2022 Randall Family Big Idea Competition

The 2022 Randall Family Big Idea Competition is about to come to a close! Teams from across the University of Pittsburgh, all student levels and disciplines, and beyond have been competing since February in this year’s iteration of the classic pitch and idea development competition. They have presented live (over Zoom!) as part of practice pitch sessions and the semi-final round. The competition pool was narrowed down to 21 finalist teams who presented as part of the final round on April 8, 2022.


2022 Winning Teams:


Grand Prize ($25,000):

  • FlowCellution: Becca Segel, Priscilla Prem, Maya Bhat

FlowCellution’s Big Idea: FlowCellution’s mission is to provide the testing capabilities necessary to create next-generation flow batteries. Their comprehensive FlowCell testing system offers an accelerated framework for scientists to quickly identify optimal flow battery compositions.

Second Place ($15,000 each):

  • CAT-7: Adi Mittal, Kamil Nowicki, Ali Alattar, Neha Adda

CAT-7’s Big Idea: A whole blood-based diagnostic test that can detect cerebral aneurysm formation, risk stratification, and risk of rupture at a lower cost and non-invasively compared to traditional imaging.


  • EV2 Technologies: Ali Behrangzade, Trace Maule

EV2 Technologies’ Big Idea: A flexible and fully biodegradable endovascular device that uses a special thermoforming technique and provides treatment of peripheral arterial disease in small arteries and across joints. Their approach minimizes vascular wall stress thus reducing restenosis.

Third Place ($5,000 each):

  • Conduction: Joseph Maggiore, Rishnaan Sharma, Tyler Fortuna, John Lerman, Marc Greenstein, Alex Kubie, Cameron Kulkarni, Christopher Mallamaci

Conduction’s Big Idea: Conduction is a company that aims to provide groundbreaking live entertainment performances that are enabled by novel technology.


  • Hoth Intel: Jonathan Cohen, Andrew Liu

Hoth Intel’s Big Idea: Augmented reality software that allows healthcare providers to “see into” a patient. They automatically reconstruct a CT scan (or MRI) of a patient in 3D, load it into the Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset and use facial recognition technology to “snap” the 3D reconstruction to a patient in the proper location and orientation.


  • NOVUOSIS: Yashar Aucie, Kaveh Barri, Afshin Maboudi, Amir Alavi, Qianyun (Gloria) Zhang

NOVUOSIS’s Big Idea: A first-of-its-kind multifunctional interbody spinal fusion cage system with self-diagnostic and self-powering functionalities in addition to its tunable mechanical properties. The fusion implants can sense their operational environment, empower themselves and can detect various levels of spinal fusion in-vivo.

Fourth Place ($2,000 each):

  • PropelU: Uthman Fadu, Nicolas Saba, Dawson Winston, Vikram Bhat, Ryan Lucht

PropelU’s Big Idea: PropelU allows colleges to interact directly with any student, and vice versa, at the push of a button. Each student creates a profile that catalogs their progress and accomplishments, which university recruiters can view and connect with. PropelU facilitates a network where students, counselors, and colleges can communicate freely.


  • SimBox: Sam Frankel, Sean Snyder, Hamza Raja, Daniel Schloss, Jonathan Tam, Matthew Lovell

SimBox’s Big Idea: SimBox revolutionizes the medical simulation landscape by delivering medical simulation to the physician’s doorstep while keeping their medical licenses up to date. They look to change the face of continuing education while championing for patient safety.


  • Virtual Stethoscope: Anna Li, Aniruddh Ajith, Thomas Greer, Eunice Chan, Josh Garfein, Joe Tharayil, Galen Kirkpatrick, and Winston the dog (team mascot)

Virtual Stethoscope’s Big Idea: When it comes to heart disease, early detection saves lives! They’re developing a product that combines affordable, scalable hardware with sophisticated machine-learning analyses to put cardiac diagnostics directly in the hands of patients who need it.

Video Round ($2,000):

  • Underdog: Katie Gallo, Esme Stasa, Wythe Chen

Underdog’s Big Idea: A self-defense training and learning platform/movement, preparing women physically and psychologically for when they need to protect themselves.

Watch Underdog’s Video

2022 Finalist Teams

BeyondTranscripts: Nathan Ong, Jacob Hoffman

Cerebral Aneurysm Test 7 (CAT-7): Adi Mittal, Kamil Nowicki, Ali Alattar, Neha Adda

Conduction: Joseph Maggiore, Rishaan Sharma, Tyler Fortuna, John Lerman, Alex Kubie, Cameron Kulkarni, Christopher Mallamaci, Marc Greenstein

Dirt Bag: David Petrone, Amelia Parlier, Juliet Varblow

DuoQ: Carey Zhu, Ajeet Subramanian

EV2 Technologies: Ali Behrangzade, Trace Maule

FlowCellutions: Becca Segel, Priscilla Prem, Maya Bhat, Salem Elmisurati

FUTURE: Kirsten McKone, Stefanie Sequiera, Liam Regan

Hoth Intelligence: Jonathan Cohen, Andrew Liu

Kairos: Sara Kron, Sejeal Katiyar, Sneha Jeevan, Jack Latella

Klero/New Social: Jack Foley, Niral Bangha, Shane Wiles

MD.Rone: Elizabeth Mountz, Victoria Mountz, Chenming (Angel) Zheng

Mimican: Manush Saydmohammed, Preeti Murdkar

NOVUOSIS: Yashar Aucie, Kaveh Barri, Afshin Maboudi, Qianyun (Gloria) Zhang, Amir Alavi

Potluck: Joe Slowmowitz, Oliver Yao, Avi Moses

PropelU: Uthman Fadu, Nicolas Saba, Dawson Winston, Vikram Bhat, Ryan Lucht

READE.AI: Michael DiNenna, Amir Mina

SimBOX: Sam Frankel, Sean Snyder, Hamza Raja, Daniel Schloss, Jonathan Tam, Matthew Lovell

Third Eye: Samsher Sidhu, Sushmit Acharya, Cara Rosetti, Evan Tipton

Underdog: Katie Gallo, Esme Stasa, Wythe Chen

Virtual Stethoscope: Anna Li, Aniruddh Ajith, Hastings Greer, Eunice Chan, Josh Garfein, Joe Tharayil, Galen Kirkpatrick, Winston the Dog (Team Mascot)

Competition Staff

Big Idea Center

Director: Rhonda Schuldt

Manager for Student Programs: Jess Malandro

Outreach & Engagement Coordinator: Tiffany Bicek

Entrepreneurs in Residence:

  • Kelly Collier
  • Justin Frankert
  • Don Morrison
  • Stephan Mueller
  • Joanna Sutton

Innovation Institute

Director and Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Evan Facher PhD, MBA

Department Administrator: Carla Takacs

Receptionist: Emily Howard


  • Jennifer Ireland
  • Michael Yeomans
  • Karen Woolstrum

Special Thanks

Senior Vice Chancellor for Research: Rob A. Rutenbar

Chancellor Gallagher

Randall Family 

Presentation Round Judges

Practice Pitches

  • David Sanchez
  • Michael Yeomans
  • Peter Allen
  • Chris Wilmer
  • Andrew Brown
  • Victoria Hassett
  • Cigdem Benam
  • Brett Say

Semi-Final Round

  • Kunal Gandhi*
  • Ross Beresford
  • Kelly George
  • Judy Barkus
  • Nicki Benvenuti*
  • Garrett Coyan*
  • Michelle Chenn
  • Paul-Valentin Michel Yves
  • Monica Bush
  • Rabih Helou
  • Afshan Khan


*Big Idea Center Alumni

Final Round

  • Utkars Jain*
  • Gabriela Isturiz
  • Mike Formica
  • Nadyli Nunez
  • Ravi Gandhi*
  • Amelia O’Leary
  • Mike Matesic
  • Max Fedor
  • Jim Wrubel
  • Megan Shaw
  • Bobby Zappala
  • Rob Burger
  • Adam Butchy*

Competition Mentors

Andy Rape

Bill Jackson

Christopher Hayes

David Gibel

Eric Davis

Erica Friedman

Garrett Coyan

Gary Glew

Gary Glausser

Jason Lange

Jeff Schuldt

Jim Wrubel

Jonnet Solomon

Kate Boyce

Kit Mueller

Lia Winter

Mark Storch

Mark Torgerson

Nathan Mancine

Ross Beresford

Tim Parks