Leaficient, developers of technology to reduce energy costs and increase LED light efficiency within Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), wins the 2022-2023 Duquesne New Venture Challenge.

Leaficient, developers of technology to reduce energy costs and increase LED light efficiency within Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), wins the 2022-2023 Duquesne New Venture Challenge 

As first prize winners of the prestigious annual pitch competition, Leaficient receives $15,000 and access to the resources of DNVC’s sponsors, including Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center, the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University, and the Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship. Leaficient team members include Mike Stancil, Brian Stancil, Andy Rape and Duquesne entrepreneurship student Abby Kennedy. 

Hosted by the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business, the DNVC competition offers cash and service prizes valued at more than $100,000 and the opportunity for entrepreneurship teams to put their ideas to the test and secure funding for their ventures.  

To combat the challenges farmers face, including how crops can only grow in certain parts of the world and be harvested just a few times per season, first prize winner Leaficient has developed innovative agricultural solutions to optimize energy consumption and maximize quality and nutrition.   

"Year after year, we continue to be impressed by the tremendous entrepreneurs who enter the Duquesne New Venture Challenge, and this year’s group of finalists have been some of the sharpest, most innovative teams yet,” said Dr. Dean McFarlin, dean of the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business. “I’m very proud that several of our finalists included current Duquesne students, as we strive to prepare our students to pursue bigger goals and make a profound difference in the world. We wish the best for each of our DNVC finalists and look forward to seeing the cutting-edge ventures our teams present next year!” 

Leaficient was one of 20 entrants to advance to the competition's semi-final round and one of eight teams selected as finalists. The teams were selected by a panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs, executives and investors.

The following entrants were finalists of the 2022-2023 Duquesne New Venture Challenge:  

8th place, winning $2,000 - Alert Lift, a garage door alert and opening system for carbon monoxide poisoning prevention. Team members include Dan Durochik, Betty Durochik, Duquesne affiliate Robert Lois, and mentor Don Lodge, Senior Business Consultant of Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center.   

7th place, winning $2,000 – Freshly, a space-saving breastmilk storage solution that systematically organizes, flash-freezes, and prevents contamination. The team consists of Duquesne graduate student Job Arita Mogoba.  

6th place, winning $2,000 - Mixroom Software, a platform for audio professionals with tools, portfolio sharing, and real-time feedback. Team members include TidQuan Grant and Duquesne entrepreneurship student Diego Lopez.  

5th place, winning $3,000 – Ocellux, a mobile screening app for diabetic retinopathy that pairs with a phone-attached ophthalmoscope. Team members include Bingda Li, Devansh Parikh, Mukunthan Tharmakulasingam, and Duquesne Biomedical Engineering Professor Dr. Bin Yang.  

4th place, winning $3,000 - CAUTI-gone, developers of valved urinary catheters that reduce incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Team members include Duquesne students Katie Haley, Nathan Watkins, Austin Connor, Lucia Secaida Del Cid and mentor Rich Longo, Director of Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center.  

3rd place winning $6,000 - Brella Health, producers of raised, flexible bandages for packed wounds that reduce strain on patient skin and allow for fewer dressing changes. Team members include Jonathan Petrashune, Elyse Breakwell, Katy Petrashune, Adam Petrashune, Duquesne Nursing Professor and Director of the Biomedical Engineering/BSN Program Dr. Yvonne Weideman, and mentor Rich Longo, Director of Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center.  

2nd place, winning $8,000 - Revitalize Energy, energizing eyedrops that relieve the effects of screen fatigue using a patented formulation of stimulants and amino acids. Team members include Kyle Guiness, Tammy Szijarto, Duquesne affiliate Nicole Bohatch, BME student, and mentor Tyler Benninger of Duquesne’s Small Business Development Center.

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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April 14, 2023

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