A person walking by the Shift Retail Lab
VCU Demo Day at the Shift Retail Lab will highlight and reward talent across the university for innovations ranging from medical devices to social and nonprofit ideas. (Kevin Morley, University Marketing)

VCU Demo Day to showcase student entrepreneurship, innovation

Six teams will pitch their ideas in an effort to gain financial awards to advance their products to market.

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VCU Demo Day, the da Vinci Center for Innovation’s annual event showcasing the top talent of student entrepreneurship at Virginia Commonwealth University, will be held Friday, April 29, and will highlight and reward talent across the university for innovations ranging from medical devices to social and nonprofit ideas.

This year, six teams will pitch their ideas on stage and then the audience will join a reception at VCU Shift Retail Lab, 1235 W. Broad St. At the reception, the audience will see more than 40 projects and presentations from student founders from across VCU for the People’s Choice Award.

Financial awards are provided by da Vinci Center advisory board members and the event sponsor, Capital One. There will also be a new award provided by a VCU Demo Day alum, Pranav Neyveli, who participated in VCU Pre-X and Demo Day in 2019 as a VCU engineering freshman with team members Brennan Stark and Satya Koppu. They pitched PeerPal, a project they were working on that enabled customers to leverage meaningful engagement between a school's existing community of students, families and alumni with prospective families. In just 18 months, PeerPal became the fastest-growing admissions and marketing software provider used by prestigious schools and was acquired by Graduway in 2021.

Through VCU Pre-X and Demo Day, Neyveli worked closely with the executive director of the da Vinci Center, Garret Westlake, Ph.D., who offered advice and introduced him to local investors. Neyveli’s team was awarded $5,000 through VCU Pre-X and Demo Day that year and stretched that money to get their product launched. Neyveli is funding a $2,000 Todd Allen Phillips Memorial Award in honor of a high school teacher and mentor from Godwin High School. One of the many lessons Neyveli learned from his mentor was the value of hard work and he’d like this year’s award to go to a team that has put in the hard work to get their idea off the ground, he said. Neyveli is also returning to the Demo Day stage with a new venture he’s working on with a current VCU student.

Kamal Bherwani, CEO of government technology provider GCOM, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s event.

Join the da Vinci Center teams in person or through a livestream this year:

Student pitches


Entrepreneur: Briana Williams

LipLoveLine provides customers with ingredient-conscious lip-care products to empower self-expression in the best and cleanest way possible: through the lips. Williams is a current participant in Lighthouse Labs and has recently been recognized in Style Weekly’s 40 under 40.

C'est Lä Vé

Entrepreneur: Yosef Mirakov Cohen

C’est La Vé is a 100% vegan snack-sized pack. Mirakov Cohen aims to create an affordable, on-the-go, vegan snack pack for anyone who wants to save time and effort to get a healthy protein-packed quick bite.


Entrepreneurs: Miguel Rao and Pranav Neyveli

Wyndicate stands for winning syndicate. Wyndicate hopes to solve the issue that most crypto companies face: getting new (noncrypto-educated) people to buy cryptocurrency and participate in Web3 projects and communities.

Entrepreneurs: Bella Lubinskas, Brenna Gill, Hayden Taylor
Better2gether is a local Richmond nonprofit that provides nonmedical assistance to families with children who have complex medical illnesses. Better2gether understands that patients and their families’ needs don’t end after leaving the doctor’s office.

Entrepreneurs: Amir Behdani
KBHealth is introducing the Proactive Comprehensive Diversion Monitoring Program (ProCDM), a system that can accurately and efficiently assess every chain of custody gap in controlled substance management in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Since September, the program has been implemented at a 114-bed acute care rehabilitation hospital and has been able to reduce manual diversion tracking hours from over 40 to just minutes per month.

Entrepreneur: Peyton Spangler

Spangler wants to create a toy that gives children the ability to create their own worlds. Noodlers bring children away from screens and into the world of their imagination. They are made from high-quality, sustainable natural rubber, lessening the environmental impact of plastic in landfills. Spangler is a current student at the VCU Brandcenter.