Applications are being accepted now through January 20 for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) InVenture Prize. The InVenture Prize is a “shark tank” competition between the 15 colleges and universities in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Undergraduates and recent grads who completed their degrees in the past year are invited to apply by January 20 for Syracuse University’s campus qualifier which will be held virtually on January 29. The winner of the Syracuse University campus qualifier will receive a $5,000 grand prize sponsored by M&T Bank and move on to participate virtually in a PBS televised ACC event in April. The finals feature a $30,000 prize package sponsored by the ACC Academic Consortium.
The 2020 campus winner, Matt Shumer, pivoted his idea for Visos after the ACC finals this past spring were cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, he formed a new team called Otherside AI, working with fellow Whitman student Miles Feldstein and Syracuse alumnus Jason Kuperberg ’18 through the LaunchPad’s accelerator program. Shumer and his teammates went on to raise $2.6 million this fall to launch Otherside AI. Their AI-powered tech platform brings productivity magic to the email inbox, turning simple summaries into beautifully written emails in seconds. The platform enables users to save significant time managing their email correspondence.
VPA School of Design alumni Quinn King ’20 and Alec Gillinder ‘20, co-founders of MedUX. King and Gillinder won the 2019 campus competition and went on to win the $10,000 second place award in the ACC finals for a medical device they developed through Invent@SU. They then worked with the LaunchPad to commercialize their venture, MedUX, a wearable, portable intravenous delivery solution. Since graduating in May 2020, their venture has taken off, secured investment and will soon launch commercially.
The 2018 campus winners, Kayla Simon ’19 and Elizabeth Tarangelo ’19, won for their medical device, In-Spire, a wearable asthma bracelet which they also created in Invent@SU and worked to advance commercially through the LaunchPad. Simon and Tarangelo used the experience to propel innovation career paths. Simon, an aerospace engineering major at Syracuse, launched as a propulsion test engineer at Virgin Orbit and is now and integration engineer at Relativity Space, building the world’s first entirely 3D printed rocket. Tarangelo, a bioengineering and biomedical engineering major with a focus on neuroscience, is now a clinical specialist with Brain Lab which develops advanced software-driven medical technology, and powers treatment in many surgical fields, including neurosurgery.
Kate Beckman ’17 and G ’18 won the 2018 campus ACC InVenture Prize and advanced to the top five finalists in the conference finals at Georgia Tech. She created Fresh U, a national online publication geared toward college freshmen, growing it to a staff of 300 contributing writers on more than 100 campuses, and developing media partnerships with companies like Teen Vogue. Fresh U was acquired after Kate completed her graduate degree at Newhouse, and she is now senior content manager for RippleMatch, an intelligent platform for college recruiting designed to build diverse teams.
The former winners remain active LaunchPad alumni and mentor current Syracuse University student startups.
“I believe that in the modern era, anyone can start a scalable, high-growth company and every metropolitan area should have a thriving startup community,” said M&T Bank Regional President Allen Naples. “By helping Syracuse University host the InVenture Prize Challenge, we’re investing in the exceptional creativity and ingenuity of our students and doubling down on our efforts to build our entrepreneurial community into one that generates jobs and prosperity for generations to come.”