The most diverse field in Dempsey Startup Competition history is down to just 16 teams following an exciting all-virtual Investment Round. Thirty teams showcased their ideas in virtual meeting rooms after advancing from a pool of 100 teams representing 23 different colleges across the Cascadia Corridor and Pacific Northwest. More than 225 judges selected the Sweet 16 (detailed below) to move forward in the competition hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington.
Each of the 30 teams who competed in the Investment Round were eligible for a slice of the $90,000 prize pool—the largest in the 24-year history of the competition. Judges decided the winners of each of the 11 Big Picture ($5k) and Best Idea Prizes ($2.5k) during this stage of the competition. The Sweet 16 teams will compete on Wednesday, May 26 in hopes of making it to the Final Round (Top 4) the next day and earning one of the four top prizes. The awards will be presented in a video presentation on the Buerk Center’s YouTube Page on Friday, May 28 at Noon PT.
Since 1998, the competition has had 5,756 student participants on 1,852 teams. Of that group, 207 teams have been awarded undiluted seed funding. Overall, the Buerk Center has awarded more than $3.7 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, whose gift helped the Buerk Center expand the competition into British Columbia and Alaska.
Congratulations to the Sweet 16 in the all-virtual 2021 Dempsey Startup Competition:
Afterlife Listing is bringing the cemetery industry into the 21st century with the first online marketplace for burial plot transactions, verification, and financing.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Biochemistry, Communications, Informatics)
Ananta is developing a bioreactor that can rapidly expand T-cells for use in cancer immunotherapy with the goal of disrupting the cell-based therapy market.
- Washington State University (Chemical Engineering)
Anderson Biohybrid Systems
Anderson Biohybrid Systems is developing chemical sensors inspired by systems found in nature to allow first responders to better detect toxic gases, chemical weapon, and explosive discharges in the event of a disaster.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Bandit Labs is using artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to develop analytical tools to help e-commerce businesses better understand the customer experience.
- University of British Columbia (Materials Science and Engineering, Computer Science, Political Science)
Castofly is developing a cloud-based educational technology platform to seamlessly create, share, and collaborate on video content while reducing the need to use multiple software programs.
- University of British Columbia (MBA)
Crimson Medical Solutions
Crimson Medical Solutions is a health tech company developing a tool for nurses to reduce medication errors through streamlined IV-line organization.
- Washington State University (Bioengineering, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Communication)
GreenLoop is developing a biodegradable plastic that naturally degrades into an organic fertilizer.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Marketing and Finance, Business Administration, Physiology, Biochemistry)
HealthXpress is developing refurbished mobile clinics to solve the problem of health inequality in underdeveloped countries.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship)
LifeAt is an online marketplace for both students and universities that uses a next-generation virtual tour experience.
- University of Washington-Seattle, University of Portland (Human-Centered Design and Engineering, Computer Science)
Puget Buoy is a green technology startup developing experimental fishing gear designed to prevent whale entanglements and reduce lost fishing gear for the improved health and sustainability of the seafood industry.
- Olympic College, University of Washington-Seattle (Business)
SongChain is developing a marketplace and forum for independent musicians to use emerging NFT (non-fungible token) technology to retain greater creative control and ownership of their music.
- University of Washington-Seattle, Dartmouth College (Business, Economics, Accounting and Finance, International Studies)
Sound Sustainability is creating one of the first FDA cleared over-the-counter hearing aids and virtual hearing tests with a goal of improving the hearing health of the world.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, MBA)
Takeoff is a social food delivery platform that empowers college students to leverage their social network for free and convenient food delivery.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Business, Economics and Design, Informatics, Computer Science)
VerbalEyes is developing an AI-powered technology that creates greater accessibility for people with visual impairments to access and understand videos.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Human Centered Design and Engineering, Computer Science)
VoxCell BioInnovation is developing a high-resolution bioprinter capable of creating human tissue models with the correct arrangement of blood vessels in an organ or part.
- University of Victoria (Applied Science, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering)
Wave Motion Launch Corporation
Wave Motion Launch seeks to increase access to space by decreasing the cost of launching satellites and maintenance tools into orbit by over 90% using a patented new launch technology called the jet-gun.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Business, Plasma Physics and Nuclear Fusion Energy, Compressible Fluid Dynamics)
Dempsey Startup Sweet 16 Round Alternate Teams
Clarity Core has developed an all-natural solid aromatherapy product that helps users stay calm and discover increased focus during busy days.
- University of Washington-Seattle, UW-Bothell (Business, Computer Science, Psychology)
Community Collaboratory is developing a website and app that makes it easy for adults to offer and receive safe and flexible social support.
- University of Washington-Seattle (Nursing Practice, Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education)