Wolff New Venture Competition

About the Wolff New Venture Competition

The Wolff New Venture Competition features live pitches by the five top startups coming out of UConn each year.

The legwork for the Wolff New Venture Competition begins in March, where 10 startups are hand-selected by an independent panel to participate in the CCEI Summer Fellowship Program. Here, CCEI works to strengthen the support for the university's top entrepreneurial teams and take them beyond business concepts and towards market readiness.

After this eight-week accelerator, the teams present their final pitches to a panel of judges and the top five startups are selected to compete in the Wolff New Venture Competition; chosen on a basis of venture viability and value-added to the market. A panel of venture experts then decides which team deserves the Wolff New Venture Prize and the $20,000 winnings accompanying it.

The 2021 Wolff New Venture Competition will be held on October 25, 2021, from 5-7:30 pm. This event is open to the public. Please contact ccei@uconn.edu with questions.

2021 Wolff Finalists Features:

ProVelocity Bat

2021 Wolff Winners – ProVelocity Bat

Congratulations to ProVelocity Bat lead by Elijah Taitel, undergraduate student in the School of Engineering and Business as for winning the 2021 Wolff New Venture Competition

What makes the ProVelocity Bat unique is a sliding “power barrel” that releases to the impact position when a batter achieves the desired speed. If the swing is incorrect or insufficient, the batter hears only one click. A double click indicates the swing was in the targeted range. The immediate, audible feedback is one of the selling points of the device. Learn more about ProVelocity Bat.

Read more about ProVelocity Bat.

Nicholas Meyers & Mike Martin

2019 Wolff Winners – Phoenix Tailings

Congratulations to Phoenix Tailings for winning the 2019 Wolff New Venture Competition!

Phoenix Tailings recycles industrial mining waste that produces usable material for other industries. Learn more about Phoenix Tailings

"A startup that could rid the earth of vast cesspools of toxic sludge won UConn’s annual Wolff New Venture Competition, and a $20,000 prize, on Monday night.

The entrepreneurial competition honors some of the strongest startup programs with a UConn affiliation. All five of the teams that participated have spent at least a year refining and developing their business plans under the guidance of the School of Business’ Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation..." [read more]


Nicholas Meyers & Mike Martin

2020 Wolff Winners – Pisces Atlantic

Congratulations to Pisces Atlantic for winning the 2020 Wolff New Venture Competition!

Pisces Atlantic aims to render fishmeal-based formulations obsolete by providing species- and application- specific feed formulations that are economical, effective, and generally superior to conventional feed solutions.Learn more about Pisces Atlantic.

"It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that fish-food entrepreneur Peter Goggins ’21 (CAHNR) has reeled in the big one.

Goggins, founder of Pisces Atlantic, was the grand-prize winner of the Wolff New Venture Competition on Monday evening, and the recipient of a $20,000 prize. The annual Wolff competition celebrates five promising UConn-affiliated startups..." [read more]


Reza Amin and Stephanie Knowlton

2018 Wolff Winners – QR Fertile

Congratulations to QRFertile lead by Reza Amin and Stephanie Knowlton, graduate students in the School of Engineering as for winning the 2018 Wolff New Venture Competition

QRFertile is an at home, affordable and easy to use test for male fertility.

Read more about QRFertile.

Kostyantyn Partola

2017 Wolff Winners – Simvize

Congratulations to Simvize (Formally Eir Medical Devices) lead by Kostyantyn Partola, a graduate student in the School of Engineering as well as Dr. George Lykotrafitis for winning the 2017 Wolff New Venture Competition

Simvize (Formally Eir Medical Devices) developed a device designed to help physicians measure patients’ blood viscosity, a traditionally un-used, but promising indicator of cardiac risk, and health for patients on dialysis and certain types of cancers.

Read more about Simvize

Previous Wolff Finalists

Queen BeeRaina Jain, School of Business

All-natural beverage by mixing royal jelly, from beehives with ginger and turmeric. Learn More

Engagement Solutions: Shaleighne Cantner

Startup Offering Lifeline to Families Trying to Access Special Education Services. Learn More

ProVelcocity Bat: Elijah Taitel, School of Business ’22 

New Iteration of Baseball-Training Invention Learn More

InPrint Bio: Jacob Quint, Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering  

Offers Reconstructive Breakthrough After Breast Surgery Learn More

Reactomol: Eugene Pinkhassik (UConn chemistry professors), Sergey Dergunov, and Kevin Rivera a Ph.D. candidate 

Startup Strives to Simplify Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Reduce Toxic Waste. Learn More

Junity: Janoye Williams, School of Business 
A nonprofit that aims to be a connection point between underprivileged youth and guidance counselors with educational, employment and mentorship programs. Learn More

SedMed: Jeremy Bronen, School of Engineering 
SedMed creates toilet lift assist devices to help the elderly get on and off toilets. Learn More

onewith: Haley Segar, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 
A bathing suit brand that provides a smoothing, second-skin fit with the feel of seamless undergarments. Learn More

Pisces Atlantic: Peter Goggins, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources 
An innovative fish food based on his belief that the fish that people consume should be fed healthy ingredients. Learn More

VeraDermics: Reid Waldman, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 
A revolutionary treatment that eliminates warts by delivering precise wart-busting medication via a microneedle patch that looks similar to a bandage.Learn More

Geyser Remediation: Nikolas Franceschi-Hofmann, School of Engineering, Brendan MacInyre, School of Engineering, Elizabeth Perry, School of Business, Gabrielle Conrad-Amlicke, School of Social Work
A remediation system that breaks down PFAS in drinking water. Learn More

Land Maverick: Emily Yale, School of Engineering
A soil-sampling rover that can test soil moisture, pH, and overall nutrient level creating precise and organized measurements to maintain soil quality. Learn More

Levo International: Christian Heiden, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources
Provides sustainable produce to suburban families and uses the proceeds to increase food stability in other countries. Their Patio Greenhouse is a self-contained growing system that allows suburban homeowners to grow healthy agriculture in the convenience of their own homes. Learn More

Nami Therapeutics: Dr. Xiuling Lu, School of Pharmacy, Derek Hargrove, School of Pharmacy, Sterling Glass, School of Pharmacy
Provide advanced cancer treatments to fulfill the unmet needs of patients and partner with pharmaceutical companies to help in minimizing product toxicity while maximizing effectiveness. Learn More

Phoenix TailingsMichael Martin, School of Engineering, Nicholas Myers
Recycles industrial mining waste that produces usable material for other industries. Learn More

Encapsulate: Armin Tahmasbi Rad, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Engineering & Leila Daneshmandi, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Engineering
A diagnosis device to determine personalized treatment for cancer. 

MycoZap: Dr. Cindy Tian, Faculty, College of Agriculture, Health, & Natural Resources & Elizabeth Johnson, Graduate Student, College of Agriculture, Health, & Natural Resources
A plant-derived antimicrobial treatment for illness in cattle caused by microplasma bovis. 

QRFertile: Reza Amin, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Engineering, Stephanie Knowlton, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Engineering, & Dr. Savas Tasoglu, Faculty, School of Engineering
An in-home device to measure male fertility. Learn More

SAVKAR.AI: Dr. Amit Savkar, Faculty, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Bill Moschella, Chairman, Savkar, Inc. & David Nichols, Ph.D. Candidate, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
A predictive analytics platform for student retention in STEM fields.

WellTech: Dr. Robert Aseltine, Faculty, UConn Health, Dr. Riddhi Doshi, Postdoctoral Fellow, UConn Health, Wenjie Wang, Graduate Student, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Madeleine Aseltine, Undergraduate Student, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, & Cal Colins, Industry Partner, CEO, OpenClinica
Tablet application to assist healthcare providers in collecting patient information to improve
quality measurement. 

Eir Medical Devices: Dr. George Lykotrafitis, Faculty, School of Engineering & Kostyantyn Partola, Graduate Student, School of Engineering
Developed a device designed to help physicians measure patients’ blood viscosity, a traditionally un-used, but promising indicator of cardiac risk, and health for patients on dialysis and certain types of cancers.

Hans Health:  Dr. David Han, Faculty, UConn Health & Veneta Quendro, Ph.D. Student, UConn Health
Developed a new way to provide doctors with information about the specific type of mutations causing an individual patient’s form of cancer. Learn More

NataSure: Dr. Courtney Townsel, Fellow, UConn Health & Dr. Winston Campbell, Faculty, UConn Health
Developed a new device that will replace in the treatment of cervical insufficiency, a condition that causes prevent premature birth due and miscarriage.

Potentiometric Probes: Dr. Corey Acker, Research Associate, UConn Health, Dr. Leslie Lowe, Faculty, UConn Health & Dr. Ping Yan, Research Associate, UConn Health
Created a new voltage-sensitive dye that can help medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies study electrical conductivity in cells, and test for dangerous cardiac side effects while new prescription drugs are in development. Learn More

Quantum Purification: Dong Yu, Graduate Student, School of Business & Michael Curtis, Industry Mentor
Developed a new type of filtration process to help producers of biogas – a renewable natural gas – remove damaging and toxic byproducts more cost efficiently than current solutions that limit its production and adoption as a reliable form of alternative energy.

The Wolff Prize is endowed through the Thomas John and Bette Wolff Family Fund in Strategic Entrepreneurship, established to provide leadership for teaching and research in the field of strategic entrepreneurship. The Wolff family has a long tradition of business success, personal philanthropy, commitment to the University of Connecticut, the UConn Business School, and the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. We are grateful for the support of Thomas John (1928-2008) and Bette and their three children Greg, Gary, and Debi.

This competition is proudly supported by: