Seven SEAS teams named President’s Innovation Challenge semifinalists

Will compete for $515,000 in funding

A two-tone red graphic that says "President's Innovation Challenge, May 1, 2024"

Seven student-led ventures from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) were among the 137 semifinalists for the 2024 President’s Innovation Challenge recently announced by the Harvard Innovation Labs. Finalists will compete in one of three tracks for a share of $515,000 in funding at the President’s Innovation Challenge Award Ceremony on May 1.

Read more about each of the six SEAS start-ups below. Click here for the full list of semifinalists.

Health & Life Sciences

SEAS’s semifinalist in the Health & Life Sciences track is EndoShunt Medical Inc. Co-founded by mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate Michael Finn-Henry, EndoShunt Medical Inc. provides a minimally invasive surgical device to prevent death from abdominal bleeding, allowing trauma surgeons more time to perform life-saving procedures.


Four SEAS ventures were named semifinalists in the Open Track. Anemone, co-founded by computational science and engineering master’s student Elie Attias, is a social networking platform designed to promote job opportunities and artistic collaborations for people interested in creative or cultural arts.

LITER uses solar power to desalinate water in a more cost-effective, operationally resilient method than was previously available, potentially greatly increasing access to drinking water around the globe. The venture was co-founded by fourth-year student Jonathan D’Souza, who’s pursuing an A.B. in environmental science in engineering with a concurrent master’s in computational science and engineering.

MathMosaic provides a virtual environment to help college students in STEM fields to visualize high-level mathematical concepts. The venture is led by Allison Karp, who’s pursuing the Master in Design Engineering (MDE) degree offered jointly by SEAS and Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Vocadian helps empower a safer and more productive workforce by using artificial intelligence to predict fatigue risk and management. The venture was founded by MDE candidate Yujie Wang.

Social Impact

WaySense was selected to the Social Impact track. WaySense is an indoor wayfinding system for the blind using robotic guides and sonic beacons for accessibility. The venture was co-founded by MDE candidates Linh Pham, Siddharth UR and Kevin Hu.

Strix, an ultra-early forest fire detection system, was also selected in the Social Impact Track. The venture was co-founded by MDE candidates Grace Mai, Prachi Mehta, Hui-Ying Suk, and Hessan Sedaghat.

Semifinalists in two additional tracks for alumni and affiliate ventures will be announced soon, followed by finalist announcements on March 20. SEAS has a history of success at the President’s Innovation Challenge, winning and finishing runner-up in the Student Open track in 2023.

Topics: Entrepreneurship, Health / Medicine

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