aptelix plans to continue its development. "Our goal right now is to further develop our product, build our management team capabilities, and raise our first round of funding," says Thompson.