openminds showcase 2021


The OPENminds Showcase and Reception features VentureWell E-Teams, early-stage student innovator teams who are developing inventions that will change the world.

During OPENminds 2021, ten E-Teams demonstrated their ground-breaking innovations and practiced their pitches for our audience. Attendees had the opportunity to visit individual teams across six rounds to hear their pitch and ask questions about their invention.

After the pitch sessions, the audience had the opportunity to “invest” $3M in Venture Bucks in the teams and innovations they liked best. Teams receiving the most “investment” from the crowd won real cash prizes to help bring their innovation to market.

Here’s a look at this year’s winning teams!

Live Our Values Prize $1000
Advanced Growing Resources, University of Rochester

Sustainability Prize $2500 and Best Video Prize $500
The New Norm, Johns Hopkins University

Audience Choice Awards

First Place $2000
AI-Ris, Texas A&M University
$85,150,000 investment

Second Place $1000
EDGE Sound Research, University of California Riverside
$76,450,000 investment

Third Place $500
The New Norm, John Hopkins University
$38,700,000 investment

Cheers to each of our winning teams and to ALL of the OPENminds teams, who displayed amazing poise and engagement through six rounds of pitching!

Meet our 2021 OPENMinds teams!

View the videos and learn more about each team.

Advanced Growing Resources
University of Rochester

The solutions commercial growers employ to detect and contain plant infections can require large investments of time and expertise and potentially harmful chemicals. Advanced Growing Resources has developed the AgCorder, a system that uses optical scanning and data aggregation to enable growers to evaluate and optimize plant health, reducing the use of potentially harmful chemicals and saving money and time.

Texas A&M University

Diabetes-induced vision loss affects 11.4 million Americans and is exacerbated in rural areas and underserved communities where rates of diabetes are higher and access to medical care is limited. To address this problem, AI-Ris developed a portable, low-cost system that uses artificial intelligence to screen for and diagnose diabetic eye disease outside of clinical settings.

Georgia State University

Currently available forms of feminine protection need improvement in comfort, performance, health concerns, and freedom to engage in physical activities. DelivHer FemCare has designed a comfortable, disposable menstrual cup that is worn internally and allows for greater freedom during physical and sexual activities while menstruating.

Edge Sound Research
University of California Riverside

EDGE Sound Research is developing hand-held devices that translate sound into vibrations in order to improve communication between teachers and students who are hard-of-hearing or have developmental disabilities or autism.

Hubly Surgical
Northwestern University

Half of the 20,000 intracranial access procedures performed outside of the operating room annually in the US result in failure, and the manual hand crank technology has remained largely unchanged since the 1400s. Hubly is making this process more modern and safer by developing an integrated medical drill system for common neurosurgery procedures that combines multiple neurosurgical tools and integrates a guidance mechanism enabling the procedures to be done at the bedside and reducing reliance on operating rooms.

University of Central Florida

Hydronomy is developing a solar-powered device that generates water from air for use in homes; it is adaptable to existing household infrastructure and produces no carbon emissions.

Land Maverick
University of Connecticut

Property managers for golf courses need to balance material and operating costs of improving the growing conditions of their landscapes with the need to reduce harmful environmental effects. Land Maverick has developed a system for golf courses to automatically measure and analyze environmental data collected on site in order to manage fungicide and fertilizer application and minimize damaging runoff to adjacent ecosystems.

Renoster Systems
Northwestern University

Renoster Systems produces smart listening devices to detect gunshot noises in the savanna. Their technology sends an alert and location to ranger stations, helping ranger units respond to poaching in a more timely and effective manner.

The New Norm
Johns Hopkins University

The 7.4 billion red Solo-brand plastic cups used annually are not typically accepted into recycling streams. The New Norm has developed a wearable fabric made from recycled red Solo-brand plastic cups, reducing the volume of trash.

Tulane University

TrachTech is developing a device that uses a unique design to clean the interior of intubation tubes, maintaining airflow from ventilators and reducing the risk of serious infection.

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