2016-2017

After starting with about 100 teams, our pool of several hundred judges have selected the top teams.

In Round 2, we have advanced 
- the top 15 student teams
- 30 honorable mention student teams (who can participate in Round 2 as well)
- the top 10 Open Competition (non-student) teams. 

Thanks to our many competitors and judges for participating in Round 1!
For Round 2, the teams are creating Indiegogo campaign videos, a plan and/or pitch deck, and will be judged by the judging pool again.

Come back on January 19th, to see all of the videos and Indiegogo campaigns!

Student Competition: Top 15 Teams from Round 1

Pending eligibility verification, these teams are all eligible to create Indiegogo campaigns.  These teams are all eligible to participate to Demo Day, conditional on their deliverables being completed to a satisfactory level.

Athena. P2P skillshare in sports - In  a country like the US which has imbibed sports into its culture, it is a subject of opportunity to see why the sports pursuing population is a clear minority in comparison to the viewership community size. Our survey results showed that dearth of play buddies, mismatching time schedules, unavailable play location, high training costs are the major barriers to converting 90% of non-playing viewership group into actually practicing their sports' interests. Our vision is simple, we want to light the torch of talent sharing in sports. Our solution, ATHENA, is a location-based, analytics powered, learner-centric skill trading marketplace that successfully addresses all those barriers. We maximize the skill-share experience through learner personalization and trainer talent differentiation. Our premise lies in the fact that every student is a teacher and every teacher is a student. Our goal is to connect the skilled and the interested to create a Global Peer-to-Peer collaborative learning ecosystem. 

  • Praveen Koushik Satyanarayana, Pratt 2017, ps223@duke.edu
  • Chiraag S Devani, Pratt 2017, Chiraag.Devani@duke.edu
  • Satish B Subramanyam, Pratt 2017, Satish.Baru.Subramanyam@duke.edu
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media

Brainbuild - Brainbuild automates nutrition planning to tackle the two most essential questions when it comes to fueling your body are: what do you eat and when you do it? Our technology analyzes personal & training schedules to plan out all of an individual’s meals & snacks each day. The Brainbuild mobile app sends real-time reminders paired with lists of food suggestions with the correct nutrient combination for that particular event for the user to choose from. 

  • Joseph Lam, Trinity 2017, jjl33@duke.edu
  • Brendan O’Brien, Pratt 2016, obrienpbrendan@gmail.com 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media


Dive Health - Dive Health seeks to deliver the promise of health information technology to improve clinical care and decrease healthcare costs without a massive upfront investment, installation, and overhead that is standard in the industry. Learn more about our first product at StopCKD.com. 


  • Mark Sendak, School of Medicine 2017, mark.sendak@duke.edu
  • Lance Co Ting Keh, Pratt 2014, loc2@duke.edu
  • Faraz Yashar, Pratt (On Leave), faraz@ephori.com 
  • Location: El Cerrito, CA 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


Flower Child Remedies - In today’s $79B global hair industry, products are used that cause unknown damage to hair. This damage ranges from causing hair to break off and dry up to disrupting hormones and causing cancer. This is a problem that affects anyone who uses major shampoo and conditioning hair products.

Our solution to this problem is using completely natural materials to make our hair products. All of the ingredients we use to make our products are pure and are actually edible. We have done extensive research on each of our ingredients to ensure that everything we use promotes hair growth, and thicker, better moisturized hair.

This product is especially important in the natural hair community (a $774M industry) because when women transition to no longer chemically straightening their hair they begin to take added precaution into what goes into it. This product allows women to know exactly what is going into their hair and what benefits it will have. We will also have deep conditioner customization feature so women can pick what ingredients they want in their conditioner based on what outcome they're looking for in their hair. This empowers them to not only choose what they’re putting in their hair but gives them the peace of mind to know that it’s so safe it could be eaten. 

  • Tiana Horn, Trinity 2017, tiana.horn@duke.edu 
  • Bryanna Harrington, Rider University 2018, bryanna@flowerchildremedies.com 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Other Products & Services

GO Leaf - GO Leaf produces Graphene - a revolutionary material that is a million times thinner than paper, 1000 times more conductive than copper, and 200 times stronger than structural steel. It can be used in applications ranging from energy generation to tissue engineering. Its lightweight, thin, and flexible composition has sparked scientists to begin calling it the “wonder material” of our time. Graphene is a one-atom thick layer of carbon. To put that in perspective, a sheet of Graphene as thick as saran wrap would take the weight of an elephant to puncture. 

  • Arsheen Allam, Fuqua 2018, arsheen.allam@duke.edu 
  • Cris Valerio, Fuqua 2017, cristina.valerio@duke.edu 
  • Location: Morrisville, NC 
  • Track: Clean Energy

Immerse - Locked-In Syndrome is a condition that totally paralyzes everything except for a fully conscious individual’s eyes. Neurosky estimates around 400,000 people worldwide have this problem. This horrifying scenario makes episodes from The Twilight Zone look like a light-hearted sitcom. The most obvious problem that locked-in syndrome causes is the inability to interact with the world. No longer are individuals able to communicate and connect with their loved ones. They simply have no means to. Therefore, if they cannot see the world, then the world should be brought to them. Right now, Virtual Reality is being used to hold meetings and browse the web. With a simple headset, a whole new world can be created for locked-in syndrome individuals.

Of course, locked-in syndrome individuals most also interact with these virtual worlds. Brain-computer interfaces have now advanced to the point where anyone with a couple hundred dollars can get an EEG headset. Using these cheap EEG headsets, locked-in syndrome individuals have the potential to have a new and empowering life. 

  • Michael Li, Trinity 2019, mxl3@duke.edu 
  • Andrew Spencer, Princeton University 2020, asj9@princeton.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


kēlaHealth - KelaHealth is a cloud-based software-as-a-service health informatics technology company that uses machine learning for predicting surgery complication risk and deploying risk modification interventions for surgical providers. Currently, fifteen percent of 50 million surgeries performed in the US results in a surgical complication. Each complication costs hospitals and payors an average of $12,000 per occurrence, but half of all complications are potentially avoidable. Hospitals have tremendous financial and regulatory incentives to reduce avoidable surgical complications because of narrowing profit margins and increasing pressures to comply with value-based care models. We know from our own experience and from the medical literature that the fundamental causes of avoidable surgical complication are (1) the limited human capacity for accurate and objective risk assessment, (2) the individual variability in preventative practices, and (3) the lack of efficient and unobtrusive mechanisms for implementing best-practice hospital-wide protocols. KelaHealth addresses these problems by deploying accurate individual risk predictions using state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms at the point-of-care, linking individual risk factors with best-practice interventions, and providing a platform for hospital quality committees to standardize care disseminate new protocols. KelaHealth is unique in health predictive analytics field in that we produce actionable interventions beyond simple risk stratification that fits into existing surgeon workflows. Furthermore, our underlying technology not only makes precise predictions ‘out of the box,’ it will continually learn and improve these predictions by adapting them to individual hospital’s conditions overtime. Finally, through automatic intervention tracking, we also provide administrative insight into clinical management patterns and resulting patient outcomes. With kelaHealth, our mission is to bring precision medicine to surgery and implement quality perioperative care for every patient. 

  • Bora Chang, Duke University School of Medicine 2017, bora@kelahealth.com 
  • Jeff (Zhifei) Sun, Duke University Graduate Medical Education Program, 2017, jeff@kelahealth.com
  • Ouwen Huang, Duke University School of Medicine, 2020, ouwen@kelahealth.com
  • Elizabeth Lorenzi, Duke University Department of Statistical Science, 2018, liz@kelahealth.com 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences

MedServe - MedServe is a Teach for America for healthcare. It aims to create a generation of passionate advocates for health equity in every zip code. To do so, it operates a two-year community service fellowship in rural and underserved community primary care for young people between college and medical school. MedServe Fellows are selected for having a spark of interest and high potential for future primary care service. During their two years in MedServe, this spark of interest is ignited through a dual role where Fellows spend half of their time gaining vital clinical experience for their future application to graduate school and half of their time conducting community-facing work that shows the impact of high-quality primary care on entire communities. Our organization supports this experience through up-front Fellow training and ongoing professional development support and mentorship. 

  • Patrick O'Shea, Fuqua 2017, patrick.o.shea@duke.edu  
  • Laura Guidera, Trinity 2018, laura.guidera@duke.edu
  • Priyanka Venkannagari, Trinity 2017, Priyanka.venkannagari@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


Perfect Society - Most modern televisions, computers and smartphones have screens with artificial blue light (ranging from 400-470nm) that gradually suppresses melatonin and wears down eyes due to its intensity. The prolonged exposure to harsh blue light emitted from these LED screens causes health problems such as eyestrain, headaches, and long-term damage to the retina, along with the potential increased risk of depression and obesity. 

According to data attained from Statista and a 2014 internet trends analysis published by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Americans spend more than 7.4 hours daily on their electronic devices, and the 2.1 billion smartphone users worldwide spend an average of 90 minutes on their phones each day. Because it is not likely that the extended use of electronic devices with LED screens will decrease, it is imperative that something is done to prevent the negative effects that many already suffer from.

Our aim is to develop a reusable, non-adhesive vinyl static cling screen cover in different intensity options (from 80-95% transparency) and customizable dimensions custom-tailored for various common devices. When applied, these screen covers will considerably decrease the eyes’ exposure to this detrimental artificial blue light, allowing users to use their devices for extended periods of time with little to no risk to their health. 

  • Maya Duff, Trinity 2019 mld42@duke.edu 
  • Onastasia Ebright, Trinity 2019, OBE@duke.edu
  • Lauren Langford, Pratt 2019, LEL28@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Other Products & Services

Presta - Presta is a peer-to-peer rental app for outdoor equipment. It connects people with outdoor recreational equipment to people who could use those items for short periods of time. Presta helps people make cash off of their unused items. Outdoor recreational equipment in particular is very expensive to buy new, is often only used for short time periods, and is rented out by relatively few locations (like REI and campus recreational facilities). 

Currently, sites like eBay, Craigslist, and DukeList are filled with thousands of items that people have decided they no longer need. Yet even more numerous than the contents of these sites is the amount of similar items sitting in storage collecting dust. Our solution is to create a mobile platform that allows individuals to rent out these unused items to those who would like to participate in outdoor recreational activities and need equipment for a short period of time. 

  • Pallavi Shankar, Trinity 2017 pss23@duke.edu 
  • Kevin Delgado, Pratt 2017, kmd53@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media


ReLi Batteries - From portable electronics to electric cars to backup power systems, lithium ion batteries are increasingly pervasive in our society. Sales volumes have grown by 21% per year from 2004 to 2014, and are expected to continue at 10% per year through 2020.  Owing to the fast deployment of renewable energy and evolving regulatory policy, deployment for grid storage applications is expected to grow even faster, outpacing industry-wide projections four-fold.

The lithium ion battery market faces both a supply-side and a demand-side problem, creating a value gap.  On the supply side, batteries are often discarded with much of their useful capacity remaining.  This is particularly widespread in backup power applications, such as data centers and telecom infrastructure, where risk-averse operational practices stipulate replacement of large, well-functioning battery systems at 80% or more of their rated capacity.  Moreover, due to the classification of batteries as hazardous material, disposal is costly.  On the demand side, with the fast deployment of renewable energy, batteries are increasingly needed to provide important services to the power grid, but are too costly.  At current costs, the economics are not favorable; hence deployment is assisted by government subsidies or mandatory procurement policies.  This creates the value gap: even lightly-used batteries are assumed to have no resale value, but they can still provide very valuable services to the grid.

ReLi gives these lightly-used batteries a ‘second life’ by remanufacturing and selling them to price-sensitive consumers in power grid applications.  By offering free disposal services, ReLi ensures a low-cost input, and extracts the remaining useful life out of battery systems to provide an economically compelling product for an otherwise underserved market. Not only does this provide economic benefit, it also provides environmental benefits in three ways: 1) it helps support the economic deployment of renewable energy, 2) it reduces the unnecessary early disposal of batteries, and 3) it reduces the need for mineral extraction. 

  • Andrew Klinkman, Nicholas/Fuqua 2017, andrew.klinkman@duke.edu 
  • Dennis Bartlett, Nicholas/Fuqua 2017, dennis.bartlett@duke.edu
  • Ted Herman, Nicholas/Fuqua 2017, ted.herman@duke.edu
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Clean Energy


Sirvices - A mobile based application that serves as a yellow pages to the latest up-to-date information on contact for organizations 

  • Anirudh Yeddula, Pratt 2016, anirudhyeddula@gmail.com
  • Aditya Kolluru, Pratt 2017, sk471@duke.edu
  • Chaitra Cheruku, Pratt 2017, cc494@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Other Products & Services

The Releaf Group - Agricultural SMEs in Africa are struggling to scale due to lack of tailored expertise & patient capital. The African agricultural industry currently employs 600+ Million individuals across the continent. 85% of African SMEs are under-funded, and even with the proper financing, these organizations need advanced strategy and human capital to channel investments into business growth and job creation. Releaf is an online consulting platform that provides scalable African SMEs with the tailored expertise necessary to position them for capital investment. 

  • Uzoma Ayogu, Pratt 2017, uzoma.ayogu@releaf.ng
  • Toby Nzewi, Trinity 2020, toby.nzewi@releaf.ng 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


Trapezium TechnologiesOn July 6th, 2016, a man named Philando Castile was pulled over at a traffic stop in St. Paul Minnesota. When the officer asked for his license and registration, Mr. Castile informed him that he was licensed to carry a firearm and had a firearm in the vehicle. According to a witness, after reaching for his license, Mr. Castile was in the process of putting his hands back up when he was shot multiple times by the officer. Mr. Castile’s girlfriend was in the car with him and her 4-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat. He died in the emergency room 20 minutes after being shot. Two days later, on July 8th 2016, a St. Louis police officer named Michael Flamion approached a vehicle during a traffic stop and was shot in the neck. He remains paralyzed from the neck down.

We’re a company founded on the idea that no one, neither cop nor motorist, should feel that their life is in danger during a traffic stop. Our solution is simple. We have developed technology to allow for traffic stops to be conducted safely and without any risk of harm to either party. With this technology, we hope that we can make traffic stops a safer and less stressful experience for all those involved. 

  • Team Leader: Vaibhav Tadepalli, Trinity 2017, vaibhav.tadepalli@gmail.com 
  • Christopher Reyes , Chemistry 2018, christopher.reyes@duke.edu 
  • Location: Purcellville, VA 


Ungraded Produce - In the United States, forty percent of all produced food goes uneaten.  A number of practices contribute to this statistic. First, supermarkets have aesthetic standards for the produce that they purchase, so fruit and vegetables that do not conform to these criteria seldom get harvested, regardless of their nutritional content. Additionally, commercial retailers discard food in bulk as it approaches the sell-by date. These wasteful practices have significant environmental impact. When food rots in landfills, it expels methane, a greenhouse gas twenty three times more potent than carbon dioxide.  The concurrence of food waste and hunger adds another layer of complexity to the issue; as farmers discard crops in bulk, 48.1 million Americans live in food insecure households. 

The environmental and social impact of food loss raises a question: can we provide alternatives to compensate for an industrial system that generates waste to protect profit margins? To tackle this issue locally, we propose starting Ungraded Produce LLC, a produce delivery service serving the greater Durham, NC area.  Ungraded will feature an unconventional product portfolio—in line with our stance against waste, we will source produce from farmers that do not meet the appearance standards to sell in commercial markets, colloquially known as “ugly produce.” Customers will purchase a subscription online for a weekly basket of produce, delivered to their doorstep. We will price our produce 30% lower than grocery store comparables.

As a Durham-based venture, Ungraded will also address local food insecurity. When purchasing a subscription, customers will have the option to pledge a recurring amount to provide a food insecure family with free baskets of produce. In Durham County alone, 52,000 out of 270,000 people are food insecure,  and we want to play a role in reducing this alarming statistic.

Ultimately, our model addresses core issues in the industrial food system. First, it provides farmers with a monetary incentive to divert their oddly shaped produce towards value adding activities. Additionally, it addresses two main barriers to supermarkets in food insecure communities: cost and the need for transportation. At Ungraded, we value more than traditional measures of profitability, and want to consider social and environmental impact. 

  • Saranya Ranganathan, Trinity 2017, skr16@duke.edu 
  • Courtney Bell, Trinity 2017, ctb24@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Other Products & Services

Student Competition: Honorable Mention Teams from Round 1


Pending eligibility verification, these teams are all eligible to create Indiegogo campaigns.  The top performing teams will be invited to Demo Day based on the combination of Indiegogo results and Round 2 judging.

Akin - Akin will provide an open, honest space to foster productive communication and understanding amongst the Duke community regarding sensitive subjects such as race and larger identity issues. We believe that every individual has unique perspectives and experiences that make them special and that those experiences can help enrich the lives of others. We also believe that despite our differences, we are all “akin” due to our innate human nature. With these two beliefs in mind, we aim to create a website that celebrates and encourages these differences, while also stressing an understanding of others. 

The website will utilize a discussion forum, art and media projects, podcasts, and articles to create a unique space for students to learn and share. The discussion forum is the main focus of Akin, consisting of regularly rotated topics and questions for students to discuss. This will allow students to share thoughts and experiences, as well as ask questions. Others can respond to these questions to provide clarification and new perspectives. 

The artistic material in the arts and media section will lend perspective through an expressive medium, bringing in more interest to such heavy subjects that can often be difficult to join in on. These projects could include photoshoots, podcasts, infographics from surveys we conduct, and videos. Finally, articles written by a diverse group of Duke students will provide factual information and opinions on relevant topics on campus and in the world. Article topics would cover a wide range of topics and perspectives to help garner a large and diverse reader base as well. 

So often an event occurs and students on campus talk about race issues for a short period of time. Talk dies down, and in a matter of months something shocking occurs once again. On top of the events that arise each semester, an underlying cycle of microaggressions and lack of communication has become ingrained in many aspects of campus culture, and the effects are felt each day whether or not they go unnoticed. To date there have not been any sustainable solutions to combat these issues that arise. Akin will be the place where anyone in the Duke community can contribute, share, and learn from and with each other. Someone with strong opinions on the matter, with personal experiences, or who is just passionate and well versed in the subject will post and share a point of view. Others, who may not be as socially aware or exposed but are curious and want to learn, will see these posts and join the conversation, thus hopefully become better versed in the matters of racism and other social issues.  We hope that AKIN can be one major leap towards making Duke a better community for all of its members. 

  • Giselle Graham, Trinity 2018, giselle.graham@duke.edu 
  • Maya Patel, Pratt 2018, maya.patel@duke.edu
  • Lisa Guraya, Trinity 2018, lisa.guraya@duke.edu
  • Krista Opsahl-Ong, Pratt 2018, krista.opsahl.ong@duke.edu 
  • Location: DURHAM, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


ANVESHA - MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) account for 8% of India’s GDP translating to $160 Billion in annual revenue generation with rural manufacturing businesses contributing 36%. The internal migration from rural to urban cities majorly due to lack of economic opportunities stood at 326 million or 28.5 percent of Indian population and projected to reach 400 million in next 5 years. Often these migrants comprising of both skilled and unskilled laborers are forced to live in insalubrious living conditions. We aspire to alleviate this situation by creating better economic opportunities in rural communities thereby making it viable for their businesses to thrive.


The classic example is a Mumbai urban slum, Dharavi, that generates $1 Billion revenue annually by producing diverse finished products ranging from handicrafts to high-quality leather goods for domestic and international markets. However, this skilled population gets neither identity nor financial incentives despite its significant economic contribution potential. The problem is further aggravated by middlemen who buy from the producers at an astonishingly low price and sell with unrealistic markup. 


ANVESHA is a supplier-centric, analytics powered, e-commerce platform catering to small and medium enterprises by providing a fair and profitable marketplace. We facilitate the nationwide and international distribution of indigenous products under  brand. The unique Loyalty model, that is the basis of our “Give-Back” program, serves as an incentive to suppliers and in turn, delivers satisfaction to customers for contributing to the upliftment of society.  We strongly believe that building a self-sustainable growth model is the best way to empower these underprivileged communities. Where the government and NGOs have failed, is the place for  to step in and make an impact. 


  • Sai Saketh Yenduru, Pratt 2017, sai.saketh.yenduru@duke.edu 
  • Satish B Subramanyam, Pratt MEMP, 2017, sb467@duke.edu
  • Hariharan Rajesh Banu, Pratt MEMP, 2017, hr78@duke.edu
  • Abhishek Madduri, Pratt MEMP, 2017, am609@duke.edu
  • Divya Kancholia, Pratt MEMP, 2017, dsk28@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


Appía - The Appía Roller aims to solve the water transportation and cleanliness problem worldwide, to relieve hardship for some of the world’s most impoverished. 

  • Megan Nicholas-Harper, Nicholas 2018, megan.nicholas.harper@duke.edu 
  • Sean Fitzpatrick, Nicholas 2018, robert.fitzpatrick@duke.edu
  • Logan Turk, Pratt 2017, logan.turk@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises

AskAlex - AskAlex provides on-demand tech support at the click of a button. From our website and through just an internet browser, our experts are able to provide one-on-one help using video chat and screen-sharing. 


  • Alex Gottwald, Trinity, 2019, alex.gottwald@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media


Blackgold Digital - The oil industry is facing an increasingly difficult economic environment due to low oil prices, rising operational expense, and a growing talent shortage. This problem can be summarized succinctly as follows: In order to survive, oil companies must become more operationally efficient with increasingly scarce resources. The industry is primed for a digital revolution, and the majority of C-level executives have invested or are willing to invest in digital technologies that make an impact. We offer a platform that will increase operational efficiency by utilizing scarce human capital more efficiently, leverage data analytics to extract relevant industry best practices, and manage information more effectively among relevant stakeholders. 

  • Jessica Odeyemi, Fuqua 2018, jessica.odeyemi@duke.edu 
  • Cynthia Ding, Fuqua 2018
  • Jaishree Rajasekaran, Pratt 2018 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media


CampusWallet - CampusWallet is an electronic loyalty program that is currently working with vendors such as Saladelia, Red Mango, and Joe Van Gogh at Duke University. Currently, the three vendors all offer a loyalty program where a collection of stamps are required on a paper card. These cards are often lost over time. CampusWallet an unforgettable experience for Duke students, faculty, employees, and visitors to store their loyalty stamps. For vendors, we will be providing invaluable analytics on the types of drinks that students purchase and at what times! We have already received the blessing of Duke Food and Dining and are actively working with them to help students be enlightened by the stories behind all of Duke’s vendors. 

  • Leighanne Oh, Pratt 2017, leighanne.oh@duke.edu 
  • Zui Dighe, Pratt 2019, zui.dighe@duke.edu
  • Mitchell Kim, Trinity 2017, mitchell.kim@duke.edu
  • Brian Khoe, Trinity 2015, briankhoe@gmail.com
  • Kedar Prabhudesai, Pratt Ph.D ECE 2017, kedar.prabhudesai@duke.edu
  • Victor Wang, Trinity 2017, victor.wang@duke.edu
  • JP Lucaci, Trinity 2016, jlucaci@gmail.com
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Other Products & Services


Cool Beans - Food patterns in the United States are changing, where people are becoming increasingly more aware of health benefits of eating plant based products.  This business idea is products from vegetables that can be used as ingredients for making vegan/vegetarian finished good product.  Specifically, the products will be food ingredients which can be used as emulsifiers in place of egg whites and synthetic emulsifiers (i.e. polysorbates) for ice cream, cakes, and sauces. 


  • Joy Simpson, Fuqua 2016, jasimps4@gmail.com 
  • Location: Denver, CO 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


Current - College students today are constantly presented with countless opportunities and events on campus. However, it can be difficult for students to take advantage of these opportunities while simultaneously balancing school, extracurriculars, and social life.  Events are often shared on a variety of platforms, such as listservs or Facebook, and students have trouble keeping track of all them. Students do not know exactly when in their schedule they will have free time, and therefore have difficulty planning in advance whether or not they can attend such events. Consequently, students often miss out on a lot of great events happening on campus.


Our application, Current, aims to overcome this problem by providing a direct connection between students and events taking place on campus through a single unified platform. Students can check Current to instantly see a full schedule of events happening at the moment and in the future at their university. They can proceed to look at the event ratings and comments from other attending students to determine if the event would be valuable to them. The application will be beneficial to both campus organizations and students, because it will increase event attendance while simultaneously increasing student involvement with the university. 


  • Leah Scroggs, Trinity 2019, leah.scroggs@duke.edu
  • Eliza Wittmann, Trinity 2019, elizabeth.wittmann@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media



EduCode - EduCode provides a platform that enhances the middle school mathematics experience through intuitive and increasingly useful computer science concepts, in addition to supplying teaching materials that adhere to the Common Core standards. 


  • Arjun Devarajan, Trinity 2018, ard38@duke.edu
  • Brian Jiang, Trinity, 2019, bj75@duke.edu
  • Vishnu Menon, Trinity, 2019, vpm7@duke.edu
  • Torrance Yang, Trinity, 2019, ty49@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Other Products & Services


Emergency Room Pre-Triage - Of the 136.3 million annual visits to the emergency department (ED), 76.16 million patients (56%) do not require ED care. This overutilization of EDs has lead to 63.8% of patients experiencing more than two hours wait time and 6.8 million patients leaving the ED without being seen. This is an obvious pain point in the current emergent care system. Patients are dissatisfied with long waits, providers suffer from burnout and lost patients, and payers (insurance, self-payer, etc) are stuck with the high cost of ED care. 

CareChoice solves this problem by diverting patients who do not require ED treatment to other emergent care facilities (urgent care, minuteclinic, etc.) by advising patients on where to receive rapid and quality medical attention best suited to their symptoms. Designed with the patient safety in mind, our interface begins with a series of questions ruling out life threatening illnesses. If patients answer negatively, they are asked basic demographic questions followed by a symptom inquest designed so that patients requiring ED care will be advised to do so with the least number of questions necessary. Once our system has ruled out symptoms requiring ED intervention, the patient will be advised to seek aid at the closest urgent care location depending on their symptoms and the urgent care center wait time.

CareChoice solves the pressing the ED overload problem by safely advising patients on where to seek more efficient and equal quality care for their medical concern. By shifting patients from congested ER facilities to Urgent Care, we improve the emergent care experience for patients, facilitate treatment for patients previously lost to walking out from the EDs, decrease ED provider burnout, increase provider revenue by allowing more patients to be seen, and reduce payer expenditure by advising patients patients who can be treated at urgent care facilities to this less expensive option. 


  • Gary Chang, Pratt 2016, gary.chang@duke.edu 
  • Keaton Armentrout, Pratt 2016, keaton.armentrout@duke.edu
  • MengMeng Xu, School of Medicine 2019, mengmeng.xu@duke.edu 
  • Gary Chang, Pratt 2016, gary.chang@duke.edu
  • Mario Padilla, Pratt 2016, mario.chee@duke.edu
  • Brandon Barrentine, University of North Carolina 2019, blbarren@live.unc.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


EnLightened Solutions - Educational Facilities and Commercial buildings, which account for 19% of all energy consumed in the US, need support to inform and act on significant energy and cost-saving initiatives without significant initial time, monetary, or resource investment. That’s where we come in. We, EnLightened Solutions, perform lighting analyses to provide measurements and cost-savings data of LED tube-light-replacement, make suggestions to clients of the optimal LED tubes, and offer financial and logistical support for replacing fluorescent tube-lighting with LED. 

  • Tracy Lu, Pratt 2019, tl177@duke.edu
  • Anuj Thakkar, Pratt 2020, anuj.thakkar@duke.edu
  • Lauren Shum, Pratt 2017, lauren.shum@duke.edu
  • Tracy Lu, Pratt 2019, tracy.lu@duke.edu
  • Gouttham Chandrasekar, Pratt 2020, gouttham.chandrasekar@duke.edu
  • Aashna Aggarwal, Trinity 2019, aashna.aggarwal@duke.edu 
  • Location: Plano, TX 
  • Track: Clean Energy




Fable - We are building an online platform to connect retired seniors from developed countries with youths from emerging economies for video or phone conversations. These conversations can bring retired seniors perspectives on places they have never been to and people of nationalities they have never met with, adding a social dimension to their lives. These conversations also give youths an opportunity to speak with native speakers of the foreign languages they are learning, helping them gain confidence and build relationships. 


  • Jackie Xiao, Pratt ECE and Econ, 2018, jackie.xiao@duke.edu
  • Pim Chuaylua, Trinity CS and PolSci, 2018, pc131@duke.edu
  • Marisa Witayananun, Trinity Econ and ICS, 2018, mw297@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


Grocer - Using data analytics, Grocer seeks to provide people greater access to healthier foods while reducing the decision-making burden surrounding grocery shopping and meal planning. By providing customers with a significant drop in perceived effort, we can begin to shape habits towards more home-cooking with an increasing variety of healthier ingredients. If successful with our initial market, we can scale a growing, package-based shopping model to areas where access to these types of foods is limited, namely food deserts. As a result, we can begin to ameliorate the variety of problems found in these food deserts and work to solve the food inequality issues present in society. 


  • Matthew Rodio, Pratt, B.S. '16 & MEng '17, mhr12@duke.edu
  • Mario Oliver, Trinity, B.S. '16, mar.mariooliver93@gmail.com 
  • Location: Oceanport, NJ 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


Zephyr Mobility - There are millions of Americans who need a caregiver's assistance to get out of bed every day. In homes, hospitals, and long-term-care facilities, caregivers use elaborate patient handling devices, such as a patient lift, to make this transfer from bed to wheelchair. The transfer process is critical to personal mobility, yet existing methods are slow, intrusive, and difficult to perform.

Our venture is developing a completely new way to perform this transfer. Our device is composed of long, thin inflatable tubes that are connected to a standard transport chair which we have modified. By a novel mechanism we have developed, inflating the tubes causes them to "unroll" underneath the patient's body, creating an inflatable mattress beneath them that can slide from the bed to the chair.

Our process is superior to current methods in several ways: for the patient, it is faster, more comfortable, and far less intrusive than a patient lift. Just as important, it requires minimal operation by the caregiver and does not require complex training, two valuable features for hospitals and nursing homes who routinely perform this transfer.

Our process is difficult to visualize from just a written description, and it only works on certain types of beds. Please see our full presentation for more information. 

  • Samuel Fox, Pratt 2018, samfox7@msn.com 
  • Eli Medvescek, Pratt 2017, eli.medvescek@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


Inquerio - A Real-time Collaborative 3-D Annotation Platform. 
  • Julia Liu, Graduate School 2017, jyl17@duke.edu
  • Lucas Giles, Graduate School 2016, lucas.giles@duke.edu
  • Nevio Danelon, Postdoc at Duke Art History and Visual Studies, nevio.danelon@duke.edu 
  • Location: New York, NY 
  • Track: Other Products & Services


LAJA - LAJA is an online platform promoting the beauty, diversity & versatility of African prints and textiles while showing how people can incorporate them into their wardrobe + lifestyle. It includes an e-commerce platform selling apparel made with different types of African textiles- all sourced and manufactured in a Nigeria or an African country. The goal is to make African print fashion and merchandise available outside the African diaspora.

  • Ashan-wa Aliogo, Trinity 2017, Laa30@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Other Products & Services

MiResource - MiResource is an adolescent mental health database that matches the user with the right therapeutic resources for their condition. This database can be used in two domains: public and private. 

MiResource is free for the general public on www.myteam.org. Mental health providers can sign up to the public database to be matched with the users, as well as take advantage of the networking platform that allows them to connect with each other. Research institutions can recruit patients for their clinical studies through the public database. 

MiResource can be licensed to institutions as a cost-effective organizational tool in either a private facing database, or a list of approved resources in the public facing database. 


  • Gabriela Asturias, Trinity 2017, gabriela.asturias@duke.edu 
  • Mackenzie Drazan, Trinity 2018, mackenzie.drazan@duke.edu
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


Nanoperk - As a society, we are facing two growing energy problems. First, our fossil fuel reserves are diminishing by the minute. Some experts predict that we could run out of oil in the next 50 years. Despite the abundance of coal, carbon emissions are continuing to put a strain on the environment. So, renewable energy is our only option to power our growing global society into the next century. Although many forms of renewables exist, wind and hydroelectric require very specific geographic features such as open plains or rivers.

In addition, energy inequality is a growing issue around the world. Developing communities without access to energy are at a greater disadvantage than ever before. We want to change that. Through novel, patent pending processes, we want to create printed solar cells. We believe we can produce some of the least expensive solar panels ever to be commercially available. Printed solar cells will allow mass, low-cost production, meaning people can quickly and easily gain access to clean energy. Moreover, they are lightweight and easy to transport, meaning shipping costs and distribution become far less expensive. Overall, we believe our technology has the power to transform energy usage around the world. 


  • Spencer Perkins, Pratt 2020, shp20@duke.edu
  •  Location: Washington, DC 
  • Track: Clean Energy


NeuroSavvy Inc - We have developed MYBrain, an image guidance and computational modeling toolkit for pre-operative planning and post-operative programming and analysis of Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy. 

  • Yiwen Wu, Pratt 2017, yiwen.wu1008@gmail.com 
  • Bryan Howell, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, 2015, bryanhowell1228@gmail.com
  • Matthew King, ECE Pratt School of Engineering, 2012, xravin@gmail.com 
  • Location: Decatur, GA 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences

Outfitted - Outfitted is a fashion tech startup that aims to disrupt the standardization of online shopping with personalization. By doing so we aim to provide the ultimate online shopping experience and new age social e-commerce while generating robust data analytics. Team Leader: Albin John, aaj18@duke.edu (Trinity 2018) Team: Albin John, Trinity, 2018, albin@outfitted.us
  • Rahul Sharma, Trinity, 2018, rahul@outfitted.us
  • Sachi Pathak, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2019, sachi@outfitted.us 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media


Pilot - Heart failure (HF) is a chronic medical condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality and high rate for readmission in the hospital resulting in a high health care cost. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services does not reimburse health systems if HF patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. Results of studies have shown the cause to be the lack of good understanding of management plan including frequent weight monitoring, adherence to medications etc. Despite several interventions to educate patients prior to discharge, nearly 25% of patients admitted for HF at a U.S. hospital were readmitted within 30 days in 2010 (Elixhauser, 2013). Thus, there is a need for assisting patients post-discharge by providing continuous education and feedback while providing a tool that makes monitoring simpler while also engaging caregivers in patient’s care.

Heart failure has a prevalence of 5.7 million Americans, increasing by upwards of 46% from 2012 to 2030, resulting in over 8 million people diagnosed.   To add to this, there are over 915,000 new HF cases reported each year.  In 2010 alone, there were over 1 million hospitalizations from HF and closer to 2 million physician visits related to the disease.  As we will cover in more detail later, these numbers lead to a total cost of $30.7 billion, increasing to a staggering $69.7 billion by 2030 (Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2016 Update A Report From the American Heart Association).

Our service, Pilot, is a patient-engaged, guideline-based ambulatory monitoring mobile application. Pilot allows patients to monitor and track key metrics, such as their weight and blood pressure, and provides them with American Heart Association (AHA) educational material. Also, patients can enter their medications and daily HF symptoms to better gauge their current status. Importantly, Pilot notifies patients to enter a daily weight and to take their medications. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, patients can share their information with a family member, caregiver and/or cardiologist. Pilot allows for centralization of the critical components of ambulatory care of HF while also engaging patients and their healthcare providers. 

  • Kyle Hamilton, Pratt 2016, kwh9@duke.edu
  • Gina Lee, Pratt 2019, gi.na.lee@duke.edu
  • Harry Ahn, Trinity 2018, hyun.keun.ahn@duke.edu
  • Jacob Mullet, Pratt 2019, jacob.mullett@duke.edu
  • Michael Wells, UNC School of Pharmacy, 2017, michael_wells@unc.edu
  • Muath Bishawi (MD, MPH), Duke University Hospital, muath.bishawi@gmail.com
  • Stephen Robinson (MD), Duke Raleigh, Duke 1989, stephen.robinson@duke.edu
  • Ahmad Hamad (MD), UNC School of Medicine, ahmad_hamad@med.unc.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


PokéPay - Have you ever experienced the pain of waiting in a checkout line at Twinnie’s? Do you feel that the shopping experience is all ruined because of the infinitely long line? If so, PokéPay is the solution. 

Imagine that you no longer have to pay the cashier, but can check out directly using your phone, in less than 10 seconds! You open PokéPay, scan a specially designed code (QR code) on the product, and the payment is magically done. All the transactions are carried out in the backend using a predefined payment method – whether it be Apple Pay, Google Pay, or regular bank credit card – without any effort from the customer! By solving the notorious “Queueing Problem”, PokéPay can save retail stores billions of dollars. It is a revolution to current retail store shopping experience. 

  • Kaijie Chen, Pratt 2019, kc267@duke.edu
  • Wilson Zhang, Trinity 2019, bz43@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media


Project Teddy - Education - Approximately 10,000 Millennials turn 21 everyday in America. They are the most educated generation in American history, with over 63% having a Bachelor’s Degree. Yet how many college courses are offered in how to make a budget, apply for a mortgage, negotiate car payments, improve credit scores or save for retirement? Searching YouTube for “how to apply for a credit card” returns about 128,000 results, with the top hit being a video uploaded by "MissBeHelpful.”

We don’t call a plumber when we have a toothache, so why should we call on perfect strangers like MissBeHelpful when making decisions that could impact the rest of our lives? Project Teddy provides a higher level of expertise. It connects those seeking a trusted source of information with professionals who are knowledgeable in their respective fields. From purchasing a home, to performing car repairs, to saving on utility bills, Project Teddy aims to equip users with professional advice from professional sources.

Real knowledge is out there. Where will you get yours? 

  • Michael Kane, Fuqua 2017, michael.kane@duke.edu 
  • Afshin Arab, Fuqua 2017, afshin.arab@duke.edu
  • Michael Kane, Fuqua 2017, michael.kane@duke.edu
  • Meagan Pagliara, Fuqua 2017, meagan.pagliara@duke.edu 
  • Location: Schwenksville, PA 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


Samarth - The idea behind the startup is to create perennial source of income for the women folks of ‘Pat Kuan ’ community (partner community, in Hardoi district, situated in north-eastern part of U.P., India), by engaging women Self Help Groups (already established) in Bio-char making activity comprising of three simple steps, i.e.

Collection of surplus biomass (sugarcane dry leaves) from the fields.

Conversion of Biomass into Bio-char through pyrolysis.

Production of Bio-char Briquettes (End product)

The company will sell the Bio-Char briquettes into the rural & urban markets, which will bring sustained revenue into the model & thus creating livelihood for the women self help-gropus. 

  • Shantanu Sharma, Pratt 2017, shantanu.sharma@duke.edu 
  •  Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


Sparkey - Edtech Venture 

  • Rachelle Olden, Fuqua 2018, rachelle.olden@duke.edu 
  • Akash Kumar, Fuqua, 2018, 
  • Se-Won Par, Fuqua, 2018 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises


The Bridge - The Bridge is an online publication that celebrates the talents of Black and Latina women by sharing their various forms of creative expression (writing, poetry, dance, videography, etc.). Our vision is to redefine the online sphere into a positive and uplifting space for Black and Latina women.Our mission is to build an online community for Black and Latina women through cross-cultural and cross-campus collaborations that celebrates their identities and allows them to reclaim agency over their narrative through creative expression. 

  • Chandler Phillips, Trinity 2018, cnp11@duke.edu
  • Eliza Moreno, Trinity 2018, eliza.moreno@duke.edu
  • Persis Bhadha, Trinity 2018, persis.bhadha@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises

The Guardian - This will be a device that allows people to safely sort  and take medication, while also alerting them through a paired app. 

  • Ehime Ohue, Trinity 2020, ejo13@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences

Tiba Health - We are developing a digital health platform that employs behavioral medicine and artificial intelligence to improve patient rehabilitation outcomes and prevent adverse care events. We help healthcare systems that are part of value-based payment models to mitigate their downside risk by minimizing adverse outcomes while maximizing their shared savings by optimizing patient care plans to achieve the best possible outcomes. More broadly, we provide integrated care management that improves care coordination between the initiating hospitals and post-discharge physical therapy facilities, increases the visibility of patient progress through rehabilitation, and enables and the optimization of patient care plans, leading to better care delivery and improved patient outcomes.

To deliver this solution to patients, we are creating a wearable device and a companion mobile application. The wearable device will track patient exercise technique and provide real-time feedback, while the mobile app will guide patients through their workout and deliver the behavior change program. Our behavior change program, delivered to patients through the mobile app, will consist of patient education resources, notifications and reminders, incentives and motivational tools, and will be personalized to best suit each patient’s profile.

Physical therapists and healthcare providers will be able to use a web portal that is integrated into their electronic health records program to monitor patient progress toward recovery, identify potential adverse outcomes early and intervene, and tailor care plans to patients’ unique needs.

  • Cameron Valadez, Pratt 2017, cameron.valadez@duke.edu 
  • Tannya Cai, Trinity 2016, tannya@tibahealth.io
  • Dhruv Patel, Pratt 2019, dhruv@tibahealth.io
  • Mihir Pershad, UNC Chapel Hill, 2016, mihir@tibahealth.io 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences

Open Competition: Top 10 Teams from Round 1


ezExchanges - ezExchanges is a platform that provides restaurateurs and food operators such as commercial kitchens, pre-packaged food sellers and food trucks with online tools to 1) integrate with their bank accounts to manage cash flows, 2) more accurately oversee inventory in real-time, 3) formulate breakeven pricing and profitability for their menu items, 4) forecast and track operational performance and 5) measure and compare restaurant industry specific performance metrics over time. 


  • Keith Cornelius, Trinity 2008, keith.cornelius@ezexchanges.com 
  • Location: New York, NY 
  • Track: Rasheed A. Wiggins Entrepreneurial Prize


Focusmate - Productivity on demand 

  • Taylor Jacobson, Trinity 2007, tjacobson@gmail.com 
  • Bobby DiMaiolo, Pratt, 2012, bdimaiolo@gmail.com
  • Vinay Mandal, [not a Duke alumni], i.m.vinaym@gmail.com
  • Mike Galanos, [not a Duke alumni], mgalanos@gmail.com 
  • Location: New York, NY 
  • Track: Internet, IT & Media


Hypsole - Hypsole, Inc. will be the first athletic equipment and footwear brand to sell attractive and protective cleat guards, known as “soles”. These soles attach to cleats and serve a number of unique, problem-solving functions, the most important of which is the protection of the cleat from wear and tear. As important as the function of the soles is how they look. If the product can appeal to on-trend, sneaker-loving high school athletes, then the brand can well surpass the level of success that might be reached with just a function-based product. The goal behind the creation of the soles is to change the world of sports footwear all together by introducing a product that will eventually, like the spike or cleat itself, become a must-have piece of athletic equipment. Why do quarterbacks wear cleats? Why do sprinters wear speed suits? Why do athletes carry gym bags? All of these products help athletes to perform better, but they were not always considered to be necessary. They have, through proof of function, convenience and style, become quintessential to the world of sports. Soles have the potential to be the next big thing in sports equipment and footwear, and Hypsole is the company through which they will be released into the marketplace.

Hypsole Mission: To provide athletes with the functional performance products that they need without sacrificing the style and convenience that they want. 

  • Jessie Christian, Duke Athletics, jessie.christian@duke.edu
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Other Products & Services


Inirv Labs - Inirv Labs, Inc is a consumer electronics company whose mission is to improve the safety and efficiency of the home. The company was founded to provide novel solutions to daily problems that affect our safety and well-being. We have developed an innovative stove safety device to prevent house fires caused by unattended cooking equipment and high-risk situations. Through our device, Inirv React, we seek to reduce the number of injuries, deaths, and property damage caused by house fires. 

  • Ranjith Babu, School of Medicine 2014, inirvlabs@gmail.com 
  • Akshita Iyer, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, 2014, akshita.iyer@inirv.com 
  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Track: Other Products & Services


LivingLAB - LivingLAB is a user-centered living concept that shares sunk costs across many individuals to maximize group utility while fostering a social community. We specialize in brokering net leases between landlords and groups of tenants that creates hyper-efficient, social living arrangements. LivingLAB offers a luxury, co-habitation lifestyle for less than the standard cost of an apartment, with a significantly lower search cost. Our startup leverages a new take on social living to minimize inefficiencies and break the mold for how individuals perceive their living arrangement. As a result, we are able to increase overall rents, diversify risk across multiple tenants and create affordable housing opportunities. 

  • Mitchel Gorecki, Fuqua 2018, mitchel.gorecki@gmail.com 
  • Sofia Rodriguez, Fuqua 2018, sofia.rodriguez.leonowens@duke.edu
  • Carlos Chaya Del Pino, Fuqua 2018, lucas.chaya@duke.edu
  • Luis Aleixandre Riobueno, Fuqua 2018, luis.aleixandre@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Rasheed A. Wiggins Entrepreneurial Prize

Lumedica - Low-cost optical coherence tomography (OCT) for the optometric and primary care markets, enabling better, cheaper, and more accessible eye care. 


  • Dan Bertsch, 2018, daniel.bertsch@duke.edu 
  • JD Sprague, Fuqua Daytime - 2018, JD.Sprague@duke.edu
  • Andy Wiersma, Fuqua Daytime - 2018, Andrew.Wiersma@duke.edu
  • Joe Huber, Fuqua Daytime - 2018, Joseph.Huber@duke.edu
  • Sanhoon Kim, Pratt BME - 2019, sk72@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences

OtoScreen - OtoScreen is a low-cost, easy-to-use smartphone based device that is designed to establish a workflow of newborn hearing loss screening in developing countries and mobile health clinic settings. 

  • Adarsha Malla, John Hopkins 2017, otoglobalhealth@gmail.com 
  • Garren Angacian, Pratt 2017, gaa37@duke.edu
  • Adarsha Malla John Hopkins 2017, amalla1@jhu.edu 
  • Andrew Tsai John Hopkins 2017, atsai11@jhu
  • Aseem Jain John Hopkins 2018, ajain36@jhu
  • Gianluca Croso John Hopkins 2018, gsilvac1@jhu.edu
  • Richard Chen John Hopkins 2018, rchen40@jhu.edu
  • Sanjay Elangovan John Hopkins 2019, selango1@jhu.edu
  • Location: Baltimore, MD 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


Perle Converter - Research in the Duke Electrical Engineering Department has led to a cutting-edge advancement in hardware used in the conversion of electricity. The U.S. electrical grid delivers power in the form of Alternating Current (AC), but there are many applications that generate, store, or use Direct Current (DC). Users of these applications need to be able to convert between these forms regularly. There are conventional inverters that are used to perform this task, but they operate at low efficiencies, losing electricity along the way, and come at a high cost. Our new technology uses innovative circuitry design to perform this conversion at higher efficiencies, with a more robust performance, and at a lower cost. This new technology has applications within multiple industries and can be used with solar panels, battery storage, and the growing electric vehicle (EV) market. 

Other companies have started to use semiconductors and chip components to replace conventional inverters. These converters are known as Modular Multilevel Converters (MMC), and they use the semiconductor switches to take a DC input and create an AC output while effectively connecting the power sources in series. Our breakthrough comes with an original design that places power sources not only in series configurations but also in parallel. The parallel configuration is significant as it provides additional functionality and improved performance. This design is known as Modular Multilevel Series and Parallel Converter (MMSPC). Our new MMSPC technology will reduce conversion costs by up to 50% while at the same time improving efficiency, reliability, and robustness of the overall system. 


  • Chris Dougher, Fuqua School of Business and Nicholas School of the Envrionmnet, 2018, cmd62@duke.edu
  • Stefan Goetz, Assistant Prof, Medical School / Pratt School of Engineering, stefan.goetz@duke.edu 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Clean Energy


Scanslated - Patients now have unprecedented access to their medical records through online patient portals. While this is a welcome change, the problem is that most of the content available through the online portal is intended for medical professionals, and is not presented in a form that is useful to the patient. Perhaps the worst offender is the radiology report. Current radiology reports are highly technical documents full of complex medical jargon that few patients understand. Patients are left on their own to figure out what these reports are saying, often turning to search engines for answers, which only leads to more confusion and anxiety. Our solution is Scanslated, a software platform that takes the written, technical radiology report and automatically transforms it into a patient-friendly, diagrammatic, interactive webpage, functioning as a means of direct communication from medical imaging expert to patient. Scanslated will empower patients through improved understanding of imaging as it relates to healthcare decision-making, and will foster more meaningful engagement between patients and providers. 


  • Nicholas Befera MD, Duke University Medical Center, Nicholas.Befera@duke.edu
  • Ryan Short MD, Duke University Medical Center, Ryan.Short@duke.edu
  • Raj Gondalia MD, Duke University Medical Center, Raj.Gondalia@duke.edu 
  • Yianni Lagos JD MBA, Yianni.Lagos@gmail.com 
  • Location: Durham, NC 
  • Track: Healthcare & Life Sciences


SeaChange Technologies - SeaChange Technologies, LLC (SeaChange) is a startup focused on solving water scarcity, purification, and disposal challenges.  The SeaChange process addresses the key drawbacks of existing desalination technologies, including intensive energy requirements, polluting brine wastewater byproduct, and high maintenance costs.  To enter the market, we are focused on developing a solution for oil and gas producers struggling to dispose or recycle “produced water”, a high-salinty regulated waste byproduct which is the single highest cost component of oil/gas production. 

  • Dipak Mahato, PhD Nicholas, former DCRI staff, 2013, dmahato@seachangetechnologies.com 
  • Jose Magana, 2016 Fuqua MBA and Nicholas School of Environment. 
  • Location: Raleigh, NC 
  • Track: Clean Energy


Yakma Body Care Company - Organic skin care products are expected to experience significant growth at a CAGR of 9.8 between 2014 and 2020. This tremendous growth is attributed to rising demand for chemical free skin care products along with changing lifestyle of consumers regarding to organic care. Additionally, increase in disposable income also contributed to the continuous growth of the industry. 

In response to such high market demand, Yakma Body Care Company, a social enterprise, crafts yak milk based, locally sourced, organic/all natural and cruelty free body care products from communities in the Tibetan Plateau. 

  • Yuqian Torbert, Trinity 2011, dawatorbert@gmail.com 
  • Danma Jyid, MA, University of Sydney, Australia, 2016 
  • Location: Fuquay Varina, NC 
  • Track: Social Enterprises
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