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By Stephanie Amaya, Texas A&M Innovation – June 6, 2024

The Texas A&M New Ventures Competition (TNVC) hosted 20 rising start-up companies from across Texas to compete for more than $450,000 in cash and prizes. After a rigorous process of presentations reviewed by panels of commercialization experts, a Houston-based company, Taurus Vascular took home the grand prize.

The competition played out in multiple rounds, with six companies ultimately competing as finalists. Taurus Vascular, a pioneer in aortic aneurysm technology, led by Co-founder and CEO Matthew Kuhn, faced tough competition through two rounds and soared in the final round. “We are honored to have won first place at the Texas New Ventures Competition. Competing alongside so many outstanding companies and talented founders makes this recognition even more meaningful and reflects the dedication and hard work of our team at Taurus Vascular,” Kuhn shared. “The financial support and increased visibility from this win will be pivotal for our growth, unlocking new opportunities and partnerships. This award strengthens our belief in our mission of reducing endoleak risks in endovascular aortic aneurysm repair and making a positive impact on patient care. We are also grateful to Biotex for choosing us as a recipient for their sponsored prize and eagerly anticipate collaborating with them in the next phase of our technology’s development.”

TNVC awarded Texas startups over $450K in prizes, with many companies taking home significant prize money. FreezeNit, a one-year-old Dallas-based company offering an innovative solution to head lice, won third place, and took home $110K in both cash and sponsored prizes. FreezeNit, led by CEO Joanna Shu, is developing a non-toxic treatment for head lice that uses only cold CO2 gas. Shu plans to use the prize money to initiate regulatory clinical trials. “The quality of businesses, entrepreneurs here, and the investors are so smart, so connected, especially in healthcare,” Shu said. “This has been an amazing event for us. We probably got a year’s worth of networking done in two days.”

In addition to awarded prizes, participating in TNVC offers valuable experience to startup companies through its four-month long vetting, coaching, and competition process that provides insightful feedback to all applicants on both technical and business merit. In the last 10 years, TNVC has awarded nearly $4M in prize money, with many participating businesses still thriving or having exited successfully, showcasing the event’s significant impact. “As we celebrate the 10th year of the Texas A&M New Ventures Competition, we recognize the significant economic impact these startups have across Texas and their worldwide societal contributions,” said Chris Scotti, TNVC Chair. “Looking ahead, we are excited to continue fostering innovation and supporting science and engineering-based companies that drive progress and create lasting change.”

Unique to TNVC, all sponsored prize winners are chosen by the sponsoring company, resulting in matches that provide the most value and impact to the winner. Ember Sleep earned a notable award, the “Winners Circle Legacy Prize,” which, is a cash prize given by past TNVC winners to their favorite competitor as a way to “pay it forward.” Other sponsored prize winners received awards of investment capital, consulting, legal & engineering services, and other forms of entrepreneurial support tailored to their needs and region.

All winners were announced at the end of the two-day event, which featured a key-note speaker, an entrepreneurial panel of past winners that have achieved recent major milestones, networking sessions, as well as final presentations and elevator pitches. In total, 27 awards and prizes were distributed.

Learn more about the competition and the winners, including their locations and photographs at

Photo caption: Matthew Kuhn receiving the TNVC first place winner check. (From left to right) Pete ONeill, Matthew Kuhn, and Joe Elabd, Ph.D.

About Texas A&M New Ventures Competition

TNVC fuels small businesses’ growth and accelerates the launch of groundbreaking technologies. Since its 2015 inception, $4 million in prizes have been awarded, establishing itself as a beacon for Texas-based early-stage innovators. The 2024 event drew over 350 participants, including venture capitalists, angel investors, and entrepreneurs, all committed to discovering and advancing the next generation of tech pioneers. Previous TNVC winners have garnered over $571 million in investments, affirming TNVC’s role in elevating top Texan startups to national prominence under Texas A&M Innovation’s guidance.

About Texas A&M Innovation

Texas A&M Innovation at College Station works with a diverse array of partners – including entrepreneurs, investors, technology incubators, and large enterprises – to improve lives by commercializing innovations from The Texas A&M University System. Texas A&M research generates more than 300 new technologies each year, providing abundant and varied opportunities for industry collaboration. Learn more about the Texas A&M Innovation technology portfolio.

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