On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the Skandalaris Center hosted the final presentations for the first-ever Skandalaris Venture Competition (SVC). Forty Washington University students entered the SVC and received expert mentorship and advice to support their efforts to launch. Ten finalists were evaluated by nearly fifty judges, including international reviewers from the WashU alumni community, during the SVC process.
SpectraServe took home the top prize of $10,000 cash and $1,000 in Lyft ride credits. Their venture applies the power of hyperspectral imaging technology to improve hospital economics and reduce patient suffering by increasing the reliability and speed of tumor margin assessment.
The second place winner, Illumino, received $5,000 for their company that features a flexible, low-profile lighting option that provides more illumination for the surgical field compared to current light sources. Cassie Davis (SI ’19) and her team have refined their venture concept through The Hatchery, SlingHealth, and many Skandalaris events like IdeaBounce®.
HUM Industrial Technology rounded out the winning teams, receiving $2,500 for placing third in the competition. Founded by Byron Porter (GM ’20), HUM Industrial Technology deploys sensors in an industrial company’s rail yard to improve safety and efficiency of rail operations.
“Recognizing the SVC winners at our annual Skandy Awards event brought new energy to our innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said II Luscri, Managing Director of the Skandalaris Center and Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at WashU. “Seeing WashU students at the very beginning of their entrepreneurial journeys juxtaposed with those we were honoring with Skandy Awards truly highlighted the innovation continuum.”
The Skandalaris Venture Competition would not be possible without the generous support of Skandalaris National Council member Kishore Kanakamedala and Lyft. “Lyft was founded on improving people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, so the inclination to think big is built into our DNA. It’s a core value we’re so thankful that WashU’s Skandalaris Center shares,” said Joe Schlichter, St. Louis market manager for Lyft. “We were so thrilled to be a part of this entrepreneurial competition with the Skandalaris Center to provide the winning venture team with ride credits.”
The SVC replaced the SC Cup and was designed to bring more students from across the university into the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The new competition was well received by the University community with a near tripling of the participants from 2018.