Student entrepreneurs chosen for top worldwide competition

By Sue McMurray, Carson College of Business

triboTEX-logoPULLMAN, Wash. – A student company at Washington State University will compete April 16-18 in the world’s richest and largest graduate student startup contest for more than $1 million in cash and prizes.

Family, friends, students, faculty and alumni can vote now for TriboTEX to win the competition’s $5,000 People’s Choice Award at Votes must be cast by 11 a.m. Pacific time on Saturday, April 18.

TriboTEX partners Qassem Naim, left, Pavlo Rudenko, Matt Hanley and Thomas Gualtieri.

TriboTEX, a clean-tech startup comprised of four WSUgraduate students, has been selected to compete against 42 teams at the Rice University Business Plan Competition in Houston, Texas. The event gives collegiate entrepreneurs real-world experience in fine tuning their business plans and elevator pitches to generate funding to successfully commercialize their products.

TriboTEX is the brainchild of Pavlo Rudenko, a recent WSU graduate in materials science and engineering who started the company in 2012 to commercialize clean super-lubricants. He and teammates Thomas Gualtieri (engineering), Matt Hanley (business administration) and Qassem Naim (business administration) developed DuoLife(™), a “smart” nanostructured coating that combats friction and wear on mechanical components.

“Any moving part can benefit from our technology,” Rudenko said.

DuoLife(™) is specifically manufactured for large machines with steel gears and bearings, such as windmill gear boxes. The gear boxes notoriously wear out quickly, and to replace or repair them is extremely expensive and difficult. The lubricant delays the need for repair or replacement and is expected to be widely adopted by the energy industry.

The team is coached by Andrew Perkins, associate professor of marketing in the WSU Carson College of Business. Visit to learn more about TriboTEX or watch a video at


Andrew Perkins, WSU Carson College of Business, 509-335-0940,
Sue McMurray, WSU Carson College of Business communications, 509-335-7578,