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Young Innovator Award: HeartSounds, Inc.

Winner in: 2009

When they were MBA students at UIC’s Liataud Graduate School of Business, Matthew Norris and Michael McCoy formed a student business plan team that used sound separation technology developed at UIC to develop a plan for a wireless fetal heart sound monitor. UIC has one of the nation’s leading programs in entrepreneurship, so it was no surprise when the team took top places in competition against business plan teams from across the country, winning about $60,000 along the way. They won NASA’s inaugural Earth/Space Life Science Innovation Award.

After graduation they did what entrepreneurs do — they pulled together every cent they could and formed a business they named HeartSounds. Matt and Michael decided the market potential for the fetal sound monitor was not large enough. They revised their patented sound separation technologies to develop easy to use cardiac monitoring devices. They can hear from outside the body — with great precision — the sounds of the heart and of blood moving through it. They can hear its ailments. They believe their innovation can be used to serve millions of patients and save billions in health care costs each year.