InVenture Prize Competition 2021

Participating Teams

Delta Jacket

1st Place
People's Choice
Aya Ayoubi
Industrial Design
Amman, Jordan
An inflatable and reversible garment that can help the homeless adapt to changes in weather or environment.
A product always has room to develop and improve, especially one that hinges on comfort and dignity. Winning the InVenture prize with the Delta Jacket will help me help hundreds if not thousands of homeless people, through scaling my operation ten-fold. Not only will I hit the ground running by launching my buy-1-donate-1 venture, but I'll also have more resources to expand my testing to make the jacket ecosystem even more effective.


2nd Place
Zach Cloud
Mechanical Engineering
Roswell, GA
Tim Felbinger
Electrical Engineering
Williamsburg, VA
MakerPresence is a safety and analytics system to control access to shared tools.
Winning the InVenture prize would mean that we can add members to our team, protect our idea, and bring the Maker Revolution to more schools!


Sammie Hasen
Biomedical Engineering
Atlanta, GA
First-of-its-kind accessible, discreet, and secure birth control storage that attaches directly to the back of your phone.
Winning InVenture Prize will allow me to make BCase a reality. I have relied on 3D printed prototypes for many months, but that isn't a scalable model. The prize money will allow me to finance the tooling that leads to BCase's success. Also, the women's consumer product industry has been vastly dominated by men, and InVenture Prize gives me the platform to raise awareness to this problem. I am excited to share my product with everyone, and I can't wait to improve women's lives.

Block Transfer

John Wooten
Computer Engineering
Charlotte, NC
A decentralized stock transfer agent protocol for global financial markets.
Winning the InVenture Prize would mean so much to us. It would give us the ability to reliably attract and retain top talent so that we can flawlessly execute our vision for an open stock transfer agent protocol. Winning the InVenture Prize would truly change the course of Block Transfer and we're very excited to have a spot in the finals!


Sean Cody
Biomedical Engineering
Bernardsville, NJ
Jake DePiero
Mechanical Engineering
Marietta, GA
Saiharshith Kilaru
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Suwanee, GA
Tarun Muthuchamy
Electrical Engineering
College Station, TX
Matt Segler
Mechanical Engineering
Marietta, GA
Ryan Soedjak
Computer Science
St. Charles, MO
A Patent Pending Mobile Application to Improve Computer Aided Design Efficiency.
From high-performance manufacturing engineers, to high school students learning to 3D print for the first time, CADe is built for all of the creatives and designers in the world. Winning the InVenture Prize will provide the CADe team with the Intellectual Property tools and funding that we need to rapidly scale our business. At CADe, we want to enable you to be more productive, to make your product a reality and to empower you to change the world.

SPOT Harness

Emma Bivings
Mechanical Engineering
Atlanta, GA
Matt McMullen
Mechanical Engineering
Marietta, GA
A harness that uses sensors and vibrators to help blind dogs navigate.
Winning the InVenture prize would be a massive step in realizing a long-held dream. After watching my blind dog, Gracie, struggle through most of her life, it would be incredible to provide a better life for her and dogs like her all over the world.

Ashley Mengwasser

Ashley Mengwasser
Ashley Mengwasser's headshot

Lifestyle Host, Writer, and Executive Producer Ashley Mengwasser is a seven-time Emmy Award winning media talent. She began her 10+-year career in television hosting GPB’s original series Georgia Traveler. Segment highlights include skydiving with grandma, boxing with an Olympian, ballroom dancing, and a ghoulish zombie transformation.

Ashley hosts a variety of entertaining content, from tech to DIY to doggies! 2021 marks Ashley’s sixth year co-hosting InVenture Prize at Georgia Tech. In 2018, she was handpicked to host Lowe’s explosive YouTube competition “DIY-No-Mite.” Soon after, she packed a duffel bag of dog treats to film the top-syndicated pet travel special Pets Welcome Here with her late basset hound Rosie “co-hosting.”

This former high-school Valedictorian is as brainy as she is brazen. With an abiding commitment to making media that educates, Ashley hosts GPB Education’s ongoing Live Exploration series, which takes K-12 audiences on a deep dive into various industries. Ashley’s magnum opus as a writer-producer is the PBS cultural documentary Chinese Tea: Elixir of the Orient. This artistic international project swept six Emmys in 2017, including Ashley’s solo Emmy for writing.

Ashley emcees non-profit events and has helped raise more than $150,000 to benefit women and children. She acquired her passion for people and telling their stories at Agnes Scott College. Ashley graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Agnes Scott in 2009 with a B.A. in English Literature.


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.  


Dev Mandavia

Dev Mandavia

Dev is a technology entrepreneur and enjoys working in multidisciplinary teams that adopt a user-centered approach to solve real problems. His efforts and contributions have been featured in scientific journal publications, granted utility patents, Emmy Award winning TV shows, and in ATL Inno's 25 Under 25. Dev has participated in all parts of the Georgia Tech CREATE-X program, notably having completed Startup Launch three separate times. 

Dev Mandavia currently serves as Head of Strategy and Operations at OXOS Medical (, an Atlanta based startup that develops the Micro C handheld x-ray system. At OXOS, Dev manages broader strategic initiatives in order to achieve the company's overall goal of enabling anyone anywhere to access radiologic diagnostics at the point-of-care, expanding availability and changing the way healthcare is delivered. 

Prior to OXOS, Dev was co-founder and CEO at Ethos Medical, which developed a real-time, ultrasound-based needle guidance system that enables any practitioner to quickly navigate instruments (e.g., needles, catheters) into the body (initially spine) for bedside procedures (e.g., epidurals, lumbar punctures) on the first attempt. Dev led Ethos from conception in early 2018 through securement of seed funding and completion of product development in late 2020—much of which was made possible by winning the InVenture Prize in 2019.

Prior to Ethos, Dev was co-founder and CEO at Alfirin Technologies, which developed safer and environmentally friendly alternatives to commonly used surgical products, starting with the CatueryGuard, and ultimately leading to licensing and partnership opportunities with a publicly traded medical device company—much of which was made possible by winning the InVenture Prize in 2017. 

Dev has a keen interest in contributing to K-12 STEM outreach, and has served as a mentor to the InVenture K-12 program since his first InVenture Prize win. 


Blake Patton

Blake Patton

Blake Patton is the founder and Managing General Partner of Tech Square Ventures where he leads investments in enterprise software, marketplace, and platform technology companies. Under his leadership, the firm has invested in 51 early-stage companies. He has represented Tech Square Ventures as a director or observer on the boards of Pointivo (Chairman), (Chairman), PreTel Health (Chairman), UserIQ, Haste, Sequr (acquired by Genea) and Salesfusion (acquired by SugarCRM). Blake is also the co-founder and Managing General Partner of Engage, a collaborative corporate venture and innovation program in partnership with 11 leading companies, Georgia Tech, Tech Square Ventures, and Invest Georgia.

Prior to founding Tech Square Ventures, Blake was General Manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech – named by Forbes as one of the “Top 12 Incubators Changing the World”. Prior to leading ATDC, he served as President & COO of Interactive Advisory Software and EVP of iXL, an internet services company that he joined through the acquisition of Swan Media and was part of the executive team that grew the company from startup to over $300 million in annualized revenue and an IPO. He started his career as an Associate at SEI Corporation.

Blake is an active leader in the technology community, serving on the boards of Engage, the Center for American Entrepreneurship (former Chairman), Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures (GATV) and High Tech Ministries (Treasurer). He also serves on the advisory boards of ATDC and Georgia Tech’s Cowan-Turner Center for Servant Leadership and is a former Chairman of Venture Atlanta, a Georgia Research Alliance Industry Fellow and a member of the selection committee for the NC State Chancellor’s Innovation Fund.  Blake is a part-time Professor of the Practice at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business where he teaches Entrepreneurial Finance.

Blake earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Georgia Tech, where he was captain of the swim team. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech College of Engineering’s Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni, is a former Georgia Tech Alumni Association Trustee, and previously served on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board.


Dr. Nashlie Sephus

Dr. Nashlie Sephus

Dr. Nashlie H. Sephus is the Applied Science manager for Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) focusing on fairness and identifying biases in AWS AI technologies. She formerly led the Amazon Visual Search team in Atlanta, which launched visual search for replacement parts on the Amazon Shopping app in June 2018. This technology was a result of former startup Partpic (Atlanta) being acquired by Amazon, for which she was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Prior to working at Partpic, she received her Ph.D. from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014 and worked for a year with Exponent, a technical consulting firm, in New York City. Her core research areas were digital signal processing, machine learning, and computer engineering. She received her B.S. in Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University in 2007. She was featured as Georgia Tech’s inaugural top 40 under 40 alumni in 2020.

Dr. Sephus is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and a 2003 graduate of Murrah High School/Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex (APAC). She had several internships and research experiences worldwide with companies such as IBM, Delphi, University of California at Berkeley, GE Research Center, GE Energy, Miller Transporters, and Kwangwoon University in Seoul, South Korea.

In 2018, Dr. Sephus became the founder and CEO of The Bean Path non-profit organization based in Jackson, MS, assisting individuals and startups with technical expertise and guidance. In September of 2020, she became the owner and developer of the Jackson Tech District, at least 12-acres of  mixed-use commercial real-estate in downtown Jackson to bring tech training and workforce/economic development to the area. During her leisure time, she enjoys playing tennis, playing the piano, listening to music, bargain hunting, biking, gardening and working on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects at home.