2016-2017‎ > ‎


These teams advance to Round 3 - Summer portion of the Duke Startup Challenge, to let them focus on their startup during the summer.  They will participate in the Grand Finale contingent on the judges' selections.

YouTube Video

Watch the video playlist showcasing each of these startups.

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
See the youtube video here!

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

Edible Impact - 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
See the youtube video here!

Flower Child Remedies (video) - 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
See the youtube video here!

GO Leafe - GO Leafe 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 
  • Meagan Pagliara, Fuqua 2017, meagan.pagliara@duke.edu
  • Location: Morrisville, NC 
  • Track: Clean Energy
See the youtube video here!

In-Video Impressions

In-Video Impressions helps adtech companies identify viewers of product placement & media integrations in TV & movies. We enable brands to advertise to viewers of TV product placements, and enable retail opportunities for the products in the set and costume on screen.  We have developed proprietary image recognition and machine learning software and processes to aggregate this data with input from production studios, brands, and advertising agencies.  

As TV viewing shifts to streaming and OTT devices where commercials are skipped, brands' advertising spend is shifting to media integrations/ product placement (un-skippable content.)  We track every instance of this advertising and enable digital advertising opportunities based on these brand interactions.

See the youtube video here!

 - 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
See the youtube video here!

LivingLAB - LivingLAB is a platform for helping tenants find roommates, and groups of roommates find rental properties. Tenants get value from easily finding roommates in high quality housing that is less expensive than an apartment, and completely furnished. Landlords receive value through diversifying risk across many tenants and higher cumulative rents. We have implimented this idea on seven properties and raised returns on rental properties by 48% on average. 

  • 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: Internet, IT, and media
See the youtube video here!

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
See the youtube video here!

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
See the youtube video here!

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
See the youtube video here!

Voyij Alaska – Voyij is the trusted local source for travel information.  We manage an online platform that connects travelers to local businesses in remote cruise destinations.

Our port discovery tool helps visitors connect meaningfully with the places they visit, both before their trip on our website and during their trip on our mobile app.  

Local businesses also benefit with increased exposure to a broad audience of targeted travelers and better data-backed insight into how their customers interact with their brand.  We are the first business in our market to use digital and mobile technology to personalize the cruise passengers in-port travel experience. www.voyij.io

See the youtube video here!