Applications Open for 2021 ACC InVenture Prize Competition

Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at SU Libraries (LaunchPad) is currently accepting applications through January 20 for the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) InVenture Prize. The ACC InVenture Prize is a televised “shark tank” competition open to student startup teams from the 15 colleges and universities in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Academic Consortium. Teams are invited to submit an online application of a venture idea to participate in Syracuse University’s campus qualifier, which will be held virtually on January 29.  The SU campus qualifier winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize sponsored by M&T Bank and move on to participate virtually in a PBS-televised event in April.  The ACC InVenture finals feature a $30,000 prize package and is open to undergraduate students or students who have received their undergraduate degree within the past year and who are the original creators, inventors, or owners of the intellectual property underlying their invention.

The 2020 SU campus qualifier winner, Matt Shumer, pivoted his idea for Visos after the ACC finals 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. 

VPA School of Design alumni Quinn King ’20 and Alec Gillinder ‘20, co-founders of MedUX, won the 2019 campus qualifier competition and the $10,000 second place award in the ACC finals. They developed a medical device through Invent@SU then worked with the LaunchPad to commercialize their venture. Since graduating in May 2020, their wearable, portable intravenous delivery solution venture has taken off and will soon launch commercially. 

The 2018 campus qualifier winners, Kayla Simon ’19 and Elizabeth Tarangelo ’19, developed In-Spire, a wearable asthma bracelet which they created through Invent@SU and advanced commercially through the LaunchPad.  Simon and Tarangelo used the experience to propel their innovation career paths.  Simon, an aerospace engineering major at Syracuse, is now an 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.

Kate Beckman ’17 and G ’18 won the 2018 campus 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 across 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. She is now senior content manager for RippleMatch, an intelligent platform for college recruiting.

All former InVenture 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.”


Syracuse University Team Captures Second Place at Prestigious ACC InVenture Prize Competition

Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad participants Quinn King and Alec Gillinder won second place at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) InVenture Prize Competition held April 16 – 18 at North Carolina State, Raleigh. King (VPA, ‘20) and Gillinder (VPA, ‘20) competed in a head-to-head, “Shark-Tank” style battle for “top inventor” in the ACC conference. As second place winners, they received a $10,000 prize. The final round of the competition was televised and broadcast by a number of Public Broadcasting stations across the Northeast region.

Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad team who competed in ACC InVenture Prize Competition. Quinn King (VPA, ‘20) and Alec Gillinder (VPA, ‘20) College of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Design students received second place and a $10,000 prize.

The two VPA School of Design students’ team, MedUX, created a wearable product that is a portable solution to traditional intravenous (IV) medical treatments. It allows patients to abandon the traditional IV pole for a more portable solution.  Their invention, L-IV, which they’ve dubbed a “liberating intravenous” product, uses both gravity-fed and pressure infusion methods to allow infusion patients to remain mobile and active while receiving treatment.

Developed at Invent@SU, a collaboration between the College of Engineering & Computer Science (ECS) and the College of Visual & Performing Arts (VPA), the product is being refined and commercialized with assistance from the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries.  The team has filed two provisional patents and is now filing a non-provisional patent to fully protect their invention, while they work with a team of expert industry advisors and strategic partners to bring their product to market.

The MedUX students built a team of professional regional advisors that included: Kathi Durdon, executive director, CNY Biotech Accelerator, SUNY Upstate Medical University; Winthrop (Win) Thurlow, executive director, MedTech Association; Kathryn Ruscitto, consultant and retired President and CEO, St, Joseph’s Health; Chris Horacek, principal, ICIP Consulting, LLC and former vice president and deputy general counsel, Welch Allyn; Cynthia Dowd Greene, retired executive, Quadrant Biosciences; and Dr. Robert A. Dracker, founder of Infusacare.

The team was also closely mentored by Blackstone LaunchPad executive director Linda Dickerson Hartsock and by ECS and VPA faculty, as well as Syracuse University innovation partners including:  SU alumnus Gianfranco Zaccai, co-founder, president and chief design officer at EPAM Continuum; LaunchPad Syracuse Entrepreneurs in Residence Dennis Taussig, CEO of Taussig + Associates, and Tom Nerviano, managing partner of Smart Vines Consulting and former HR Director of Unilever. The Blackstone LaunchPad coordinated the campus qualifier and also mentored and coached the teams that competed for the coveted title of top ACC inventor.  The Syracuse campus competition is supported by the Syracuse University Provost’s Office.

“The entire Syracuse University campus is proud of the MedUx’ team. This is an exceptional example of how Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad is partnering across campus to create innovative solutions through collaborative opportunities,” said David Seaman, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian.

The ACC InVenture Prize Competition is a collaborative effort by institutional leadership from the ACC and represents an opportunity to stimulate undergraduate entrepreneurial activity and increase student-faculty engagement, celebrate and highlight the exceptional creativity and ingenuity of students, and inspire a greater sense of camaraderie across the conference. Teams representing each ACC university were given the opportunity to pitch their inventions or businesses before a live audience and panel of judges and competing for $30,000 in prizes and a chance to be the next winner. Fifteen university teams pitched during the preliminary round on April 16th, and five finalists were chosen to advance to the final round on April 17th. King and Gillinder were selected to participate in a final round against DeLive (Notre Dame), Ethos Medical (Georgia Tech), InnoHealth Diagnostics (FSU), and MIST (UVA).

In the four-year old competition, this is the second time a Syracuse University team has made it to the final five ACC InVenture Prize Competition. Kate Beckman ’17, G’18 (Newhouse), founder of FreshU, made it to the final five in 2017.

About the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries:

The Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and alumni across disciplines who are interested in venture creation and taking ideas for products, services or technologies from concept to commercialization. The program prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.