It’s been a busy and exciting time for our friends at Skandalaris Center: This week they announced winners of both the Skandalaris Venture Competition (SVC) and Fall 2020 LEAP Cycle.

Skandalaris Venture Competition (SVC)

The Skandalaris Venture Competition provides funding and expert mentorship to new ventures and startups to ready them for commercializing their idea, launching, and pitching to investors. It is made possible by generous support from Skandalaris National Council member Kishore Kanakamedala.

This year, a record-setting number of ventures were submitted with 62 applications received and reviewed. On Dec. 8, seven SVC finalists presented their venture concepts to a panel of esteemed judges.


First place and a cash prize of $10,000 went to Cedars Health, Inc. The team of Raphael Chung (BS’19, MS ’20), Kevin Park (BS ’20), and Dr. Arett (associate professor of surgery, School of Medicine) is developing an implantable device that provides immediate and permanent relief, without complications, of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) symptoms.

According to Chung, The venture will use their winnings to develop prototypes and acquire materials for experiments.

Cedars Health, Inc. also was selected as fifth runner-up in Olin’s Big IdeaBounce®.


Lifted Pouches was the second-place winner, receiving $7,500 for their portable and fast-acting pre-workout health supplement. The team of Derek Leiter (MBA ’21), Tyler Edwards (MBA ’21), Marguerite Whitelaw (MBA ’21), and Zach Hechtman (BSBA ’21) also won 2nd  place in both the Olin Cup and Olin’s Big IdeaBounce®.

Lifted Pouches plans to use the funding to make prototypes and acquire materials for experiments.

“…participating in SVC, I began to understand through multiple judges’ feedback and questions how to construct a story that has a broader impact on potential investors. Addressing [judges’] concerns and questions allowed me to understand how those on the other end of my presentations were perceiving my product.”

      • – Derek Leiter

Third-place winner Golden Roots Essentials, founded by Fanta Kaba (MBA ‘21), received $5000. Golden Roots Essentials references traditional, centuries-old African skincare rituals and ingredients to create healthy, luxury skincare products. Kaba plans to use her award to boost the company’s branding efforts.

Golden Roots Essentials was featured in this year’s Fuse Holiday Gift Guide.

Applications for the Spring 2021 Skandalaris Venture Competition Cycle are open through February 1, 2021. If you are a current WashU student or alum within one year of graduation and have an early-stage venture or idea, enter now!