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April 8, 2024

Burgess New Venture Challenge announces 2024 winners

Engineering's Odin Classroom places second, wins $10K prize

2024 Burgess Innovation Challenge winners
The Burgess New Venture Challenge promotes entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation.

The Burgess New Venture Challenge (BNVC), an early-stage pitch competition bringing together Michigan State University student entrepreneurs and business leaders, announces the winners of its sixth annual contest. On Thursday, April 4, at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, fifteen Spartan student teams pitched their startup ideas to a panel of expert judges. All were competing for their share of $50,000 in total scholarship prizes.

This year over fifty teams applied to be part of the Burgess New Venture Challenge, with fifteen semifinalists rising to the top.

To qualify to compete, BNVC team members must be enrolled students at MSU (undergraduate or graduate) and be in good academic standing. Applicants must be active participants in the Burgess Institute's Discovery or Launch Programs. Once selected, semifinalists must commit to attending group practice sessions, meet with assigned venture coach mentors, and demonstrate movement toward their tailored milestones. Winning ideas must use awarded cash toward accelerating their startup ideas.

And The Winners Are . . .

These MSU student startups presented their most robust cases to 2024's Burgess New Venture Challenge judges and, as a result, took home the top prizes:

1st Place: $15,000: Motmot (Elliot Smith, (, Eli Broad College of Business). Motmot is a company specializing in the use of Autonomous Underwater Robotics (AURs) for the inspection and management of underground water pipe networks, aiming to improve operational efficiency and reduce water loss for municipalities and water authorities. This year’s first-place prize was sponsored by the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.

2nd Place: $10,000: Odin Classroom (Aman Dhruva Thamminana (, College of Engineering). Odin Classroom is an online coding platform aimed at reducing friction in computer science courses by providing a better user experience and reducing downtime. The second-place prize was sponsored by Foster Swift.

3rd Place: $7,500: Triple4’s (Matt Rogien (, Eli Broad College of Business). Triple4’s is a high-tech pepper spray device that instantly sends out the user's current location to their emergency contacts as well as emergency services when deployed. This year’s third-place prize was sponsored by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership.

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The MSU College of Engineering was also represeted by two other student-led teams. They were Targetist, an AI-based task schedule and project planner, and YouLearn, a program that personalizes coures on any topic. For more information, visit the Burgess New Venture Challenge's website.

Story courtesy of Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.