Top 36 Teams Advance in Dempsey Startup Competition

36 student teams will face judges May 1 at the Investment Round of the Dempsey Startup Competition, hosted by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.Thirty-six teams representing the best early-stage student ideas across the region will face judges at the Investment Round of the Dempsey Startup Competition on May 1. The multi-stage event, formerly known as the UW Business Plan Competition, received a record 113 submissions from 16 colleges and universities (also a record high) across the Cascadia Corridor—including Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. More than 200 screening round judges chose the 36 finalists and three alternates (detailed below) after reviewing executive summary submissions.

This marks the 22nd year of the new venture competition hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington. The generous support of alumnus Neal Dempsey, a longtime benefactor and managing general partner of SilNeal Dempseyicon Valley venture capital firm Bay Partners, allowed the Center to open up the competition beyond the borders of Washington state for the first time. Dempsey’s mantra of ‘do something that scares you’ is something he believes “young people should embrace as they can learn from failure and come back stronger.” Each of the teams not chosen to move on will have the opportunity to grow as Dempsey suggests, with the help of significant judge feedback on their submissions.

The finalists will now pitch their ideas in front of hundreds of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, and competition alumni from the region at the Investment Round on Wednesday, May 1. Judges will receive $1,000 in Buerk Center dollars to “invest” in those businesses they believe are credible and potentially scalable. The 16 highest-scoring teams will be announced at the reception following the event and advance to the Sweet 16 on Thursday, May 23. The Final Four round takes place later that same day and is followed by an awards dinner and celebration at Bell Harbor in Seattle.

More than $80,000 in prize money will be awarded to student teams—including the $25,000 grand prize sponsored by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation. “Big Picture Prizes” of $5,000 and “Best Idea Prizes” of $2,500 will also be awarded to teams for their exceptional work in several distinct categories.

In the past 21 years, nearly 5,000 participants and more than 1,500 teams have showcased their ideas. Of that group, 178 teams earned prizes of more than $1.4 million dollars. Many also continued on in the Jones + Foster Accelerator program, which has graduated 55 startups since 2010. Forty-eight of those accelerator graduates are still in business today.

The 2019 field includes a diverse set of teams with students from the University of Washington, Seattle University, Gonzaga University, University of Victoria, and the University of British Columbia. Eight of the teams have students representing the Foster School’s Master of Science in Entrepreneurship in only the second year of the program. Fourteen competitors, including eight prize winners, from the 2019 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge and the 2019 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge will also compete.

Best of luck to the Top 36 teams in the 2019 Dempsey Startup Competition!

2nd Degree Snacks
2nd Degree Snacks wants to revolutionize healthy snacking with a line of snacking fruits and vegetables that are developed for flavor and nutrition first while leading the industry in transparency.

  • Seattle University (MBA)

Access Candy
Access Candy works with individuals from the wheelchair community to create high quality products that are both fashionable and functional to fit the unique lifestyle of wheelchair users.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

Adventure Game Works
Adventure Game Works is an entertainment startup that plans to create, produce, and sell game kits for customized, real-world, live-action puzzle games played by groups of family members, friends, or co-workers.

  • Gonzaga University (Business, Computer Science)  

AeroSpec combines innovate hardware and software to provide real-time monitoring of air quality. An Aerospec device is worn by individual workers and streams the quality of the air they are breathing to a software platform.

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

Alpine Hydro
Alpine Hydro has created an environmentally friendly, cost effective way to generate electricity from mountain streams.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Business, Construction Management, Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management)

Archiviste uses AI to help you search for files no matter where you’ve placed them, across multiple platforms on and off the cloud.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship, Computer Science)

Astrolabe Analytics
Astrolabe Analytics provides a software solution for battery companies and their partners. We enable our clients to efficiently use their battery data to make batteries that work better, longer, and more reliably using a suite of cloud computing, data management, and machine learning techniques

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA, Materials Science)

Atomo Coffee
Atomo Molecular Coffee is the first coffee made without coffee beans. Instead, Atomo uses naturally derived, sustainable ingredients to rebuild coffee from the atom up for the smoothest, most consistent cup of coffee possible.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

Averto is helping people in conflict-zones access vetted, unbiased, and secure information about events in nearby areas. Community-moderated reports provide safety and peace-of-mind to our users.

  • University of Oregon (International Studies, Geography, Theater Arts, and German)

Bright-Mirror is a smart wearable system that leverages data analytics and machine learning algorithms to help parents and behavioral therapists develop personalized treatment and growth plans for children with autism.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Technology Management MBA)

Bottomline is a compensation analytics service that helps professionals understand the true value of their job offers.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA, Computer Science, MS in Computer Science)

Cura AI
Cura is a disruptive machine learning technology that uses image recognition deep learning to analyze healthcare imaging and maximize radiology efficiency.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Business Administration, Mathematics and Computer Science Engineering, Human Centered Design and Engineering)

DemocracyLab is building online infrastructure to empower the civic tech movement, including optimized connections between skilled volunteers and technology-for-good projects.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA)

DopCuff integrates doppler and automatic cuff technology into a single device that aims to better allow nurses to obtain accurate blood pressure readings in Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) patients both in the ICU and eventually in an outpatient setting.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship, Mechanical Engineering)

DuJour is a software platform that helps restaurant achieve greater hiring success through its candidate management tools, text-scraping technologies, integrative API’s, and smart-matching AI technology.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

ElectroSolar Oxygen
We strive to create a portable oxygen generator that can be deployed in rural medical facilities to produce medical-grade oxygen using just sunlight, water and air.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Chemical Engineering)

Elixir connects uninsured populations with healthcare services in their communities, combining in-person outreach workshops with a mobile app.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Biochemistry, Comparative History of Ideas, Computer Science)

HRG Infrastructure Monitoring Inc.
HRG uses its proprietary damage assessment algorithm along with a patent pending drone-based technique to detect and quantify damage in civil structures in a cost-effective way.

  • University of Victoria (Civil Engineering, Communications)

InOrtho is developing the Motus, a device for physical therapists that reduces unnecessary time spent collecting range of motion (ROM) metrics, minimizes associated revenue losses, and expedites the approval process for additional therapy sessions from insurance providers.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Applied Bioengineering)

Kadama is an on-demand platform that allows users to request and provide services such as housework, yardwork, tutoring, and more.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Business Administration, Computer Science)

MTB Labs
MTB Labs is developing sensor technology to help recreational and professional mountain bikers reach their performance goals and increase their speed.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Applied Physics)

The Nanodropper is an affordable, universal eyedropper adaptor that decreases the volume of oversized eyedrops to reduce cost, waste, and side effects, ultimately increasing access to expensive prescription eye medications.

  • University of Washington-Seattle, MAYO (Pharmacology, Bioengineering, Medicine)

NanoPrint creates a strong composite material using recycled waste through a carbon-neutral and zero-waste process.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Business Administration, Bioresource Science and Engineering)

Neu streamlines hotel-style cleaning service for Airbnbs including work done by licensed, insured and background-checked cleaners.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

Novita is a software tool and online marketplace that connects senior patients and their caregivers to professionals and services they need while providing education and a customized list of care action steps.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Occupational Therapy, Health Informatics, PhD Physical Therapy)

Pitch Slap
Pitch Slap – The Game of Terrible Business Ideas is a hilarious party game that puts your entrepreneurial skills to the test. With 200+ original products and services, you’ll soon be well versed in the art of selling the unsellable.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Business Administration, Economics, International Studies, Political Science)

Pulmora is developing a hands-free, autonomous ventilator that can be used by both medical professionals and non-professionals to ventilate patients experiencing respiratory emergencies.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (Applied Bioengineering)

Ruminate Games
Ruminate is a card game that teaches decluttering in a way that is approachable and fun with friends, while reducing the overwhelming nature often associated with it.

  • Presidio Graduate School-Seattle (MBA)

Search Beasts
Search Beasts is the only Do-It-Yourself web-based Digital Marketing, Lead Generation, and Search Engine Optimization tool for small business owners who have no experience in Digital Marketing and SEO.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA)

Second Line
An intimate apparel brand that allows individuals with chronic illnesses, and users of medical technology such as insulin pumps, to wear fashionable designs discreetly and comfortably.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA, Technology Management MBA)

Selenologie works with customers to create customizable dolls that are reliable in terms of quality and shipping, while also providing a unique opportunity for companionship.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

VenuesAPI created software that integrates all aspects of renting out a space into a single dashboard, including everything from multi-channel listings to scheduling to customer communications, and increasing potential revenue through space rental.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MS in Entrepreneurship)

Village is a social network that empowers parents by recommending local connections and events for families.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA)

Wheyward Spirit
At Wheyward Spirit, we make superior tasting “farm-to-flask” spirits from excess whey, with a scalable craft approach.

  • University of Oregon (MBA)

WM Launch Services
WM Launch Services is developing a new type of projectile launcher which will fire payloads into space, eliminating the pollution associated with space launch, and simultaneously saving billions of dollars in launch costs.

  • University of Washington-Seattle (MBA, Aeronautics and Astronautics)

Zense is a suite of passive sensors used to detect safety hazards for those with Alzheimers living at home alone.

  • University of British Columbia (Commerce)

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