BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — SALEM — A start-up digital health firm named Apptomics has won this year’s business plan competition at Salem State University’s Enterprise Center, pocketing the first prize of $5,000 to develop mobile applications for neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
The company, now based in Wellesley, plans to move to North Shore InnoVentures, a biotech and clean tech business incubator located in the Cummings Center in Beverly.
Coming in second, and winning $3,000 for its business plan, was North Shore Speech Therapy of Peabody, a therapist-owned pediatric speech therapy practice.
Third place went to The Bridge, a Gloucester social media website where Cape Ann businesses, nonprofits and community groups can upload videos, stay connected and raise awareness.
The three businesses presented their plans to regional business leaders and others on May 6. In addition to cash prizes, businesses also got feedback from the judges — judges who might, someday, become investors.
Winners of the competition commit to locating on the North Shore, and growing to at least five full-time employees within two years. The companies also must be relatively new or be putting in place a new growth strategy.
“This competition gave me the opportunity to really focus on refining my plan,” said Apptomics founder and CEO Georgia Mitsi, in a prepared statement. “The advice and coaching have been excellent. This has been a very positive and dynamic experience.”
In an interview, Mitsi said winning the competition provided “external validation” for her company.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “First of all, this competition was perfectly organized. There were great people behind it.” The judges had a wealth of experience Mitsi said she found helpful.
“They gave me a hard time, which was a good thing because they made me think,” Mitsi said. The challenge, she said, is not just to develop a product but to bring it to market.
Apptomics has developed a mobile application, called MyPD, to help patients, caregivers and health care professionals manage treatment-related motor complications in Parkinson’s disease. It’s also developing platforms to help patients manage epilepsy and migraines.
The company’s Parkinson’s solution involves a glove a patient wears that can record tremors and symptoms. The patient can use a mobile device to report side effects to medication and symptoms, and the doctor can combine what the patient reports with the data collected to determine the best course of treatment, Mitsi said.
The app can be downloaded to any mobile phone or tablet, said Mitsi, a biologist who has a master’s in applied medical science, a doctorate in cell sciences and a master’s in business administration. The fledgling company was founded last year, she said, and has been able to achieve its milestones on a “shoestring budget.”
Gold sponsors of the event included East Boston Savings Bank, People’s United Bank and TD Bank. Silver-level sponsors were the North Shore Technology Council, Salem Five, Speaking of Leadership and West Hill Technology Council. The media sponsor is The Salem News. There were a number of co-sponsors as well.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.