Virginia Tech Sweeps 2019 American Evolution Innovators Cup

At the 2019 American Evolution Innovators Cup, Virginia Tech students took home the gold. Winning more than $40,000 in cash prizes, two Virginia Tech student teams were chosen as the grand prize winners of the second annual competition, beating out schools from across the state, including rivals from UVA.

The American Evolution Innovators Cup is a pitch competition that held at the Tom Tom Foundation’s annual Summit and Festival that champions entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation each April. The 2019 competition challenged Virginia students to reimagine the high school of the future in the Social Impact Challenge, and develop concepts on the commercialization of invention and research in the Commonwealth Challenge.

From left to right – Ben Dendy, 2019 Commemoration Steering Committee; Mark Carman, a member of the Redshift Education, Inc. team; and Kevin Hall, Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery at the American Evolution Innovators Cup.


The 6-member student team from Virginia Tech was selected as the grand prize winner of the Social Impact Challenge. Their winning submission, “Redshift Education, Inc.,” builds project-based learning in virtual reality by codifying worldwide practices into libraries of VR lessons. Their solution brought 21st-century technology to high schools, and beat out 3 rival teams competing from the University of Virginia. UVA still finished strong, with one team from the school placing second for its submission, “The Pick-Me-Up Box.”

Other finalists in the Social Impact Challenge included: “InternLab,” University of Virginia; “MetaCTF,” University of Virginia; “ReinventED’s Reinventing High School Kit,” University of Virginia; and “Computer Science Curriculum for Richmond Public High Schools,” Virginia Commonwealth University.


From left to right – Members of the Rendyr team Martin Angst, Callan McGill, Kaelum Hasler, Liam Lawrence, Reid Holbert and American Evolution Executive Director Kathy Spangler at the American Evolution Innovators Cup.

Virginia Tech kept its competitive spirit alive and also received the top award in the American Evolution Innovators Cup’s Commonwealth Challenge. The winning submission “Rendyr,” maximizes access to rapid prototyping with the introduction of Optic, their portable laser cutter. Finishing as close runner-up, a team from the University of Virginia placed in second for its submission, “Minimally Invasive Spinal Technology, LLC.”


Other “Commonwealth Challenge” finalists teams included: “PurPics,” University of Virginia; “Riley,” University of Virginia; “HeartSaver,” Virginia Commonwealth University; and “Keydet Cap Aero,” Virginia Military Institute.

Both schools brought their brightest minds to beat out 41 student teams representing 17 Commonwealth colleges and universities(and two high schools!) that were all selected to participate in the American Evolution Innovators Cup semi-finals.

“On behalf of the 2019 Commemoration, we are thrilled to recognize the next generation of innovators in the Commonwealth.” said Kathy Spangler, Executive Director of 2019 Commemoration. We look forward to seeing how these ideas will be implemented in real-life scenarios.”