University of Tartu team got second place at the NGAL® finals in Nebraska

The University of Tartu team ResDec received a second place at the pitching competition of the international business development programme Network Globally, Act Locally (NGAL®) and award of $ 2,500.

ResDec, previously known as rEstFinder, wants to identify antibiotic resistance more quickly and cost-effectively and provide case-specific solutions for customers. "The victory came as a positive surprise," say founding members, doctoral students Taavi Vanaveski (neuroscience) and Mikk Puustusmaa (genetic engineering). Taavi adds: "Our ambition to root out antibiotic resistance is a serious issue in the US healthcare."

The first price and 3000 US dollars was received by Timey from Tallinn University of Technology. Timey develops smart food "best before" indicators. The 3rd place and $1,000 went to team Parkway, Nebraska Wesleyan University, which plans to create a sharing economy based parking application.

The programme was attended by 8 teams from five universities. Teams met in Tartu to get to know each other, share feedback on each other's ideas, participate in workshops, get new contacts and guidance from the mentors from IdeaLab network. In Tallinn, they attended the reception at the US Embassy, visited the TTÜ Mektory and participated in the Smart Industry Hackathon. In the United States teams got to work hard on developing their ideas and presenting them. They visited successful companies and held many interesting meetings with representatives of the local business community, including alumni from the NGAL® programme. With the help of mentor feedback, 8 teams developed their business idea, polished their presentation skills and pitched to the international jury at the end of the programme. Among the members of the jury was also Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, Deputy Chief of Mission at Washington Embassy of Estonia. Chris Beutler, Mayor of Lincoln, came to say opening words.

Four teams from 2 Estonian universities participated in the programme. In addition to the second place winner ResDec, UT IdeaLab STARTER programme best team HankSays (formerly CarZam) was also pitching in Nebraska. The members of HankSays - Andres Kiik and Abdulateef Alli are both from the UT Institute of Computer Science. HankSays is creating a device that connects to the car's engine and monitors in real-time vehicle sounds and vibes with microphones and sensors. Tallinn University of Technology was represented by Laava Tech that has developed a system of artificial lighting for greenhouse decreasing energy consumption, and Timey, the team that won the first place.

Mikk Puustusmaa, the ResDec team member, is grateful to NGAL® organisers and says: "The information, experience, and advice from mentors obtained during the programme is invaluable". He encourages everyone to participate in this programme because "you can network and get lifetime experience."

According to Maret Ahonen, Manager of the UT Idea Lab, this is an exceptional programme, which is not only an intensive business development programme but also an inter-university cross-cultural cooperation and the programme for developing Estonian-U.S. relations. Each year there is an almost equal amount of people who participate and who help to organise this programme. This makes it such a success. "We were privileged to experience the hospitality of the Nebraska Wesleyan University and warm welcome at the home of the NWU President Fred Ohlsen, where Mr. Harry Huge greeted all participants.“

The NGAL®  programme is supported by the Estonian Honorary Consul in the State of South Carolina and Honorary Member of the University of Tartu, Harry Huge and his wife, Reba Huge. They also came to support student business ideas presentations with their foundation core team.

The NGAL® programme was born in collaboration with 5 universities and took place for the fourth time. Collaboration partners include the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and three US universities: College of Charleston, The Citadel - South Carolina Military College and Nebraska Wesleyan University. At the University of Tartu, IdeaLab is the leader of the programme. The project is supported by the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation.


Additional information: Maret Ahonen, UT IdeaLab Manger, +372 522 5910,

Mari-Liis Pintson
Press Officer
Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5866 8677