Finalists Announced for 25th Dempsey Startup Competition

Judges chose 36 teams to advance to the Investment Round of the 25th Dempsey Startup Competition at the University of Washington.The 25th anniversary of the Dempsey Startup Competition is off to an impressive start. Students from 15 different colleges and universities from across the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia competed in the Screening Round. Judges selected 36 student teams and three alternates (detailed below) to advance to the Investment Round on Thursday, May 5. They will compete in a tradeshow-style showcase in front of judges representing the top startups and investment firms, as well as competition alumni from around the region.

The multi-stage event hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington will also feature special presentations and surprise announcements. Since 1998, the competition has empowered nearly 6,000 student founders and more than 1,800 teams to explore how to turn early-stage ideas into fully formed startups.

“We’re committed to celebrating the legacy of this competition while also building on it for generations of students and alumni to come,” said Amy Sallin, director of the Buerk Center. “None of that is possible without 25 years of incredible support from our entrepreneurial ecosystem—from the academic programs at UW and our partners schools to the business community that welcomes and encourages new venture growth.”

In 2019, the generous support of alumnus Neal Dempsey allowed the competition to expand eligibility for student teams in Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia.

The 36 Investment Round teams represent nine colleges and universities including UW-Seattle, UW-Bothell, Seattle Pacific University, Bellevue College, the Global Innovation Exchange (UW-GIX), Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University.

Each advancing team will compete for a share of $90,000 in prizes—including multiple “Big Picture Prizes” of $5,000 and “Best Idea Prizes” of $2,500 in several distinct categories. Over the past 24 years, student teams have earned more than $1.7 million dollars in prizes.

Judges will select 16 teams to compete in the Sweet 16 Round on Thursday, May 26 in the morning. Later that afternoon, the top four teams will face a select panel of judges in the Final Round. An invite-only award ceremony and 25th anniversary celebration will follow that evening at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

The 2022 Investment Round Finalists of the Dempsey Startup Competition

Aquila Outdoor
Aquila Outdoor provides an automated, multi-axis tracking and control system for RV owners to use solar panels more safely and efficiently.

  • Eastern Washington University (Mechanical Engineering)

Believe Sleeve
Believe Sleeve is an educational and therapeutic tool to help people with amputations alleviate phantom limb discomfort.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Applied Bioengineering, Bioengineering)

Bun Bun’s
Bun Bun’s is Washington’s first 100% plant-based drive-thru restaurant and is focused on appealing to an increasingly health-conscious demographic.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain Management)

CathConnect has developed a patent pending device that improves the safety of urinary catheters by allowing the tube to disconnect when pulled, creating a safer environment for patients and reducing the burden on hospital staff.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Mechanical Engineering, Biomechanics)

Château sur Roues
Château sur Roues, French for “Winery on Wheels,” is a mobile wine bar specializing in sustainably sourced, blind wine tastings at convenient locations.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship)

Cledge is democratizing access to personalized college consulting through the world’s first fully automated AI counseling service.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Computer Engineering, Computer Science)

DevMatch is a coding assessment platform that crowdsources real-life challenges and automatically evaluates candidates for software engineer positions.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Master of Science in Information System, Master of Human-Computer Interaction + Design, Business)

Disha Stay Network
Disha Stay Network offers an online booking platform to make it easier for patients and families to find convenient lodging solutions at charity houses during out-of-town care treatment visits.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship)

Eat Together
Eat Together is an app that aims to connect the college student community by creating matches over meals.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Finance, Business)

GroupHang is developing a single platform where friends can co-plan activities together and address coordination challenges in a time-efficient manner.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA)

inSTENT Connection
inSTENT Connection is developing the first naturally absorbing stent for patients undergoing gastrointestinal (GI) tract surgeries that will address leakage and patient outcome in a way that traditional methods cannot.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Materials Science & Engineering, Biochemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering)

Just Right Bite
Just Right Bite is developing an end-to-end pet food system that uses insects as a more sustainable and tolerable protein base.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Communication, Environmental Engineering)

Kadence aims to remove the complexities, pain, and activities associated with scheduling group meetings through the creation of an intelligent calendaring platform.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA, Human Centered Design & Engineering)

Limis provides user-friendly software solutions for the industrial manufacturing industry that alleviate frontline worker frustration and help prevent production stoppage.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship)

meshspace is a gig-economy platform that allows customers to find nearby skilled makers ready to sell their products without having to navigate global supply chain issues.

  • University of Washington-Seattle, Chinese University of Hong Kong (Computer Engineering, Law)

Mezzo offers an end-to-end planning service that utilizes customer schedules and preferences to building convenient recommendations for meetups.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Computer Science, Human Centered Design & Engineering)

Nature Resonance
Nature Resonance seeks to address worker burnout by offering restorative nature retreats that provide equitable education and health outcomes for better work/life balance.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship)

OnDeck Fisheries AI
OnDeck Fisheries AI provides scalable, automated catch monitoring that addresses the issue of declining global fish stocks.

  • Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia (Biophysics, Computer Science, Biology, Physics)

OneCourt aspires to make sports media more accessible for people with visual impairments by translating real-time data into a unique sensory experience.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Industrial Design, MBA, Geography, Data Science)

Origin Straws
Origin Straws is a sustainable alternative to plastic straws made from the literal stem of a wheat plant.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Osto-Mate provides a wound care management system to improve the quality of life for patients who can no longer divert body waste from their intestines after surgery.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Biology, Electrical Engineering, Physiology)

Peko Produce
Peko Produce partners with wholesalers and famers to deliver “imperfect” or surplus fruits and vegetables at a discount to consumers in a space that is largely unexplored in Canadian markets.

  • University of British Columbia, McGill University (Finance, Marketing & Business)

PushStart is developing an innovative mechanical CPR device that can safely and consistently perform life-saving compressions on out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients during conditions where regular CPR would be impossible.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering)

queasy peasy
queasy peasy is developing an active head tilt interface system to address the problem of passengers experiencing motion sickness while riding in vehicles they are commuting in, but not driving.

  • UW-Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) (Technology Innovation)

Reclaim provides an anonymous web browsing experience that uses blockchain technology to eliminate the need for ad blockers while also addressing the loss of revenue content producers and websites face.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Evening MBA, MBA)

Sidestreet is an online marketplace for shoppers to buy local and direct while also providing small businesses with an affordable digital storefront.

  • University of Washington-Bothell (Applied Computing)

Snooze Control
Snooze Control safely and effectively allows individuals with upper limb impairments to adjust their blankets at night using voice controls.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering)

Spyder Grypz
Spyder Grypz is a global sporting goods venture whose rubber grip product increases performance for players and organizations in men’s and women’s hockey and lacrosse.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Entrepreneurship, Finance)

SINEW Mask Project
The “Surface Ionization Noncontact Extended Wear” or SINEW Mask Project provides the protection of an N-95 without touching the user’s face or causing breathing discomfort, moisture issues, or facial bruising—while also making it possible for hearing-disabled individuals to read lips.

  • University of Washington-Seattle, UW-Bothell (Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Ultropia is developing an all-in-one washer and dryer so people with limited infrastructure can gain access to safe, efficient, and sustainable laundry service.

  • University of Washington-Seattle, Eastern Washington University (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Electrical Engineering)

Uplift is an influencer-based workout application that provides users with an all-in-one experience for achieving their workout goals.

  • University of Washington-Seattle, UW-Bothell, Bellevue College (Informatics, Computer Science and Software Engineering, Computer Science)

Virescence is a women-run medicinal cannabis education company creating high-end learning experiences for ‘canna-curious’ women.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Informatics)

Vita Beads
Vita Beads utilizes cell-embedded technology to increase wastewater treatment efficiency by reducing the output of “sludge” and lowering operation costs.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Environmental Engineering)

Volare offers a career coaching and work visa consultation service for international students trying to navigate the American job market.

  • Seattle Pacific University, California State University-Fullerton, Cal State-Long Beach (Economics, Finance, Business)

XpressiveTech provides an all-in-one solution for assessing high-impact chronic pain using a novel measurement device and mobile application.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA)

Zephyr Sleep
Zephyr Sleep has designed a programmable mattress that allows mobility impaired patients to adjust without assistance from caregivers.

  • Washington State University (Mechanical Engineering)

2022 Dempsey Startup Competition Investment Round – Alternate Teams

GardenPro is a community and educational platform centered around advanced gardening at home that also offers affordable and biodegradable hydroponics kits for city dwellers.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Electrical and Computer Engineering, MBA)

2022 Dempsey Startup Competition Investment Round Withdrawals

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the following finalist teams advanced in the competition to the Top-36 but had to withdraw before the tradeshow-style event taking place on Thursday, May 5.

AWDANS uses smart sensors as part of an energy-efficient advanced wildfire detection and notification system to alert authorities at the onset of a wildfire.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA, Hybrid MBA)

Beam Commerce
Beam Commerce is developing a suite of apps that are compatible with all eCommerce platforms as well as providing a standalone platform option.

  • University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Waterloo (Computational Mathematics, Business Administration, Mechatronics Engineering, Physiology, Medicine)