Skandalaris Center

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Skandalaris Center Celebrates Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Fall Awards

Cora Pierce
November 16, 2023

It was a night of celebration as the Skandalaris Center presented the Washington University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards on November 16, 2023. After opening remarks, the event included a panel discussion where three WashU alumni entrepreneurs took the stage and shared about their ventures. The evening concluded as the Skandalaris Center awarded $28,000 in non-dilutive funding to early-stage WashU startups.

The alumni entrepreneur panel brought together three founders across different industries, all of whom are previous winners of the Skandalaris Venture Competition — Joe Beggs (EN ’20), Tim Berg (MBA ’22), and Angelica Harris (BU ’21, EN ’21, SI ’22).

Beggs, CEO and Co-Founder of HIVE Medical, took home first place in the Spring 2021 SVC cycle for their smart IV device, which wirelessly, objectively, and continuously records medication adherence data specifically for IV medication. In 2022, HIVE Medical also won the Global Impact Award and was awarded an Arch Grant. Berg, Founder of Ice Cream for Bears, received the top-level of funding in the Spring 2023 SVC cycle after sharing about his venture’s mission to make food wild again, as his ice cream is sweetened only with raw honey. Harris, Founder and CEO of Top Tutors for Us, most recently received our highest funding in the spring of 2023, alongside Berg. Top Tutors for Us helps Black students achieve beyond systematic biases by providing educational services, supported by their network of excellent Black tutors. Harris and Top Tutors for Us was recently announced as a 2023 Arch Grants winner.

The panel was moderated by Cyril Loum, Assistant Director of Venture Development. Through the discussion, the panel shared about their respective paths to get to where they are today. They highlighted the teams, the mentors, the programs, and the support that they have received along the way. “To see them advancing their ideas, scaling and growing their businesses, and winning awards, all while staying connected to WashU and Skandalaris Center truly demonstrates the supportive community we have here,” said Loum. “It’s incredible and inspiring to have a front row seat to watch each of these founders grow and succeed.”

The celebration continued as Giovanni Liotta, Venture Development Manager, recognized all of the finalists in the Skandalaris Venture Competition. Throughout the semester, these teams put their time and efforts into connecting with mentors, honing their pitch, and providing a detailed executive summary with financial projections. Earlier today, the SVC finalists gave their final presentations to a panel of distinguished judges, who evaluated the teams on their problem and solution, value proposition, financial modeling, traction, and more.

Through the generous support from SVC Platinum Sponsor, National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), and additional sponsors Nutrible, BentallGreenOak & the Epstein family, Tigbourne Capital Ltd., Dr. Morin Hanson, and Pryce Yebesi, SVC winners were awarded a combined total of $28,000 to help advance their startups.

Earlier this year, we created a funding structure for this competition that aims to support as many teams as possible. This new structure has allowed the Skandalaris Center to award funding for ventures at various stages in their development.

  • Exploration Funding (up to $2,000): This fund supports startups that the Skandalaris Center believes are on to something and need additional support to move forward. # teams were awarded funding at this level: Beacon Tags, Chick, and OvuMap
  • Proof-of-Concept Funding (up to $5,000): This fund supports companies that are building a minimal viable product (MVP), or have a proof of concept that needs some refinement. # team received this funding: Ascent Labs, Crewmate, and Papertrail
  • Launch Funding (up to $10,000): This fund supports startups that are launched and ready to take those next steps in growth and development. # teams received launch funding: ASL Aspire

“We are so very proud of all of the teams who competed,” exclaimed Liotta. “The competition was hard, so whether you won tonight or did not, we hope to see you all tomorrow. Entrepreneurship is all about keeping the flame going.”

Applications for the next cycle of the Skandalaris Venture Competition will open in early January 2023. All current WashU students and WashU alumni within one year of graduation with an early-stage venture or idea are encouraged to apply.