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Burgess New Venture Challenge announces semifinalists for fifth annual competition

By Aaryn Richard
Monday, March 13, 2023

The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation today announces the fifteen semifinalist teams selected to compete in its fifth annual contest, the Burgess New Venture Challenge.

On April 13, the Burgess Institute will host Michigan State University’s premier pitch competition at the Graduate in East Lansing from 4 – 8 PM. The annual competition highlights top student entrepreneurs and celebrates MSU’s growing venture creation ecosystem.

“The Burgess New Venture Challenge is more than a competition,” said Laurel Ofstein, faculty director for the Burgess Institute. “This is high-stakes experiential learning at its best. These fifteen semifinalist teams must prove their ideas are viable; that the market demands their solutions; and, ultimately, that their value propositions hold up to scrutiny.”

2023’s BNVC semifinalists will pitch their ideas during a private session before the student showcase opens to the public at 4 PM. With only five finalist slots available, student venturers will need to convince a panel of expert judges they have what it takes to compete for the $50,000 in total grant prizes.

BNVC requires student applicants to be competition-ready: To qualify to compete, students must enroll in the Burgess Institute’s intensive Discovery and Launch programs, collect feedback about their ideas from potential customers as well as business leaders and venture coaches, and form collaborative teams around their submitted ideas.

“BNVC is a competition that supports student venturers from concept to pitch,” said Paul Jaques, managing director for venture creation for the Burgess Institute. “The BNVC experience ensures students are thinking critically about their ideas. They spend time refining and derisking. They are building skills through action: market research, customer discovery, supply chain — these are essential skills that bring value to their future, whether they pursue their startups or join established firms and innovate from within.”

Introducing 2023’s Burgess New Venture Challenge semifinalists

2023’s Burgess New Venture Challenge semifinalists represent six colleges and over a dozen disciplines of study. Here are this year’s semifinalists:

Axiom Finance

Applicant: Braeden Kantz (, College of Natural Science

Axiom is a decentralized digital banking system that leverages the power of statistics and differential calculus, empowering users to plan for their financial future.


Applicant: Christian Shaman, (, Eli Broad College of Business

A technology learning platform to help students of any age learn to code.


Applicants: Teia Shaman (, College of Natural Science; Unser Jaffry (, Lyman Briggs College; Nicolina Ivanovic (, Eli Broad College of Business; Nasreen Al-Qadi (, Human Medicine; Vincent Nguyen (, Communication Arts & Sciences; Jessica Toomajian (, Eli Broad College of Business

The condom that indicates when there is a hole by turning blue.

Complete Competitor

Applicant: Danielle Hanson (, College of Human Medicine

A business in the form of an application that caters to the mental health and wellbeing of student athletes, providing 24/7 support.


Applicant: Yuktha Pulavarthi (, Eli Broad College of Business

Delicious, homemade, and customizable macarons for your every need!


Applicant: Elliot Smith (, Eli Broad College of Business

Engineering company that installs submersible drones to inspect public water infrastructure.

Odin Classroom

Applicants: Aman Dhruva Thamminana (, College of Engineering; Ramjet Singh Chandok (, College of Engineering

An online coding platform aimed at reducing friction in computer science courses by providing a better user experience and reducing downtime.

Protein Pints

Applicants: Paul Reiss (, Eli Broad College of Business

Protein Pints is a protein ice cream supplement designed for athletic recovery and performance.

Reel Free

Applicant: Alexander Pollack (, College of Natural Science

Prevent falls for individuals using supplemental oxygen.


Applicant: Benjamin Pikus (, Eli Broad College of Business

Top quality, comfortable, patent-pending machine-washable bathmats.

Sparks of Purity Shelter Connect

Applicant: Kevin Wang (, Eli Broad College of Business

Startup dedicated to connecting animal shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues to reduce rates of euthanasia.

Stuck on You Stickers

Applicant: Ella Lynch (, Eli Broad College of Business

Stuck on You Stickers is a one-stop-shop for waterproof stickers that represents you and your interests in the best way possible!


Applicant: Sana Hamdan (, College of Social Science

Talbina is an Islamic nutrition health app that helps Muslims develop holistic lifestyles in a knowledge-learning and goal-achieving platform.


Applicants: Matt Rogien (, Eli Broad College of Business; Logan Nash (, School of Packaging

Launching an innovative pepper spray device with location sharing technologies.


Applicants: Adam Green (, College of Law; Hemkesh Agrawal (, College of Engineering

Simplifying student-led task solutions, using a mobile and web app to connect college students to residents in their communities to complete everyday chores.


The Burgess New Venture Challenge promotes entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation at Michigan State University. The competition identifies strong Spartan startups, provides mentorship and team development workshops and culminates in a year-end showcase event. 2023’s event will be on April 13, 2023, at the Graduate Hotel in East Lansing from 4-8 pm. Find out more about the Burgess New Venture Challenge at

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