The Burgess New Venture Challenge (BNVC) today announces finalists for its first annual contest. A collaboration between Spartan Innovations and the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, BNVC is an early-stage pitch competition bringing together student entrepreneurs and small business supporters from across Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to celebrate Michigan State University’s entrepreneurial spirit and highlight top talent.

Burgess New Venture Challenge logoBNVC finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at the Jackson and Christman Lounges, Wharton Center for the Performing Arts in East Lansing. Selected teams will compete for the chance at over $40K in total cash prizes. The competition’s top prize, sponsored by the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, is $15K.

“BNVC is more than a competition,” said Ken Szymusiak, managing director of the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “Our goal is to create a valuable learning experience for student entrepreneurs here at Michigan State.”

Merging two pitch competitions, GreenLight Michigan and the Broad Business Model Competitions, BNVC requires interested students to complete a battery of workshops, receive feedback from business leaders and mentors, and form collaborative teams around submitted ideas.

Paul Jaques, director of student and community engagement at Spartan Innovations, has been helping Michigan State University students build their businesses for nearly a decade. “We wanted to create a program that culminates in a competition, where students spend time refining their ideas, building their skills, and taking interesting risks that lead to innovation,” said Jaques. “The Burgess New Venture Challenge celebrates a year of hard work for these finalists.”

Burgess New Venture Challenge Finalists

The teams to be showcased at the Burgess New Venture Challenge, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, starting at 5:00 p.m. at the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts are:

BioSolution Innovations LLC

Team: Traverse Jurcisin (, Josh Murray (, and Jonathan Ristola (

BioSolution Innovations makes smart technology for professional plant growers. Through automating the irrigation and fertilizer management process, they help growers reduce costs, increase yields, and eliminate crop loss from mismanagement.

Brightside Coffee Co., LLC

Team: Marisa Weyn ( and Hunter Shoemaker (

Brightside Coffee is a mobile pop-up café serving events in and around the Greater Lansing and Grand Rapids areas. Find us contributing to Michigan’s rapidly growing coffee culture while we strengthen our community’s connections with local small businesses.

Burgundy Labs

Team: Charlie Kolacki ( and Trevor Murphy (

Burgundy Labs is a software development company aimed at innovating the technology used on college campuses. Their current product, TimeSlot, is targeted at learning centers on campuses, providing an easy-to-use scheduling software with many industry-leading features.

Classii LLC

Team: Simeon Goolsby ( and Cam Korzeck (

Classii serves as a social learning network aiming to strengthen our academic community. By parsing publicly available data, students can find other students in their classes, ask questions, and form study groups at their university.

Crown Mallard

Team: Austen Malczewski (, Torre Crown (, and Gavin Hubbard (

Crown Mallard is solving the problem of disposable glove cross-contamination. Their products, the AutoGlove and the AutoGlove dispensing system, keep unused gloves from being exposed to outside contaminants and dispenses one pair of gloves at a time in a user-friendly and cost-efficient way.


Team: Cory Wilson (

Datashapes is an applied research and product development company that designs novel packaging products aimed at solving problems in healthcare. The company specializes in creating market disruptive intellectual property that is licensed or sold to manufacturing companies.

EMAGE Technology

Team: Deepak Kumar ( and Saikat Modal (

EMAGE Technology is building a wireless auto-diagnostics tool to provide a solution to ongoing pipeline safety and reliability problem in industrial settings. The solution automates the inspection procedure and provides vital pipeline information (leaks, cracks, corrosion, material degradation, pressure, etc.) frequently and wirelessly.


Team: Wesley Ma (, Katie Sydlik (, Jose Hernandaz (, and Daniel Ofori-Dankwa (

HealthOpX is the kayak of international medical travel. We provide access to a variety of medical treatment options around the world at low cost and great quality.

Team: Wesley Berry ( is a business-to-business customer assistance robotics company that offers customers a fast, easy way to locate products in a brick-and-mortar retail setting.


Team: Peter Ro (

Meido brings the latest innovations in AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data to cost-conscious industries like casting and automotive supply chain. They aim to provide a pathway to utilize smart factories within the auto industry at an affordable rate with little loss of quality, efficiency, and speed.


Team: Han Wang ( and Akira Nishii (

Perch is an online talent solution for academic research groups, university departments, programs and industrial R&D companies. Using a proprietary matching algorithm, Perch connects applications with employers to build great research groups.


Team: Josh Murray (

Portal-OS organizes your digital life, making it simple to operate within the complex, web-based world. Log on to your personal portal from any device to manage, access, and visualize all of your digital content in one place.


Team: Malik Jackson (

SKOOP specializes in mobility advertising. Our electric bike taxi fleets move passengers from point A to B. Each vehicle has digital advertising displays attached to the exterior and interior. Our screens are always on the move displaying advertising content around town, subsidizing the cost of the ride for the passenger.

Sugoi Audio

Team: Sean Hansen ( and Jonathan Ristola (

Sugoi Audio is a company which works to create unique electronic products while reducing e-waste from returned electronics. We do this by acquiring still working returned products and reorganizing the hardware into an attractive and unique housing.


TeamDemi Yang ( and Niki Yang (

Zonder is a mobile application that gamifies traveling and creates a unique travel profile for each user. It automatically rewards experience to users for visiting places so they can level up, earn badges, and compete with friends.

The Burgess New Venture Challenge is part of MSU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Week, April 15–19, celebrating student and faculty startups, research, and innovations. For more information, registration details and more, please visit