Nineteen teams have been selected to participate in the Winter 2024 cohort of the E-Team Program. Selected through a competitive review process, these early-stage innovators are developing novel science- and technology-based solutions to critical challenges facing the environment, healthcare, and society. Twelve teams will begin their entrepreneurship journey by participating in Pioneer, the first stage of the E-Team Program, which includes $5,000 in grant funding and dedicated training to help uncover the ideal market for their inventions. Seven teams will advance to Propel, the second stage of the program, where they will receive an additional $20,000 in funding and further training in building their business model canvas and testing their business hypotheses.
“These early-stage innovators are already making an impact solving major challenges facing the world today,” said VentureWell Program Officer Sarah Wharmby. “They are emerging leaders, and we are eager to support their efforts through non-dilutive funding, dedicated training and professional development, networking with potential investors and strategic partners, and national exposure and recognition.”
We are inspired by the promising inventions from teams like Horizen Biotech, which is developing a wearable skin patch that tracks blood alcohol levels to allow for discreet personal monitoring, and returning team AgGen, which is developing an on-site insect farming system that recycles and harvests agricultural food waste to produce sustainable feed for pets and livestock.
Learn more about our newest Pioneer and Propel teams, and the potential impact their inventions can unlock:
Energy & Materials
Magnetic Heat Exchangers for Next Generation Solid-State Cooling Solutions | Virginia Commonwealth University
Principal Investigator: Radhika Barua
Team Members: Anthony Duong, Sreenivasan Narayanan
The team is developing a low-cost magnetic heat exchanger for cooling devices using 3D printing in order to improve energy efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
Gremix | Stanford University
Principal Investigator: Stefan Reichelstein
Team Member: Manju Murugesu
Gremix is developing a cement replacement for concrete by recycling coal ash from landfills, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
Modular Desalination Plants | Lehigh University
Principal Investigator: Carlos Romero
Team Members: Adam Belkin-Rosen, Dianareli Dolores, Jonathan Osika, Zachary Ostrand
Modular Desalination Plants is developing a novel retrofit desalination technology that boosts water recovery rates by 17 percent while reducing energy consumption by 30 percent.
Airalux | University of Pennsylvania
Principal Investigator: Andrew Tsourkas
Team Member: Joshua Freedman, Yi-An Hsieh
Airalux is developing a smart incentive spirometer that offers verbal and visual feedback during breathing exercises, tracking and sending that data to a smartphone app that allows providers to access recovery information in real time.
a.w.e. cup | Morehead State University
Principal Investigator: Rachel Rogers
Team Members: Andrew Dorn, Brianna Kayatin, Savannah Reed
a.w.e. cup is developing a menstrual cup with removable rims and adjustable height, allowing for customizable fit based on cervix size, in addition to easy disposal using a tab feature.
Cathiva | University of California San Diego
Principal Investigator: James Friend
Team Member: Christopher Hui, Dean Segal
Cardium is developing an easily adoptable, multi-needle injection system for catheters that delivers regenerative therapeutics to patients with atrial fibrillation heart disorders.
CHE Innovations | Duke University
Principal Investigator: Ann Saterbak
Team Members: Vivian Arinaitwe, Joseph Okileng, Saajan Patel, Sophia Singer
CHE Innovations is developing a low-cost incubator with a heating mechanism that employs an electronic water mattress for premature infants during ambulance trips in low-resource areas.
Horizen Biotech | California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Principal Investigator: Thomas Katona
Team Members: Camden Ford, Owen Works
Horizen Biotech is developing a non-invasive wearable skin patch that tracks blood alcohol content levels through chemical sensing, allowing for discreet personal monitoring.
PreSlice | Johns Hopkins University
Principal Investigator: Michelle Zwernemann
Team Members: Alp Demirtas, Iris Kwon, Katie Liang, Tanishk Sinha, Ria Thakur
PreSlice is developing a device with a preset skin biopsy depth guide, allowing for a standard, optimized application to improve accuracy in depth extraction, to mitigate incorrect staging.
SimuClip | University of Pittsburgh
Principal Investigator: Timothy Chung
Team Members: Aakash Kottakota, Rohan Krishnan
SimuClip is developing a biodegradable bladed metal clip for healthcare practitioners to simultaneously cut and clamp blood vessels and vessel branches during harvesting, preventing tissue damage from electricity.
Toribio Labs, Inc. | University of Connecticut
Principal Investigator: Gregory Sotzing
Team Members: Kyle Mahoney, Josué Martínez-Martínez, John Toribio
Toribio Labs is developing wearable smart clothing enabled by conductive polymer printed onto fabric that continuously monitors and records heart, muscle, and skin health through a comprehensive and convenient system.
Information Technology & Communication
Nudge | Purdue University
Principal Investigator: Greg Strimel
Team Members: Cecilia Sanchez, Shannon Su
Nudge is developing a wearable silicone patch that acts as a silent alarm clock through subtle vibrations, offering users with hearing loss a convenient, reusable device that can be worn at home or in clinical settings.
AgGen | University of California, Davis
Principal Investigator: Marc Facciotti
Team Member: Amir Salehzadeh
While traditional composting can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the process can be slow and transportation costly. AgGen developed an on-site, modular insect farming system that recycles and harvests agricultural food waste to produce sustainable, high-protein feed for pets and livestock, reducing composting time by over 300 percent.
Elevation Gateway | Yale University
Principal Investigator: Clare Leinweber
Team Members: Brendan Adkinson, Jessica Perelman
Legacy admissions disproportionately affect underrepresented and low-income college applicants. Elevation Gateway developed an ethical, affordable AI-powered consulting tool that offers students detailed feedback on their admissions essays, leveling the playing field for all applicants.
Energy & Materials
Per3DPrints | University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
Principal Investigator: Magda Latorre-Esteves
Team Members: Gina Montes Albino, Claralys Hernandez
Biodegradable plastics, which are often used in 3D printing, are produced using harmful fossil fuels which contribute to ozone depletion. Per3DPrints developed an affordable and sustainable alternative using natural polymers by extracting lignin from agricultural waste.
AirVitalize Innovations | University of Southern California
Principal Investigator: Ellis Meng
Team Members: Serena Allen, Pranav Kulkarni
In 2019, air pollution was estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths annually worldwide due to exposure to fine particulate matter (which causes cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers). AirVitalize Innovations developed Particul8r, a device that efficiently collects outdoor particulate matter pollution, creating breathable air for public spaces with high traffic.
Auxilium | University of Akron
Principal Investigator: Sadhan Jana
Team Members: Pratik Santosh Gotad, Isaiah Kaiser, Amani Russell
Chronic wounds affect 6.5 million patients in the U.S., with more than $25 billion spent by the healthcare system on treatments. Auxilium developed a biological-based wound dressing material to absorb waste, eliminating the need for re-dressing multiple times, which can delay the healing process.
CathConnect | University of Washington
Principal Investigator: Jonathan Posner
Team Members: Michael Malone, Joelle Tudor
Up to 25 percent of patients in U.S. hospitals may receive short-term urinary catheters, and in long-term care facilities, approximately 50,000 residents use them. CathConnect developed an accessory device that connects to these catheters, safely disconnecting when pulled to prevent harm to the patient and reduce stress for caretakers and clinicians.
SomnOSA | Johns Hopkins University
Principal Investigator: Youseph Yazdi
Team Members: Phoebe Dijour, Anders Sideris, Mitchell Turley
Approximately 39 million adults have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in the U.S., and an estimated 85 percent of patients receive continuous positive airway pressure treatment as a first step. SomnOSA developed a novel, wearable neurostimulation device that increases airway muscle tone and prevents airway collapse for patients with OSA, providing an effective and minimally invasive option that targets the root cause of the disease.
Meet the Winter 2024 E-Team Partners and Sponsors
We are thankful to our partners who work with us to support these startups, including the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) America’s Seed Fund, which awards non-dilutive funding to startups and small businesses; Qualcomm, a leading wireless tech innovator; The Lemelson Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the power of invention to improve lives; and The LaunchPort and City Garage, our hosts for the Winter 2024 cohort. Participants in Pioneer will convene January 11-12, 2024, and Propel will convene February 1-2, 2024, both in Baltimore, Maryland.
About the E-Team Program
Through the E-Team Program, we have trained over 540 student teams and more than 1,300 student innovators. The teams have raised over $450 million in follow-on funding and have launched 240+ ventures since taking part in our program.
Learn more about VentureWell’s E-Team Program, which supports student-led science- and engineering-based teams from across the nation in bringing their high-impact innovations out of the lab and into the market.