UC Irvine Startup Tackles Excessive Sugar Intake with Programmable Coffee Cup Lid

UCI startup Sweetbud has been chosen as a contender in the Student Startup Madness (SSM) tournament to be held in Austin, Texas by South by Southwest (SXSW) in March.

According to their website, Sweetbud is “a lid that will make your coffee sweet without the sugar.” Meant to help lower sugar intake, the lid uses “non-invasive electrical currents and pure silver,” as well as a phone-operated application to adjust sweetness levels emitted from the lid.

The lid is waterproof and rechargeable and fits onto most commercial coffee cups. Their website claims that Sweetbud “is essentially the first of its kind,” using augmented taste reality in a consumer product.

As part of the Field of 64, Sweetbud was chosen from over 200 applicants from 60 different universities across the nation.

SSM is a competition geared towards highlighting and supporting college digital media startups that are creating innovative products and services. Participating in the competition gives students the opportunity to compete against other students as well as make connections with potential investors and successful startup entrepreneurs.

In a statement released by the organization, Sean Branagan, creator of SSM, stated that he believed the 64 nominated startups “are the best college digital media startups in the country… [that] come from college campuses everywhere across the country, not just the usual tech hubs.”

Branagan also noted how the innovative startups have been created to improve life, art and work.

“This year, we saw highly technical college startups who are creating amazing new technologies, such as a haptics ‘augmented taste’ device, new visualization tools for architects and city planners, and a karaoke system for musicians. We saw new student ventures using digital technologies for helping kids learn tech skills, assisting teen mothers in school and life, and providing online services for people with disabilities,” he said.

If Sweetbud passes the first two rounds of competition — both held online — they will be able to present their idea on stage in Texas at SXSW Interactive for a panel of startup judges, one of eight student groups (dubbed the Entrepreneurial Eight) who will be able to work with the panelists (well-known investors and entrepreneurs) to further improve their ideas and business models.