InVenture Prize Competition 2018

Meet the 2018 InVenture Prize finalists! Click on a team name below to learn more about the competitors and their inventions.

Relive all the exciting moments by watching the broadcast of the 2018 InVenture Prize finals to the right.

Participating Teams


1st Place
Kolby Hanley
Materials Science and Engineering
Cambridge, VT
A first of its kind aiming device for competitive archery.
"Winning InVenture Prize would would mean so much to me. It would allow me to come out of college 100% debt free and start working for myself at my own company, doing what I love to do, in the industry I love to be in. Winning InVenture Prize would truly change my life and i'm very excited to have a spot in the finals!"


2nd Place
Dallas Condra
Mechanical Engineering
Knoxville, TN
Jeremy Leff
Mechanical Engineering
Honolulu, HI
Vanya Padmanabhan
Industrial Design
Atlanta, GA
PedalCreator’s Disruption is the first analog effects pedal that gives guitarists the freedom to create any distortion sound at an affordable price.
"The judges selection of PedalCreator as the winner of Inventure prize would confirm to the world that Disruption is a consumer ready device while giving us the extra momentum to push our pedal debut to new heights. The prize money will allow us to file for our utility patent and help us to set up a manufacturer to produce our pedal at a larger scale."


People's Choice
Michele Lauto
Materials Science and Engineering
Santa Monica, CA
Tyler Quill
Materials Science and Engineering
Grayson, GA
Aaron Stansell
Materials Science and Engineering
Birmingham, AL
Lucas Votaw
Materials Science and Engineering
Herndon, VA
pHAM is a coffee filter that reduces the acidity of coffee.
"Winning the InVenture Prize would be a dream come true for our team. It would give us the patent that we need to license this technology and get pHAM into coffee chains across the nation, and with the capital from winning InVenture, we can expand our current manufacturing process and supply more local coffee shops with pHAM."


Anushk Mittal
Computer Science
New Delhi, India
Joshua Wang
Computer Science
Seoul, South Korea
Memeois is a personalized all meme platform -- Giphy for Memes
"I don’t view InVenture Prize as a competition to win but an opportunity to present our product to the world. I am glad to be selected for the InVenture Prize finals where I can talk about my passion and my work that I have dedicated my life to. That said, winning the Inventure Prize can help scale our resources to speed-up the development timeline and conduct large scale user research without worrying about the instant financial needs."


Bailey Klee
Biomedical Engineering
Alpharetta, GA
Rachel Mann
Biomedical Engineering
Homer Glen, IL
Sydney Platt
Biomedical Engineering
Lake Jackson, TX
Nicholas Quan
Biomedical Engineering
Richmond Hill, GA
The Scal-Pal is a surgical blade package with built in mechanisms to attach and remove scalpel blades while eliminating blade exposure.
"Winning InVenture Prize would bring the Scal-Pal one step closer to protecting thousands of healthcare workers from the threat of exposed blades and blood borne illnesses. It would give us the resources needed to obtain a patent and begin the process of licensing our device. With the monetary prize our team would travel to trade shows in order to gain exposure to medical device manufacturers."


Michael Bailey
Mechanical Engineering
Canton, GA
Austin Forgey
Mechanical Engineering
McDonough, GA
Hannah Larson
Mechanical Engineering
Roswell, GA
Lauren Perrine
Mechanical Engineering
Potomac, MD
Brandon Will
Mechanical Engineering
Circle Pines, MN
An easy, safe, and effective strap tensioning tool for any shaped load.
"Winning the InVenture Prize is the catalyst team Tensionr needs to produce a small run of demo tensioners. With these tools, we can showcase the functionality of the product to companies and begin to receive orders. Filling purchase orders will allow us to manufacture in larger quantities, increase our profit margins, and jumpstart our business. The InVenture Prize will enable us to pursue larger markets and make our tool ubiquitous in a variety of industries."

Ashley Mengwasser

Ashley Mengwasser
Ashley Mengwasser

Atlanta’s Ashley Mengwasser is a six-time Emmy-winning lifestyle host, writer, and producer. Her decade-long career is proof that millennials make great television! Georgia Public Broadcasting audiences know her best as the quirky, daredevil co-host on Georgia Traveler

Ashley hosts a variety of entertainment content, from DIY to doggies! In 2018, she was handpicked to host Lowe’s Home Improvement’s explosive YouTube contest “DIY-No-Mite.” Then, she packed a duffel bag full of treats to film the top-syndicated pet travel special Pets Welcome Here (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, The CW). With her adventuresome basset hound Rosie “co-hosting,” the pair explored pet-friendly vacation destinations in the Eastern U.S.  

This former high-school Valedictorian has a deep appreciation for media that educates. This is Ashley’s fourth year co-hosting the Georgia Tech InVenture Prize and ACC InVenture Prize. She also enjoys working behind the camera. In 2015-2016, she traveled to China to write, co-direct, and EP the cultural documentary Chinese Tea: Elixir of the Orient. The program swept six Emmys in 2017, and Ashley won a solo Emmy in the writing category.

Ashley acquired her passion for people and telling their stories during undergrad at Agnes Scott College. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude in 2009 and holds a B.A. in English Literature.

When they are not brainstorming invention ideas (dog translator?), Ashley and Rosie enjoy long walks, naps, and a shared bowl of spaghetti.



Faith Salie

Faith Salie
Faith Salients

Faith Salie is an Emmy-winning contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and a regular on NPR’s Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!  She’s also host of the new podcast “Real Good.” She’ll debut Off-Broadway later this year in her solo show, Approval Junkie, based on her memoir of the same name. She's a storyteller for The Moth with her story viewed over 2 million times and included in the New York Times bestseller Occasional Magic.  Faith’s hosted five seasons of the PBS show Science Goes to the Movies, but perhaps her biggest science cred was her role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which got her beamed up and landed her on a trading card worth hundreds of cents. Faith grew up in Atlanta and is a Rhodes scholar who graduated from Harvard, aka the GA Tech of the North. She lives in New York City, where she continues to say “y’all" and often bakes Coca-Cola cake.  


Partha Unnava

Partha Unnava

Partha Unnava was born and raised in Columbus, OH. After graduating from Dublin Coffman High School, he attended Georgia Tech to study biomedical engineering. During college, he broke his ankle and spent six weeks on crutches, leading him to found BWHealth to create better products in the most overlooked areas of sports medicine, specifically with bracing and medical equipment. BWHealth is extremely patient focused in their design, and is able to maintain this focus by emphasizing direct-to-consumer sales channels. 

Since founding the company in May 2013, Partha has been invited to the White House to present to President Obama, been named on the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 and selected as a Kairos Fellow, been featured on CNN and Inc., and received numerous entrepreneurship awards. He is also well known as a public speaker, having spoken at dozens of conferences and events, where he shares his story, while educating audiences on fundraising, product development, and business strategy and mindsets. With a passion for fashion and culture, Partha has also been featured in several fashion magazines, including Elle Magazine and Jezebel, as well as in several runway shows, and has recently been selected as an influencer to represent the city of Atlanta by the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce. He spends his free time listening to hip hop music and playing basketball and club-level ultimate frisbee.


Jasmine Burton

Jasmine Burton

Jasmine Burton attended the Georgia Institute of Technology where she was a President’s Scholarship Award recipient and Honors Program participant throughout her collegiate career. Burton had a host of professional points of growth while in college during her 2012 internship with Chick-fila-A corporate, 2013 participation in the CDC’s Summer Public Health Scholars Program, 2014 fellowship with Humanity in Action in Warsaw Poland and her 2015 fellowship with Global Health Corps in Lusaka, Zambia. Burton graduated with Highest Honors from the Georgia Tech School of Architecture with a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial/Product Design. Prior to graduation, Burton founded Wish for WASH, LLC, a social impact startup intended to bring innovation to sanitation after her senior design team was the first all-female team to win the GT InVenture Prize Competition for their invention of the SafiChoo toilet in 2014. Wish for WASH has since conducted iterative toilet innovation pilots and research in Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia and in an Atlanta-based resettled refugee community and is now working towards scale. Burton continued to pursue her passion for hygienic, equitable, and sustainable sanitation as a 2016-2017 Rotary Global Grant Scholar and MSc in Public Health graduate student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine while representing Wish for WASH in a number of media outlets including CNN, Inc., WIRED, Fast Company, WSBTV and TEDxAtlanta. An avid speaker and writer, Burton identifies as a social impact designer and storyteller who seeks to utilize design thinking and business acumen to advocate for universal health.


Rachel Ford

Rachel Ford

Rachel Ford began her journey into Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem while an undergrad at Georgia Tech, co-founding a connected car startup, FIXD Automotive, in parallel with her biomedical engineering studies. Prior, she cut her teeth in product development working within DowDuPont's R&D arm launching a commercialized non-woven product line. While at Georgia Tech, Rachel was an instructor within Georgia Tech’s Venture Lab, teaching both evidence-based entrepreneurship and design thinking. Named one of Atlanta’s “30 Under 30” in 2015, Rachel has since become the Director of Techstars Atlanta, held in partnership with Cox Enterprises, establishing the first global startup accelerator in the southeastern United States.