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Malaria detector wins business competition

Disease Diagnostic Group, a medical device company founded by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student, is the winner of the 2014 Cupid’s Cup Business Competition.

But the $75,000 first-place prize money was just the beginning.

Under Armour Inc. CEO Kevin Plank, who founded the University of Maryland’s annual competition nine years ago, offered Disease Diagnostic Group an extra $25,000 in exchange for an equity stake in the company.

Disease Diagnostic Group, which makes an inexpensive handheld device that can diagnose malaria in 60 seconds, accepted the offer. Plank’s Cupid Foundation, which funds the competition, will hold the equity.

The company also won $5,000 as the recipient of the “audience choice” award.

Cupid’s Cup is a nationwide contest hosted by UM’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. It’s open to students and recent graduates of schools across the country.

But local entrepreneurs did not leave the April 4 competition in College Park empty-handed.

The $20,000 second-place award went to Compology, a company co-founded by a UM alumnus that makes sensors and software to track dumpster volume. The system will reroute trash pickup trucks to increase the waste collectors’ margins by 50 percent.

The $5,000 third-place prize was awarded to Wheel Shields, a UM student-run company that makes a skateboard accessory that improves safety, blocks mud and makes it easier for skaters to perform tricks.