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ASU student entrepreneurs win cash investments for ventures at Demo Day

Pitch competition awards more than $250,000

A woman talks into a microphone while smiling

Uzoma Ndulue, a graduate student in industrial design, speaks to the crowd at Demo Day after being awarded $25,000 for her fashion venture, Good Road Collection.

April 23, 2024

Several Arizona State University student entrepreneurs who won big cash investments for their ventures on Saturday expressed gratitude not only for the money but also the support they found in Venture Devils.

Uzoma Ndulue, a graduate student in industrial design, won $25,000 for her fashion company, Good Road Collection. Ndulue’s venture was one of nearly 70 pitched on Saturday as part of Venture Devils, a program to support ASU students, staff, faculty, alumni and community founders within the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at ASU.

More than $250,000 was awarded. Venture Devils also get access to mentorship and space.

“Sometimes we feel like our dreams is not what people want to see,” said Ndulue, who was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria.

“My venture is fashion and I’m currently wearing my brand and I feel like it’s so important to have an African fashion brand.”

Ndulue was on the stage at SkySong 1951 with Tracy Lea, director of venture development for the Edson E+I Institute. She recalled how she met Lea several months ago.

“I felt like everything had to be very innovative, and it was, ‘Should I or should I not?’ And you encouraged me,” said Ndulue, who admitted that she was shaking from excitement.

“Thank you so much for believing in me and believing in this venture.”

Lea remembered meeting Ndulue.

“I’m so glad you got past ‘Should I do this’ and you just did it,” she said.

“Whether you win seed funding or not, you keep going. You watch other pitches and make refinements.”

Edward Lee, a marketing major, is CEO of the venture Tradies, a social networking platform to help students connect in person that won $15,000.

He said the venture has come a long way in a year.

“I remember a year ago, on Demo Day, and I was sitting right there and wondering, ‘Are we going to get anything or not?’” he said.

They did not.

“And it completely destroyed our confidence,” he said.

“We didn’t want to talk to our mentors and we didn’t want to pick up our phones and talk to people. But after a year I’m so proud to stand up on this stage and present our venture to everyone.”

Tristan Tierce founded the venture Allergy Voyage, which hosts restaurant menus for people with food allergies, and won $15,000 on Saturday. He’s pursuing degrees in art studies and business entrepreneurship.

“I’m graduating this semester and I’ve been in Venture Devils every semester I’ve been at ASU, four years,” he said.

“It means a lot to be on this stage again.”

Good Road Collection, Tradies and Allergy Voyage won in the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative funding track, which is for student-led ventures in early stages of development. Other winners in that group were: Legion Platforms and 10 Shots of Soju, $25,000 each; Illumishade and Streamline, $10,000 each; and Eggcentric, SPLIT, Accompanion, Next Prospect and Dosed Labs, $5,000 each.

Other winners at Demo Day were:

Edson E+I Social Impact Venture Challenge: Aerogel Coating Technologies, $5,000; JurisPrep, $4,500; Lake Litter Solutions, $3,000; Uplighten and Zunuo Farms Limited, $2,500 each; Matter Squared, $2,375; and EFP, $2,000.

Edson E+I Health Venture Challenge: Visven, $12,000; Koko Ni, $10,000; Sonobuddy, $6,000; and Easy, $2,000.

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Venture Challenge: DMB Translation Services, $10,000; eighty-nine, Cocoa Potash and Zobucha, $6,000 each; Thriving Learners Institute, Zunuo Farms Limited and Godsway’s Agri House, $3,000 each; Toda Healthy Beverages, Fruits on Wheels, Sua IT, Intellectual Property Hub Zambia, CivulaNova Technologies, Enlighten, NanoMed Adaptive Technologies, Afriscribe, 3Dinkra and Emicon Group, $1,000 each.

The eSeed Challenge, supported by the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Venture Devils, for early-stage student ventures:  Bojuf Solutions, $10,000; Pro Tek, Stava.IO and Adpt, $4,000 each; Enlighten, $2,000; and Hued, $1,000.

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