Meet the Pike Fellows

During the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years, the Pike Engineering Entrepreneurship Fellows Program provided funding and intensive support, guidance and mentorship for early-stage University of Virginia student teams working on entrepreneurial projects that were based on developing or commercializing some form of novel technology. In a culminating event, the student teams competed for the $50,000 Pike Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

2018 - 2019 Teams


    Redesigning outdoor gear to deliver excellent user experience while preserving functionality. The company also plans to partner with professional outdoor guides to raise awareness of their work in conservation and environmental preservation.


    Parker Hamlin
    Systems engineering with technology entrepreneurship minor, 2020

    Conner Hutson
    Computer science, 2020

    The Problem

    CHIEF is addressing two problems: 1) Products and gear for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and fishing, often focus on functionality, such as waterproofing, and at the expense of usability. For example, waterproof backpacks on the market today either are not truly waterproof or provide a subpar user experience by making it extremely difficult to access items inside. 2) Professional outdoor guides understand conservation issues better than most people, yet their work to preserve the environment and wildlife often goes unrecognized.

  • MetaCTF

    MetaCTF sparks interest in the cybersecurity field by hosting hands-on trainings and interactive competitions that challenge and encourage individuals of all ages to explore new security techniques and concepts in a safe, open environment.


    Marina Sanusi
    Computer science, 2018

    Roman Bohuk
    Computer science, cybersecurity focus, 2020

    Mariah Kenny
    Computer science, cybersecurity focus, 2019

    Jake Smith
    Computer science, cybersecurity focus, 2020

    The Problem

    Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries today, and, companies are struggling to fill open positions. Gaps in the education system make it difficult for students to break into the cybersecurity field and for industry professionals to improve their skills. MetaCTF aims to make it easier to learn new cybersecurity skills by taking complex topics and making them more attainable through hands-on workshops and events.

  • MIST

    Minimally Invasive Spinal Technology LLC engineers and surgeons are dedicated to the betterment of care for children suffering from scoliosis through a novel spinal stabilization technique, the Thoracolumbar Interbody ReAlignment (ThIRA) system.


    Alexander Singh
    Biomedical engineering, 2019

    Rohit Rustagi
    Biomedical engineering, 2019

    The Problem

    Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, extreme curvature of the spine, impacts two million adolescents in the United States alone. Many will end up undergoing spinal fusion, an invasive, painful six-hour procedure that comes with a minimum of three-month recovery time, large medical bills, and a complication rate of up to 50 percent.

  • Ocean.Loans

    Providing software as a service for private real estate lending companies and investors with tools for servicing loans and collecting lending analytics for investment decisions, reducing technology costs and improving market transparency for clients.


    Peter Weicher
    MBA candidate at the Darden School of Business, 2019

    The Problem

    Investment in technological tools for lenders has not kept up with tremendous growth in private lending. Additionally, there is an inherent lack of market data available to real estate investors and lenders due to the private and unreported nature of hard money lending.

  • PurPics

    Changing the way brands interact with Gen Z consumers by supporting the causes they care about. Students share photos on Instagram through the PurPics app, and for every like they receive, brands donate a few cents to a charitable or social cause.


    Raahish Kalaria
    Computer science, 2022

    Victor Layne
    Commerce (finance), 2020

    Aneesh Dhawan
    Economics with entrepreneurship minor, 2020

    The Problem

    Getting the attention of Gen Z is a major challenge for brands. Sponsored ads and paid influencers are not an authentic way for businesses to reach this generation of customers, who tend to be distrustful of marketing, socially conscious and motivated to address global challenges.

  • uBall

    A new portable version of basketball meant for beaches and fields. The basketball hoop set packs into a bag and can be assembled and secured into the ground in minutes. The hoop height is designed so that the average person can dunk the ball.


    Timothy “Tim” Shields
    Pre-commerce, 2021

    Margaret “Molly” Shields
    Neuroscience with bioethics minor, 2020

    The Problem

    Basketball is the only major sport that cannot be played on the go. In addition, the slam dunk is the most exciting play in basketball, yet 99% of the U.S. population will never be able to dunk a basketball.


2017 - 2018 Teams

  • Caelobotics Group

    Developing semi-autonomous robotic systems to provide real-time intelligence and long-range imaging solutions to law enforcement, particularly university campus security.


    Varundev Sukhil
    Computer Engineering PhD Candidate

    Christian Howard
    English PhD Candidate

    The Problem

    Commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, commonly called drones) manufacturers have been focusing on the hobby-grade market while companies such as Boeing have been developing military-grade systems. This dichotomy has left the middle-ground vacant, and law enforcement agencies are now desperately seeking intelligent robots to aid them in their activities.

    Caelobotics Group
  • HeatSight

    Thermal imaging goggles consisting of two sensors that interface with a microcontroller to display on a detailed thermal image of the area in both sensors' fields of view and will soon be built into a set of thermal imaging goggles.

    Photo of Alendander Sarris

    Alexander Sarris
    Electrical Engineering 2018

    The Problem

    Current thermal imaging goggles are unwieldy and expensive.

  • InMEDBio

    Developing novel wound care dressings for patients in emerging markets.

    Photo of Ashwinraj Karthikeyan

    Ashwinraj Karthikeyan
    Aerospace Engineering, 2018

    The Problem

    In developing countries where health resources are limited, advanced chronic wound care management is costly, and most times inaccessible for many patients. Specifically, for diabetic patients there is a heavy reliance on traditional gauzes as the current method of treatment for their chronic foot ulcers.

  • ConnectMe

    A platform for connecting those with only cellular network access to mobile data content.

    ConnectMe Team

    Shabad Singh
    Computer Science 2019

    Saad Khan
    Electrical & Computer Engineering 2019

    The Problem

    Global internet penetration has increased by 10% since 2016. Technology tycoons, such as Facebook and Google, have attempted to enhance internet penetration in places such as India, but, have recently been banned by government agents due to their lack of available information. The authorities have claimed that the companies only enhance internet penetration for certain websites, allowing for bias information. The current solutions revolve educating a population to use computer proficiently, and providing expensive equipment such as computers for that population to use.

  • CloudMine

    A mobile application that makes it simple for anyone to invest in crypto mining by focusing on usability, user-friendliness and security.

    CloudMine Team photo

    Kane Thomas
    Computer Science 2019

    Jared Downing
    Computer Science 2019

    Alex Williams
    Economics/Biology 2019

    The Problem

    Investing in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining is not accessible to the general public. The problem with current products that allow you to mine Bitcoin is that they aren’t very user-friendly or trustworthy. If a user wants to mine it on their own, it is very expensive. If a user believes in the long-term value of Bitcoin, it is better to mine it than buy it directly. Mining is more steady against the rise and fall of Bitcoin price. Generally, one can expect a 2x return as the mined Bitcoin gets deposited over the course of a year.