Discovery Competition

The second stage of the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup, the Discovery Competition, is all about customer and product development. $25,000 in total prize money will be awarded as part of the Discovery Stage.

The Discovery Competition is based upon the principles of effectuation, a problem solving process that expert entrepreneurs undertake after they have conceived of their idea (Stage I: Concept), but before they invested significant time and money into the project (Stage III: Launch!). By focusing upon the “fit” between customer needs or wants and the project’s product or service, as well as the personal skills, connections and effort students bring to this challenge, this stage of the competition requires students to—and rewards students who—demonstrate that they have taken steps to “de-risk” their idea, perhaps the most crucial step in the startup process.

The top five projects in the Discovery Competition will be awarded $5,000 each, for a total of $25,000 in total awards. Furthermore, these projects will receive additional, in-kind resources in the hopes of helping the projects to the next stage of development.


Friday, February 5, 2021 – Submissions due by 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (HIGH NOON)
Thursday, February 11, 2021 – Finalists announced 
Sunday, February 14, 2021 — Top 10 Finalists Video Presentations Due by 11:59PM EST
Thursday, February 18, 2021 – Final presentations at 4:30 p.m.

Finalists and Award Winners:

  • ABG Design - Charlie Boland, College of Arts & Sciences, 2022; Miller Garrett and Nick Anselmo, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Taylor Bobrow
    ABG Design is an engineering startup focused on increasing precision, accuracy, and accessibility in design and manufacturing. Our current initiative, the Notch, cuts the build time of our vehicle frames from a full month to a single weekend - a reduction of 90%. 
  • Binged - Evan Kirsch, McIntire School of Commerce, 2021; Alexa Rothborth, College of Arts and Science, 2022; Jason Calem, McIntire School of Commerce, 2022
    Discover what shows your friends are watching and keep track of your own activity on Binged! Let’s make asking “What show should I watch?” a thing of the past.
  • *Coton Elizabeth Blankenship, Darden School of Business, 2022
    Coton is the first fully-sustainable luxury fashion brand with a focus on existing textiles.
  • Curate Mental Health - Erik Frost and Marina Peddy, EMBA Darden School of Business, 2022
    Curate Mental Health is an online platform designed for individuals struggling with mental illness. 
  • *RAYNA - Megan Nash, Darden School of Business, 2022; Katie Burke; Max Berg
    RAYNA makes the world's first and only dedicated female pubic hair trimmer.
  • *The Million Word Challenge - Daniel Dickey, Darden School of Business, 2021
    The Million Word Challenge is a classroom tested program that encourages students to read via a friendly competition. Specifically, the initiative uses students' intrinsic competitive nature as a way to motivate them to read one million words before the end of the school year.
  • Touchpoint - Jeremy Perdue, Darden School of Business, 2021
    Touchpoint is a relationship management tool for students that improves the job search experience.
  • *Transfoam - Alec Brewer, Engineering and Applied Science, 2021; Kobe Rogers, College of Arts and Science, 2021; Simonne Guenette, College of Arts and Science, 2022
    Transfoam is a Virginia-based LLC developing a cradle2cradle biomanufacturing platform to tackle global plastic pollution. 
  • *Zalence - Alex Zorychta, Darden School of Business, 2021
    Zalence is a platform where connectors curate pools of people they think should meet one another one-on-one. Connectors invite connectees into their pool(s) of endorsed people they would stake their reputation behind, and connectees can accept or request into these pool(s).
  • Zon Loopt Running Routes - Mabel Smith, College of Arts & Sciences, 2024; Ana Sofia Gonzalez
    Zon Loopt Running Routes, is an app that generates safe running routes based on location input and desired distance, giving users the peace of mind to focus on what matters most.  

*Award winners

To view more information about the Discovery Competition, follow the links below: