BenDaniel Venture Challenge

The Annual Pitch Competition hosted by the Big Red Ventures

The BenDaniel Venture Challenge (BVC) is Big Red Venture’s Annual Pitch Competition. Five finalists will pitch their business ideas to an investor panel during Entrepreneurship at Cornell Celebration. Winners of the competition will earn up a cash prize totaling over $30,000 to push their idea forward. The competition will take place in the Amphitheater of the Statler Hotel at Cornell University in the Spring of 2020 – date to follow shortly.


Statler Hotel Amphitheater
130 Statler Dr, Ithaca, NY


Key Statistics

Prize Money – $30,000+
Applications Received – 100+
Number of Years Running – 8


Feel free to contact us.



Eligibility Requirements

Cornell affiliation
or New York State based company






Updates Available Soon

2019  Winners


The Prizes


1st Place Prize


2nd Place Prize


3rd Place Prize

*The Cornell Center for Technology Licensing will match the prize money for companies using technologies licensed from Cornell University.
The Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) is Cornell University’s technology transfer office. They manage technology for Cornell’s Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medical Colleges, Cornell Tech and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. CTL’s mission is to bring the University’s scientific discoveries, technological innovations, and medical advances to the marketplace for societal benefit and to foster economic development within New York State and across the nation.
CVC 2019

2019 Cornell Venture Challenge

Applicants: 78


OneThree Biotech (First Place)

EINO (Second Place)

Xallent (Third Place)

Antithesis (Finalist)

Grow (Finalist)

Organic Robotics (Finalist)

CVC 2018

2018 Cornell Venture Challenge

Applicants: 70


Soundskrit (First Place)

Soundskrit is fundamentally changing the way sound is measured to bring the next generation of audio applications. Emerging voice interfaces have driven a need to capture sound from farther distances while remaining robust to noise. Because traditional microphones pick up sound coming from every direction, arrays of multiple microphones are needed to listen to a specific direction and ignore surrounding noise. Soundskrit has designed a novel microphone membrane that uses a bio-inspired geometry to get directional information. With a single microphone, we can separate sounds coming from multiple directions without compromising on size or quality. Soundskrit will greatly improve speech recognition and sound localization, enabling a new suite of features to consumer electronics.

Combplex (Second Place)

In the last 10+ years beekeepers have had to face new threats to their bees, such as new pesticides, pathogens, parasites, and declining forage in agricultural landscapes. Annual losses regularly exceed 30% of managed colonies nation wide and even the most knowledgeable beekeepers struggle to keep their colonies healthy. In the meantime, demand for bee pollination services in the US continues to rise every year. Combplex helps beekeepers meet growing demand for pollination and keep more bees alive by enabling them to triage unhealthy colonies and manage their operations efficiently, without time consuming physical inspections. Combplex is bringing big data and bee behavior analytics to commercial beekeeping to keep our insect pollinators (and the dependent industries) healthy and strong.

Crater (Third Place)

Crater is local news for anew generation powered by your community. We believe that the best way to provide local news is to empower the community itself by putting tools and templates in the hands of local storytellers to create meaningful videos about local issues and interests. Our approach is grassroots, authentic, personal, and engaging. Your life happens locally, your media sources should too.

Pixorize (Finalist)

Pixorize is avisual learning platform where anyone can make and share interactive images. Born out of our experiences in medical school, Pixorize optimizes image-based learning and makes studying more efficient. Visit us online at to see how we are helping change the face of education.

Response (Finalist)

With one mobile application, Response centralizes the giving process for donors and solves the data crisis holding US charities back. It outperforms traditional donation platforms because it identifies causes that users actually care about, provides consistent updates on how donations are being used, and doesn’t spam donors for money.

CVC 2017

2017 Cornell Venture Challenge

Applicants: 63


Farther Farms (First Place)

Farther Farms has a unique technological solution which dramatically extends the shelf life of fresh vegetables, increasing flexibility for the growing convenience consumer segment, while simultaneously reducing the food waste associated with spoilage at the consumer level. In addition, Farther Farms products do not require refrigeration, greatly reducing their environmental impact through reduced energy utilization. Their first product is a shelf-stable, hand-cut french fry, which is cost-competitive with refrigerated products, but also has lower calories.

Droice Labs (Second Place)

Droice Labs brings the power of artificial intelligence to hospitals. The company’s technology provides personalized predictions of how a given treatment (e.g., a drug or a medical device) will perform for a given patient. This software solution is based on a combination of the latest medical research and learning algorithms, which together analyze how a treatment has performed on similar patients in the past by aggregating data from millions of patient records and treatment plans. This allows doctors to consider all of their options in real-time and choose the right treatment. By giving doctors the information they need when they need it most, Droice has been shown to reduce the average length of treatment, decrease complication rates, and streamline patient flow through health systems.

XBoard (Third Place)

XBoard is on a mission to preserve the pure experience of extreme sports while seamlessly – almost invisibly – infusing cutting-edge technology so you can take the experience you love to a whole new level. Founded by Ivy League trained engineers, designers and entrepreneurs, the XBoard team aims to sport experiences you already love and take it to new heights. Zero Compromises. Their first product: Zero by XBoard, is the world’s first trickable electric skateboard.

Pure Spinach (Finalist)

Pure Spinach sells hydroponic spinach which is healthy, delicious, and grown locally. Their technological approach to this difficult crop is scalable, and can increase the quality of Spinach sold year-round, while also eliminating risks of bacterial contamination.

Bambify (Finalist)

Bambify connects U.S. apparel businesses with manufacturers abroad through a robust, user friendly online marketplace.

CVC 2016

2016 Cornell Venture Challenge

Applicants: XX


S.A.L.T. (First Place)

Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects 1 in 3 (78 million) Americans and exceeds $51 billion in yearly costs to the US healthcare system. Importantly, high blood pressure is the #1 cause of preventable death worldwide and sodium is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure. Sodium Analyte Level Test (S.A.L.T.) is the first smartphone-based device on the market capable of measuring daily salt intake at home. The device, consisting of a disposable stick and mobile app, utilizes computer vision processing and a patented algorithm to provide a physiological measurement of daily salt intake from one urine sample.

Twiage (Second Place)

Twiage is an award-winning prehospital communication platform that enables hospitals to triage incoming ambulances. Twiage reduces the need for antiquated radio communication and delivers real-time patient data from ambulances directly to hospitals. Powered by a proprietary algorithm and GPS-tracked ETA, Twiage provides hospitals and Emergency Departments with complete situational awareness about incoming ambulance traffic, so hospitals can more efficiently manage Emergency Department’s throughput and prehospital coordination, while improving performance measures, patient outcomes, referral relationships, and reducing costs.

FloraPulse (Third Place)

Flora Pulse has developed the only sensors that can measure how thirsty a plant is, automatically and real-time. These sensors will help vineyards, and growers in general, increase yields and product quality, while reducing water use. Our vineyard users can expect 12% higher revenues and >20% water savings because of never-before-possible field maps of water stress, delivered digitally. Our turnkey solution only requires a yearly per-acre fee and we do the rest! (Finalist)

17% of 2015 US e-commerce was in apparel and accessory retail ($60B). The number of creators launching small to medium size e-commerce businesses is growing by 10% year over year. To get their apparel inventory made, creators still have to go to trade shows, talk to agents, and fly around the world to visit factories. The manufacturing industry is a completely new frontier for technology – no one has integrated pricing, sampling, and production into a single platform. At, creators can sample from multiple factory sources and produce with the best supplier for their needs, all from their browser.

RoboTC (Finalist)

RoboTC is a universal brain for robots. Our plug- and-play hardware and simple software modules instantly give any robot the ability to do incredible things. We neutralize the two largest problems facing anyone building a robot: writing code to give it intelligence, and integrating that code with it’s hardware. RoboTC is accelerating the robotics revolution by democratizing state-of-the-art robotics development.

CVC 2015
CVC 2014
CVC 2013

2013 Cornell Venture Challenge

Cognical (First Place)

Founded by Brandon Wright MBA’12 and Chinedu Eleanya ’12, Cognical builds intelligent decision engines. Cogincal uses the most sophisticated deep learning algorithms in the world to find hidden and complex patterns in data that are predictive of successful outcomes. Their SaaS platform drives revenue and cost savings for industries in which execution requires recurring decisions based on imperfect data, including finance, insurance, and marketing.

Empire Robotics (Second Place)

Founded by Bill Culley ’06, MEng ’07, MBA ’12 and John Amend PhD ’13, Empire Robotics is a Cornell University technology spinout. The company has an exclusive license to IP developed at Cornell, and is commercializing a platform robotics technology through its first product, a universal robot gripper. This gripper solves a fundamental problem in the $25B industrial automation market of gripping and manipulating varied objects. Manufacturers in food processing, automotive, consumer goods, and more are the end customers.

Oratel (Third Place)

Led by CEO, John Tauzel MBA’12, Oratel Diagnostics has developed the initial application of a breakthrough technology platform. The first product identifies the ideal period to inseminate dairy cattle. Using our rapid, in-field prototyping approach, we have demonstrated the ability to save farms at least $100/cow/year. Our product provides an instant, simple, cost-effective solution. The company is ready to deliver this unique product to the global dairy market. Longer-term, the technology will be extended to other livestock and human fertility issues.

Histovision (Finalist)

HistoVision provides proprietary technology to improve existing cancer clinical pathology tests by enabling the simultaneous detection of two cancer biomarkers rather than one. Combined with copyrighted software for rapid and standardized quantification, this technology yields superior diagnostic and prognostic clinical indicators, while nearly doubling reimbursement rates for the clinical laboratory. Histovision’s CEO is Victor Fedorov.

Yorango (Finalist)

Yorango is an online platform for posting, browsing, renting, leasing, and managing property. Yorango combines a property discovery system with a property management tool. Potential tenants can browse through listings, rent and sublet spaces, pay rent online, communicate with their landlords, and manage their space. Landlords can use Yorango to keep tabs on their properties, process maintenance requests, organize rental payments, and manage their business.


CVC 2012
CVC 2011
CVC 2010

2010 Cornell Venture Challenge

Cortical Concepts (CEO: Evan Luxon) Cortical Concepts has developed a device for use in spinal surgery that increases the strength of fixation in osteoporotic bone.

Expedient Shopping (CEO: Jing Wang) Expedient Shopping redefines the online shopping experience for women by offering the highest discounts on brand new, authentic designer goods.

Ezra Pharmaceutical (CEO: Daniel Knecht) Ezra Pharmaceutical Inc. is a start-up whose mission is to develop a first ever preventative treatment for diabetes-associated blindness.

RainSaucers (CEO: Thomas Spargo) RainSaucers Inc. has developed a low-cost rainwater collection system that can provide safe drinking water for families in developing countries.

ZetrOZ (CEO: Bryant Guffey) ZetrOZ? is building the first and only wearable pain therapy system which uses ultrasound to lower pain, increase mobility, and heal injuries without the use of drugs.

CVC 2009

2009 Cornell Venture Challenge

Bombyx Technologies (1st Place)

Bombyx Technologies regenerates eyesight that has been lost due to injury. Through innovative technology this medical device company will introduce a less expensive, less invasive, and more effective alternative to the current solution (corneal transplants).

Sound Reading Solutions, Inc. (2nd Place)

Sound Reading Solutions (SRS) is a revolutionary literacy system based on advanced neurological research into dyslexia, which affects 30% of English language readers. Our innovative software and reading practice produces unrivaled improvement (> 1 standard deviation) by using proprietary cognitive learning methods. SRS is fun, fast and effective.

iFyber LLC (3rd Place)

iFyber LLC seeks to be the world leader in customized nanotechnology based fabric treatments, processes and products for the military, medical and technical textile markets.