Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition will award $45k in prizes to students and alumni

Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition

Are you someone who is full of ideas and waiting to make them a reality?

Do you already have a venture and are looking for ways to grow capital?

Are you part of a translational research team looking for more funding to move your research closer to a startup? 

Do you want to make a social impact on the world and build a business at the same time?

Get your business ready to pitch with Skills Labs

March 8: Building a Strong Team

March 10: Centering Your Business on a Value Proposition

March 24: Running a SWOT Analysis for Your Business or Idea

March 29: Refining Your Pitch Deck

March 31: Building a Brand Message

April 5: Business Formation and Intellectual Property

April 7: Business Financials 101


If you’re a CWRU student or alum between 2018-2022, and you answered yes to any of the questions above, you’re invited to apply to the 2022-2023 Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition (MPSC)!


Applications open January 25 and are due February 19.


Hosted by the Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with LaunchNET and think[box], MPSC will be held on April 11, 2023 and is open to those who have an idea, venture, or project—or who want to put one together to see where it takes them. The competition, which will offer $45,000 in prizes, now features 4 individual tracks:


Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition Venture Track
Venture Track

Pitch your already existing venture for additional funding.

Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition Idea Track
Idea Track

Demonstrate the discovery of a meaningful problem with a meaningful solution (idea) that has market potential.

Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition Research Track
Research Track (NEW!)

Pitch your plan to move your research from lab to market.

Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition Social Impact Track
Social Impact Track (NEW!)

Address a critical social problem with an ethical, sustainable and marketable solution.


A video application guide is available:



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

This year, MPSC teams will be partnered with experienced mentors, and have the opportunity to participate in entrepreneurial programming throughout the Spring semester.

6 Skills Labs will be offered leading up to the event in April:

  • 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

Teams are encouraged to participate in as many Skills Labs as possible so they can refine their pitches before their presentation at MPSC. Skills Labs will be offered in a hybrid form, with in person and Zoom options.


We’re Here to Help

We want to help you make your application process as smooth as possible.

If you have any further questions after watching this video, please email the MPSC coordinator and Veale Institute’s assistant director of student entrepreneurship Stacey Manz Lotz at


Applications open January 25 and are due February 19.

MPSC is open to current students, postdocs and alumni who have graduated between 2018-2022. If you have previously won first place at MPSC you are no longer eligible to apply.

The culminating day of MPSC is on April 11, 2023 at the think[box] on campus at Case Western Reserve University. 

Skills Labs programming leading up to the competition will be held in the 6th floor conference room of the think[box]. Come back to this page for finalized information on Skills Lab dates and times.

No, you do not need to already have a business. The Idea Track, Social Impact Track, and Research Track are all open to those who have not yet formulated a business plan or entity.

Inversely, if you have already formed a startup, you are encouraged to apply to the Venture Track. The Social Impact Track also accepts applications for current startups.

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 April 11 event!

Watch this video run-through of the application, and let us know if you have any additional questions after!

If you have any more questions, please email the MPSC coordinator and Veale Institute’s assistant director of student entrepreneurship Stacey Manz Lotz at


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).