Duquesne’s Palumbo-Donahue School of Business announces that 18 entrants have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2023-2024 Duquesne New Venture Challenge (DNVC), which offers cash and service prizes valued at more than $100,000. 

Now in its fifth year, the three-stage competition showcases start-up ideas from aspiring entrepreneurs from the Pittsburgh region and beyond. All types of business plans were eligible for entry. 
"The DNVC set several records this year, including the largest, most diverse and most impressive set of entries to date,” said Palumbo-Donahue School of Business Dean Dr. Dean McFarlin. “We received dozens of entries from students representing five schools at Duquesne as well as additional entries from coast to coast.”
During the first stage of the DNVC, entrants submitted written summaries of their ideas with a one-minute "elevator pitch" video. Semifinalists were selected by a panel of judges that considered entrants' summaries, management team, problem/opportunity addressed, proposed solution/product, target market, implementation approach, business model and financial projections, and potential exit avenues.  
Three entrants received cash prizes for the best video pitch:  
·      First place: Studie – technology offering learning through a virtual professor interface
·      Second place: BevSnack – drinkable snacks for managing carbohydrate intake
·      Third place: Revitalize Energy – energizing eye drop designed to alleviate eye fatigue.
"Our expert judging panel worked overtime this year to review and rank the large number of excellent entries and bring this competition to life for startups across the United States," said Staci Offutt, director of the Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship. 
Five semifinalists include Duquesne alumni or current students. The following entrants, listed in alphabetical order, have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2023-2024 DNVC: 
·      AneuRisk – personalized prediction app for patients with arterial aneurysms 
·      Aquatonomy – autonomous robotic underwater infrastructure inspection  
·      Crum Creek – self-powered UV-based air-duct purification for HVAC systems 
·      dashcam.bike – bicycle-mounted stabilizing camera technology 
·      FlowCellutions – enables the maturity of flow batteries through diagnostics solutions 
·      Informuta – infectious disease detection enables precision medicine via analytics 
·      Lexi Medical – deep-brain stimulation improves speech in post-stroke patients 
·      Musicals for Change – produces musicals for nonprofits to raise awareness  
·      Orchestra AI – AI-powered extension of a company's digital marketing team 
·      Pacto Medical – pre-filled syringes reduce shipping costs and environmental impact 
·      PadIAD – incontinence pads notify hospital staff when patient help is needed 
·      PharmaFlex – incorporates daily doses of drugs into a patient-friendly format 
·      Qarar – creates CFO-ready business cases quickly, closing more deals faster 
·      Revitalize Energy – energizing eye drop designed to alleviate eye fatigue 
·      ScOAPe – flexible endoscope sheath to enable lens-cleaning during surgery 
·      Studie – technology offering learning through a virtual professor interface 
·      Tooli – tooling/equipment rental application using a community platform model 
·      Velo AI – improving road safety through proactive bicyclist alert system. 
Semifinalists receive six months of access to business-planning software and must submit an executive summary, short business plan and five-minute video pitch for the second stage. Upon submitting these materials, semifinalist teams each receive $1,000 for participating. 
Up to five finalist teams will be selected to advance to the third stage of the competition, which offers $41,000 in cash as well as service prizes, including $20,000 for first place. 
Finalists will have access to the resources of DNVC’s sponsors, including Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center, Thomas R. Kline School of Law and the Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship as they advance their businesses and prepare for final presentations in the Louis D. Mallet Entrepreneurship Zone. Winners will be announced at an awards reception in April.  

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,000 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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January 11, 2024