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Start-ups in emergency medicine, older adult care and quantum sensing all take home $75,000

Harvard SEAS graduate student Michael Finn-Henry standing between interim president Alan Garber and Harvard Innovation Labs director Matt Segneri

Michael Finn-Henry receives his President's Innovation Challenge award for EndoShunt Medical Inc., alongside interim Harvard President Alan Garber and Matt Segneri, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director for the Harvard Innovation Labs (Evgenia Eliseeva)

Start-ups co-founded by students or alumni from the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) took the top prize in three of five categories at the 2024 Harvard Innovation Labs President’s Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony at Harvard Business School’s Klarman Hall. Combined with two Ingenuity Awards for early-stage start-ups, SEAS students brought in more than $230,000 in prize funding, made possible by a gift from the Bertarelli Foundation, at the annual event.

NetBet Casino“Engineers have the best platform to become entrepreneurs,” said Michael Finn-Henry, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at SEAS who co-founded EndoShunt, the top prize winning venture in the Student Health & Life Sciences track. “In engineering, oftentimes you iterate, take risks and risk failure, and entrepreneurs do the same thing. You need to be excited about what you’re working on, but you also need to be aware that you might pivot or have to overcome adversity.”

EndoShunt, which was awarded $75,000, isolates blood vessel injuries in the abdomen by creating a lining in the blood vessel allowing blood to flow through the vessel but not out of the wound. This keeps blood flowing to the rest of the body as the trauma surgeon locates and treats the wound, significantly reducing the risk of the patient bleeding to death.

Harvard SEAS graduate student Wale Lawal standing between interim president Alan Garber and Harvard Innovation Labs director Matt Segneri

Wale Lawal receives his President's Innovation Challenge award for MesaQuantum, alongside interim Harvard President Alan Garber and Matt Segneri, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director for the Harvard Innovation Labs (Evgenia Eliseeva)

“I came to Harvard wanting to have an impact, and to me EndoShunt is the biggest way I can do that,” Finn-Henry said. “I netbet casino appwasn’t expecting to be doing a start-up so early in my Ph.D., but it’s an amazing opportunity.”

MesaQuantum took first place in the Student Open Track. Co-founded by MS/MBA student Wale Lawal, MesaQuantum is developing chip-scale quantum sensors that can serve as an alternative form of position, navigation, and time (PNT) when GPS signals are inaccessible or weak. These chips will be relevant in a variety of applications that range from underwater sensing for climate monitoring to the development of Level 5 full autonomous vehicles.  

“At MesaQuantum, we are taking the same technology in GPS and miniaturizing it into a chip,” Lawal said. “This is useful for the military in GPS-denied environments, as well as our critical infrastructure such as the energy grid, telecommunication towers, and data centers that need GPS timing signals. By integrating these chips inside our systems, we can ensure we always have the necessary PNT signals despite any disruption to GPS. We were excited about this opportunity, and decided to take the research out of the lab, bend it into a business entity, and over time create a series of products that create an alternative to GPS using the power of quantum.”

Harvard SEAS alumna Emily Wang standing between interim president Alan Garber and Harvard Innovation Labs director Matt Segneri

NetBet CasinoEmily Wang, A.B. '18, receives her President's Innovation Challenge award for Beaver Health, alongside interim Harvard President Alan Garber and Matt Segneri, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director for the Harvard Innovation Labs (Evgenia Eliseeva)

Emily Wang, A.B. ‘18, founded Beaver Health, which won the Alumni & Affiliates Open track. Beaver Health is a National Institutes of Health-backed online platform that offers evidenced-based activities geared towards improving the cognition and quality of life of older adults. Wang, a computer science concentrator at SEAS, devised Beaver Health after becoming caregiver for her own grandmother. Wang realized that innovative treatments and engaging activities were not accessible and largely unknown to most families, so she applied her software engineering, AI, and medical research skills to start a company to provide them.

“What stands out about the President’s Innovation Challenge and the Harvard Innovation Labs is that they're both focused on social impact and changing the world,” Wang said. “It’s rare to find and join a community where everyone is so passionate about solving real problems.”

The $2,700 Ingenuity Awards went to MicroAvionics and Alba. Spun out of research in the Joost Vlassak Group at SEAS, MicroAvionics is producing ultra-lightweight platforms netbet casino appthat levitate using sunlight, eliminating the need for onboard fuel or power. The platforms have the potential to provide atmospheric and climate data from the mesosphere, a region of Earth’s atmosphere beyond the reach of conventional aircraft and satellites, and could also be used in the atmosphere of Mars. The company was co-founded by Ben Schafer, a current Ph.D. student in applied physics, and former applied math graduate student Angela Feldhaus, S.M. ‘20.

Five Harvard students standing between interim president Alan Garber and Harvard Innovation Labs director Matt Segneri

Harvard SEAS students Ben Schafer and Deepika Gopalakrishnan were among five founders recognized with Ingenuity Awards for early-stage start-ups at the President's Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony (Evgenia Eliseeva)

“It’s definitely been a whirlwind,” Schafer said. “If you’d asked me a couple years ago, I would’ve said there’s no way we’d be doing this now. We’ve found there’s actually a market for what our technology could provide, and we’re really excited to take the next step.”

Alba, co-founded by Master of Design Engineering students Deepika Gopalakrishnan, Binita Gupta and Priyanka Pillai, is designing disposable wipes to help the visually impaired identify the onset of their periods.

“This is the best day of the year for us, because NetBet Casinowe get to spotlight our amazing community, and show how they turn ideas into impact,” said Matt Segneri, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director for the Harvard Innovation Labs. “The iLab is a community where you can be yourself. It’s a space for people to channel their passion and purpose to build things that matter.”

SEAS ventures have consistently performed well at the President’s Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony. Recent prize winners from SEAS include Penguin.ai and Stochastic in 2023, Limax Biosciences in 2022, and Beacon Bio in 2021.

NetBet Poker Applied Physics, Awards, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship, Health / Medicine, Industry, Master of Design Engineering, Materials Science & Mechanical Engineering, MS/MBA, Quantum Engineering

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