McCloskey New Venture Competition: 2017-2018 Semi-Finalists Announced!

Author: Valeria Gonzalez

This year’s McCloskey New Venture Competition brought in 176 teams, with 40 teams advancing to the semi-finals. Ten of these teams that will be pitching in the semi-finals feature ESTEEM students with eight of these teams being ESTEEM led. The following shows these ESTEEM led teams followed by a description of the venture:  


Alison Hennessy

Natalie May

Claire Kleinschmidt

CAN Ventures

Team Leader: Alison Hennessy ESTEEM 2018

Team Members: Claire Kleinschmidt ESTEEM 2018, Natalie May ESTEEM 2018

CAN Ventures is now known as Runway. The transition from high school to adult life is difficult for a disabled individual. The planning of this transition is primarily undertaken by the parent, with some input from school advisors. This is currently a stressful and confusing process which Runway aims to improve. Runway is a digital platform to help parents build a complete profile of information about their disabled child, and provide resources to help create a better transition plan and more meaningful future for their child.

Eydis Lima


Team Leader: Eydis Lima ESTEEM 2018 

DermaDiagnostics has a mission of creating a platform for healthcare facilities wherein a dermal patch will be able to diagnose sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cervical cancer. Globally, on an annual basis the burden altogether of these malignancies is affecting 550 million individuals. The focus of the company is to provide a technology that allows in a non-invasive manner diagnosis to help the most susceptible: young adults and pregnant women.

Arielle Gannon

Ornella Gashumba


Team Leader: Arielle Gannon ESTEEM 2018 
Team Members: Ornella Gashumba ESTEEM 2018, Rosa Joo Yun Kim BS 2020, Joseph Lesiak JD 2018

ND students are looking to travel cheaply and more conveniently. Domer aims to solve student transportation problems at Notre Dame by providing a cheap and convenient means of transportation for ND students to Chicago, and Chicago Airports. 87% of our interviewees reported a need for a better way to get to airports in Chicago. In the words of our potential customers, “the bus journey is unnecessarily long and the train isn’t practical with luggage.”Team Members: Ornella Gashumba ESTEEM 2018, Rosa Joo Yun Kim BS 2020, Joseph Lesiak JD 2018

Marissa Koscielski

Enlighten Mobility

Team Leader: Marissa Koscielski ESTEEM 2018 

Team Members: Jacob Burger MBA 2019, Jeff Riney BS 2019, Rory Burke BS 2018

Enlighten Mobility is a medical device company that has embraced individuals who typically fall through the cracks of medical care. The organization is launching its first product, The Enlight Walker, which reestablishes healthy walking patterns for lower limb amputees the same day as the operation, dramatically decreasing the physiological decline and increasing rehabilitation speed. The forearm, gaittrainer ambulatory device facilitates a kicking motion and enables weight bearing on the compromised limb while maintaining wound integrity and empowering the patient to succeed.


Arielle Gannon


Team Leader: Arielle Gannon ESTEEM 2018 

Team Members: Marisa Lucht BS 2018, John-Paul Zebrowski MAM 2018

Excelerate is an Ed-Tech startup dedicated to bringing computer science to every high-school in America. This duty will fall on teachers with non-computer science backgrounds as there is a shortage of CS graduates. Excelerate helps non-computer science teachers teach computer science to high school students in an engaging and quality way using Excelerate’s curriculum, online Teacher Professional Development and help platform.

Emily Russo

Mikaela Saugstad

Daniel Hogan

Marissa Koscielski


Team Leader: Emily Russo ESTEEM 2018 

Team Members: Mikaela Saugstad ESTEEM 2018, Matthew Glaeser MBA 2019, Danny Hogan ESTEEM 2018, Cecilia Pesavento MBA 2019, Marissa Koscielski ESTEEM 2018, Shelby Niemann JD 2018

Gigil is a subcutaneous injection-stabilizing device aimed to give individuals with autoimmune diseases the confidence to effectively administer an injection without the aid of a nurse or professional. Its function is twofold: It ensures effective medicinal delivery through a guided and stabilized 45 degree angle injection pathway, thus providing peace of mind. Scar tissue buildup and bruising is decreased by offering the ability to rotate injection sites. Second, it mitigates pain through small bumps on the posterior side, saturating the nerves as the patient pinches the device during application.

Valeria Gonzalez

Tyron Pretorius

Alex Wimber


Team Leader: Valeria Gonzalez ESTEEM 2018 

Team Members: Tyron Pretorius ESTEEM 2018, Alexander Wimber ESTEEM 2018

Kloud aims to revolutionize the Water Purifier design to provide a balanced, stable, and comfortable pour in an effort to reduce wrist related injuries and pain to the elderly. Kloud will accomplish this by redesigning the traditional placement of a handle on a water purifier. The relocation of the handle will direct the weight away from the elderly person’s wrist. Kloud Water Purifier is a therapeutic device disguised as a modern, stylish kitchen appliance.

Sam Krause

Margaret Mraz

Kerry Egan

Thor Nagel

Alex Wimber


Team Leader: Samuel Krause ESTEEM 2018

Team Members: Kerry Egan ESTEEM 2018, Margaret Mraz ESTEEM 2018, Thor Nagel ESTEEM 2018, Alex Wimber ESTEEM 2018

Toffee is a software service company that aims to help businesses improve internal processes for testing their web applications through a cloud-based platform that empowers non-programmers to build, edit, and execute functional UI tests. A user creates automated scripts through plain-English commands with the ability to fall back to manual steps for things automation cannot reach. Toffee saves companies time and money by giving non-developers the ability to construct and manage the entire test suite.


The following are teams where current ESTEEM students are featured:

Austin Fry


Team Leader: Matthew Sheldon

Team Members: Shawn Cook ESTEEM 2017, Louis Daudet PhD 2019, Austin Fry ESTEEM 2018

Battuta is a crowdsourced mobile travel app that allows users to receive a personal guided tour by a local at their leisure. Local “producers” will create content in the form of videos describing popular sites within their city and upload these to Battuta. Travelers will be able to access these videos from our app, giving them the freedom design their own experience. Battuta is a free service to the customer whose revenue model is based on advertisements. Producers will receive a portion for each video viewed. Battuta will prove to be a disruptive force in a largely static industry.

Andrew Desantis


Team Leader: Eva Marie Costello ESTEEM 2017 

Team Members: German Estrada ESTEEM 2017, Andrew DeSantis ESTEEM 2018, Bob Dowdell MBA 2969, Kate Costello

Marty is an edtech digital inclusion startup focused on empowering people to better navigate the digital world to improve their lives. Our product aims to help educate job seekers (low-income 50+) on how to get work on gig economy platforms and build up a digital reputation.

Melissa Connolly


Team Lead: Trung Nguyen PhD 2018

Team Members: Raja Krishnan MBA 2018, Melissa Connolly ESTEEM 2018, and Scott Shaw PhD 2018

SalvePeds is an early stage pharmaceutical company offering the novel drug ND-336 as a topical therapy for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). Pre-clinical studies with ND-336 in diabetic animals have shown that this drug accelerates healing up to 200% over a placebo, and is 150% more efficacious than the only FDA-approved drug Regranex™ ,which has been black boxed. With 1 million Americans contracting DFUs annually,  SalvePeds goal is to provide an effective, safe and convenient healing treatment for DFUs to improve the quality of life for patients and ultimately decrease the number of ulcer related amputations. Currently, SalvePeds has initiated IND-enabling studies and plans on beginning phase I clinical trials in early 2019.