Celebration was in the air as the Skandalaris Center presented the Washington University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards on November 16, 2022. WashU alumnus, Blake Marggraff (LA ’15), was awarded the Alumni Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award to recognize his entrepreneurial success and the commitment he continues to make to the WashU and St. Louis communities. The evening also included the Skandalaris Center awarding $25,000 in non-dilutive funding to early-stage WashU ventures.
Marggraff graduated from WashU in 2015, and is the CEO and Co-Founder of CareSignal, a deviceless remote patient monitoring platform that reduces hospitalizations and improves care for patients with chronic conditions. CareSignal partners with health plans, self-funded employers, health systems, and physician groups across the country. Blake previously grew nationally recognized technology company Betabox Labs to cash flow positive while attending Washington University in St. Louis. Blake is the Intel ISEF winner of 2011, St. Louis 30 Under 30, and HIMSS19 Champions of Health for evidence in digital health. According to II Luscri, Managing Director of the Skandalaris Center and Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at WashU, “Blake is a great example of the successes that our students experience both at WashU and beyond. We truly value his continued connection to the Skandalaris Center and are proud to present him this award tonight.”
When asked about the importance of culture when he began the company Marggraff responded, “Culture is mega-important early, but just becomes more and more important as your company grows.” He had additional advice for young entrepreneurs stating, “everyone should lean into being humble because you will be humbled more and more over time.”
The excitement continued with the announcement of the winners of the Skandalaris Venture Competition (SVC). After many weeks of working with the Skandalaris Center and mentors from the entrepreneurial community, the SVC finalists gave their final presentations to a panel of distinguished judges, who evaluated each team on their startup’s idea, target customers, value proposition, industry trends, minimally viable product of service, financial modeling, traction, team, and overall presentation.
Through the generous support from Skandalaris Center National Council member, Kishore Kanakamedala, four winners were awarded a combined total $25,000 to help fund their startup businesses.
First Place and $10,000 was awarded to Sobriety Hub, which provides operations management software and systems for sober living homes. Clayton Canfield (BU ’23), Joseph Lanfersieck (EN ’24)
Second place and $7,500 was awarded to Tutors for Us, which connects Black high school students to Black college students from Top 20 schools who provide college counseling, interview preparation, ACT, SAT, and AP tutoring. Angelica Harris (BU ’21, SI ’22), Brianna Chandler (LA ’23), Artorius Zhang (EN ’24)
ChiChi received third place and $5,000. ChiChi is an ultra-healthy breakfast food made from chickpeas, instead of oats. Chiara Munzi (LA ’23), Isabelle Gorton (LA ’25), Yemane Kidane (LA ’23)
Fourth place and $2,500 was awarded to MiDoc, an at-home medical device that allows physicians to remotely conduct heart and lung physical exams during telemedicine. Linda Wu (GB ’22), Katie Thai (EN ’23, SI ’24), Lili Hostetler (GB ’23, SI ’24), Hanyang Liu (PhD Candidate), Arthur Zhou (GB ’22), Alec Fields (EN ’22, SI ’22)
“We are so proud of all the teams who participated. We hope to continue to increase and grow entrepreneurship here at WashU. ” said Cyril Loum, Assistant Director of Venture Development. “If you have a venture or new idea, reach out to us and meet our team, so we can help you succeed,” he stated.
To provide even more support to these startup teams, the Skandalaris Center committed $75,000 in internship funding to be utilized across the 11 finalists in summer of 2023.
Applications for the Spring 2023 Skandalaris Venture Competition will open on January 2. All current WashU students and all WashU alumni within one year of graduation with an early-stage venture or idea are encouraged to apply.