The results are in: READI Consulting from Georgia State University, EASEEbot from New York University, and Acorn Genetics from Northwestern University were all winners at the 2023 OPENminds Innovator Showcase, taking home prizes totaling $8,000!
Every year our OPEN conference concludes with this signature event celebrating the work of VentureWell E-Team Program grantees. Each student team presents their innovation and practices their pitch with hundreds of OPEN attendees from across the U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, who then “invest” up to $3 million “Venture Bucks” in the team whose invention they find most promising. “This year, our programming was focused on the theme ‘Storytelling for Impact.’ Students learned to articulate their story—and the impact—of their innovation for different audiences,” explained VentureWell Program Officer Sarah Wharmby. “It’s truly a unique event.”
READI Consulting from Georgia State University won the $5,000 Audience Choice Prize, securing the most audience investment—$51 million in Venture Bucks!—at the event. A winner of the 2022 Verizon Forward for Good Challenge, the team also took part in Propel, the second stage of the E-Team program, and recently spoke about building an inclusive workplace at the Clinton Global Initiative University 2023 annual meeting plenary, moderated by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Their venture is a tech-enabled workforce training platform that re-skills workers with only a high school diploma to close the skills gap for the underemployed or unemployed. Check out their winning pitch:
Taking home the $2000 Sustainability Prize was EASEEbot from New York University. The team completed Pioneer and Propel for E-Teams and was selected as a Phase 1 Winner of the American-Made Challenges Envelope Retrofit Opportunities for Building Optimization Technologies (“E-Robot”) Prize. Their solution, a drone that safely and noninvasively auto-generates 3D models to diagnose building issues using advanced computer vision and AI techniques, aims to lower inspection costs, increase safety, and generate higher-quality reports than current diagnostic tests, changing the game for building owners.
But don’t take our word for it—hear their pitch:
Finally, the $1,000 IMPACT Center’s OPENminds ChangemakerTech Award prize went to Acorn Genetics. These E-Team grantees have gone through nearly the full spectrum of the VentureWell Accelerator, starting with the Winter 2022 Pioneer cohort, advancing to Propel in Spring 2022, and recently completing the Fall 2022 ASPIRE medtech cohort. The team is also a 2022 Qualcomm Innovator Stipend Program recipient, and we interviewed founder Ana Cornell about her experience launching a startup.
Acorn Genetics initially came about as a response to Ana’s father being diagnosed with a genetically linked condition. When she discovered insurance wouldn’t cover a DNA screening, she began developing her idea: a low-cost, at-home DNA testing kit that enables users to privately test for genetic conditions without any data privacy concerns. Learn more about Acorn Genetics:
We congratulate each team on their OPENminds 2023 success and can’t wait to see what’s next!
About the E-Team Program
The E-Team Program and ASPIRE, part of the VentureWell Accelerator, support dedicated science- and engineering-based student teams from across the nation in bringing their high-impact innovation out of the lab and into the market.
Through the E-Team Program, we have trained over 500 student teams and more than 1,400 student innovators. Our teams have raised $740+ million in follow-on funding and have launched 500+ ventures since taking part in our program.