Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition

The final event of the 2023 Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition had an energetic crowd and an inspiring group of students and alumni pitching their projects for the chance to win funding. Everyone enjoyed a lively networking hour and got a chance to sample food from local entrepreneurs Redheart (Michael Zhou and Danny Lee), Smokin’ Bettie’s BBQ Sauces (David Ball) and Bon Appetit.

Taking place on the brand new Community Space floor of the think[box], finalists pitched their ventures, ideas, and research to audience members and judges in four separate rooms.

While every finalist brought their A-game to their pitches and impressed us all, only a few could be awarded prize money.

Congratulations to this year's winners!

Research Track Winners


Hyperion Therapeutics: $3,000 awarded to Jennings Luu

Bladder Patch for Treatment of Obstetric Fistula: $3,000 awarded to Ilaha Isali


Voice Analytics for Pathology Tracking: $1,000 awarded to Millan PatelKatelyn VlastarisMatthew Glaros and Andrew Ye

Social Impact Track Winners


Cocoa Potash: $5,000 awarded to Ibrahim Quagraine


Sonali Bags: $1,000 awarded to Tanvir Hasan

Idea Track Winners

Retflix: $3,500 awarded to Kevin Arndt, Amy BudzichowskiMaya KapurSonia Kim, Bhavya Krishna, Parshva Sanghvi
Anti-asporin Antibody: $3,500 awarded to Ila Mishra

Venture Track Winners


Lumilin Therapeutics: $15,000 awarded to David Suh (CWR '22), Grayson DerossiAahana KanyalKerry McConnaughayKendall RogoffAna Salas


Asclepii: $5,000 awarded to Franco Kraiselburd

Lighthanded Enterprises: $5,000 awarded to Steven Burns (CWR '11, MEM ’11) and Matthew McPheeters (CWR ’12, GRS ’13, PHD ’21)


2021-22 Awardees

Idea Track

1st place: LEAF led by Evan Haug (CWR ‘21, electrical engineering and systems and control) won $7,500.
2nd place: UAVistas led by India Johnson (CWR '17, biology) won $2,500. 

Venture Track

1st placeNeverEnding led by Jamie Van Doren won $15,000.
2nd placeCleanr led by Max Pennington (CWR ‘22, chemical engineering) won $5,000.
3rd PlaceMicah Specialty Foods let by Nana Kwamena Takyi Micah (MGT ‘24).


Named After Legendary Cleveland Venture Capitalists

The Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition is named after venture capital leaders David Morgenthaler and Bob Pavey, whose valued input has been a key component of the success of the CWRU Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship.

Morgenthaler, who was a mechanical engineer and made early investments in companies like Apple Computers and Manufacturing Data Systems, was an active supporter of Case Western Reserve University initiatives in management, medicine and international engagement. His venture capital firm was founded in 1968 in Cleveland, where he lived for several decades. The New York Times referred to him as someone who shaped venture capitalism, and The Wall Street Journal called him “one of venture capital’s founding fathers.” 

Within a year of starting his firm, Morganthaler took on Bob Pavey as a partner. According to Pavey, Morgenthaler told him, “There's only one thing that will get you fired: telling me what you think I want to hear.”

Pavey sits on the Board of Trustees at Case Western Reserve University, and as an angel investor his focus is on seed companies run by experienced entrepreneurs in California and Ohio. His involvement with the Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition includes contributing generous funding for the prize money.


Not Just a Competition

In 2023, MPSC teams were partnered with experienced mentors, and had the opportunity to participate in Skills Labs entrepreneurial programming throughout the Spring semester:

  • Creating a Compelling Pitch Deck
  • Writing Your Value Proposition
  • Conducting Market Research and a SWOT Analysis
  • Positioning Your Messaging and Building a Brand
  • Business & Team Formation and Creating an Operating Agreement
  • Writing Legal Agreements (IPVC)
  • Budgeting and Financial Modeling


Applications are closed for 2023 and will reopen in 2024.

MPSC is open to current students, postdocs and some alumni. If you have previously won first place at MPSC you are no longer eligible to apply. Exact details will be announced for the 2024 competition at a future date.

Yes, teams are welcome to apply, as well as singular participants. However you can only apply once for the same idea or venture.

Check back for an itinerary on the 2024 event!

Photos by Character Studies Photography