2024 Dempsey Startup Competition Sweet 16

A record field of student-created ventures is down to just 16 teams in the 2024 Dempsey Startup Competition at the Univ. of Washington.A record field of student-created ventures is down to just 16 teams in the biggest year yet for the Dempsey Startup Competition. Judges chose the advancing teams and two alternates (detailed below) following a trade show styled showcase in Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall. Those teams will now take part in the Sweet 16 Round on the morning of Thursday, May 23 and deliver a live pitch presentation and Q&A to judges in a mock boardroom setting. To get to the next stage, the Sweet 16 had to impress nearly 300 judges in the Investment Round of the multi-stage competition hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington.

The Investment Round featured 37 teams chosen from a record pool of 136 Screening Round ventures. Those students represented 21 different colleges across the Cascadia Corridor—including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.

This year marked the 27th anniversary of the Dempsey Startup—formerly known as the UW Business Plan Competition. The 37 Investment Round teams were competing not just to advance, but for the opportunity to win one of nearly a dozen Big Picture and Best Idea Prizes. A total of $87,500 in prize money will be given to teams at a special awards ceremony following the Sweet 16 Round the morning of Thursday, May 23, and the Final Round (Top 4) that afternoon.

Four teams are chosen to advance and participate in a live pitch and Q&A in front of a select group of judges, as well as an audience of students, staff, faculty, and the public in attendance. The dinner and awards celebration that evening will feature not just team awards, but the third annual presentation of the Buerk Center’s Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Over the last 27 years of the Dempsey Startup (including this year), more than 6,500 students on 2,300+ teams have competed. In the past 26 competitions, 231 teams have earned funding totaling just under $2 million dollars. Overall, the Buerk Center has awarded just shy of $4.8 million dollars to students since 1998 through multiple competitions and the Jones + Foster Accelerator.

The Buerk Center would like to thank the 29 sponsors who supported the Dempsey Startup this year as well as UW alum Neal Dempsey. Beginning in 2019, his generous support allowed the competition to expand eligibility for student teams in Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia, stimulating more student-created startups than ever before.

Congratulations to the 2024 Sweet 16 of the Dempsey Startup Competition.

The 2024 Dempsey Startup Sweet 16 Round Teams

Alzi is developing an AI-driven platform designed to reduce the burden placed on caregivers of early-stage Alzheimer’s patients and help patients assess their memory and track their answers over time with a wearable or screen device.

  • Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) (Technology Innovation in Robotics, M.S. in Technology Innovation)

BioLegacy aims to extend donor organ viability from 24 hours to years by utilizing patent-pending organ cryopreservation and electromagnetic rewarming technologies, while working with clinical partners to save more lives.

  • Seattle University (Mechanical Engineering, Finance and Accounting, Chemistry), University of Washington (Mechanical Engineering)

Cactus Kefir
Cactus Kefir is a good-for-your-gut, raw, water kefir beverage meant to be a non-alcoholic drink alternative, while providing functional probiotic benefits with a unique flavor.

  • University of Washington (Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Marketing and Entrepreneurship)

CivicImpact.ai’s RFPGo, a GenAI-powered tool, aims to transform the documents cities use in the public procurement process to create a virtuous flywheel that creates more business opportunities, increases market competition, and improves the quality of goods and services delivered to all citizens.

  • University of Washington (Executive MBA)

CLARA developed an app-based software solution to make hospital campuses safer and smarter by getting the right people, with the right tools, to the right place at the right time.

  • University of Washington (Executive MBA)

Greener Pastures
Greener Pastures has developed a regenerative agricultural solution that aims to revolutionize the way seeds are planted for optimal growth, while allowing farmers to increase crop yields and decrease inputs.

  • University of Washington (Technology Management MBA, Biology)

Happy Pop
Happy Pop offers guilt-free snacking with delicious Indian-inspired snacks, all handmade from wholesome and non-GMO ingredients.

  • University of Washington (Computer Science, Business Information Systems)

HomeSavvy created a comprehensive scoring and report system for homes that makes it easier for users to deep-dive into important information including, but not limited to, liens, encroachments, permitting history, and legal property type.

  • Seattle University (MBA, Computer Science)

Joy Bucket
Joy Bucket created an affordable, clinical grade wearable health technology for safe and healthy pregnancies with the goal of empowering pregnant mothers against rising maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States.

  • University of Washington (MBA, M.S. in Computer Science)

Luminovah developed an innovative non-invasive healthcare technology that uses advanced spectroscopy to provide accurate and comfortable diagnostics.

  • University of Washington (M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering)

MoleView designed a camera-equipped tool to make early skin cancer detection more accessible, accurate, cost-effective, and user-friendly.

  • University of Washington (Computer Science, M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Informatics, Microbiology)

MoodRoom is a virtual, mental health and dialectical behavior therapy toolkit for managing mood and mental disorders, negative thought patterns, suicidal ideation, self-harm, and substance abuse.

  • University of Washington (Political Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Visual Communication Design), Seattle University (M.S. in Finance), University of California-San Diego (Computer Science), New York University (Computer Science)

Nimble Surgical
Nimble Surgical is building the next generation of cardiovascular catheters to simplify complex interventional procedures to shorten procedure time, reduce patient complications, and increase procedural efficiency.

  • University of Washington (M.S. in Mechanical Engineering)

Revyn Medical Technologies
Revyn Medical Technologies is a medical device design and development company on a mission to raise the level of gynecological care through the use of its novel vaginal speculum redesign that improves device effectiveness and practitioner usability while prioritizing patient comfort.

  • University of Victoria (British Columbia) (Biomedical Engineering, Engineering and Computer Science)

Sakura MedTech
Sakura MedTech offers a breakthrough patient-centric imaging device for cervical cancer screening to improve the patient experience and gynecological efficiency.

  • University of Washington (Computer Engineering), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Bioengineering)

SecondSite offers total job-site reality capture and AI analysis for construction risk management so mistakes can be caught as they happen.

  • Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) (M.S. in Technology Innovation)

2024 Dempsey Startup Competition Sweet 16 Round – Alternate Teams

Violet is a dating app that not only connects students, but also partners with local restaurants to curate quality dates for users.

  • University of Washington Bothell (Business Administration Management, Business Administration Finance), University of Puget Sound (History, Computer Science), University of Washington (Business, Finance)

Advanced to Sweet 16 but Withdrew

Endozene is developing a non-invasive, low cost, accessible diagnostic kit that accurately predicts whether a user has endometriosis through detection of biomarkers in menstrual blood.

  • University of Washington (M.S. in Applied Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering)