Blog: Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Engineering, Owen Business, & Undergraduate Students Share Startup Ideas at January 2021 Firestarters

On January 25th, six groups took part in this month’s FireStarter pitch competition. With representation from Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine, School of Engineering, Owen Graduate School of Management, and undergraduate programs, a diverse collection of business concepts were presented. Groups shared a quick introduction of their team, the consumer needs their concepts addressed, the solution it offers, the industry market size, target customer profiles and the formulated business model. In a virtual setting groups presented their business concepts, including:

Better VRx: Presented by Dan Friend, Dan Cortez

As opioids are the primary tool used in pain management for 50 million Americans that suffer from chronic pain, addiction is a rising issue. Better VRx aims to improve the lives of patients by providing effective, affordable and accessible care through cutting edge virtual reality technology and advances in the understanding of human consciousness. Virtual reality has shown to help treat illnesses such as acute pain, anxiety, depression and alzheimers. Serving as a digital health company that offers providers a “VR Pharmacy” of virtual reality programs the business concept consists of pain management applications that can be twice as effective as morphine with fewer side effects. 

Expected Value: Presented by Emily Thomas, Hunter Sceats and Adam Hetzler 

Inspired during this team’s clinical year of medical training, Expected Value is a readmissions risk prediction model that allows for the efficient and equitable distribution of resources. The concept deploys advanced predictive models and unique data streams to improve patient health outcomes, lower costs, increase revenue, improve quality metrics and ensure healthcare equity. Targeted towards hospitals that are accepting more readmission risk or have large penalties, this business concept helps identify at-risk patients to prevent avoidable readmissions and improve care. 

Mandla: Presented by Wenitte Apiou, Delanyo Mensah 

Mandla is an e-learning platform that aims to teach African languages, build a database of African languages for accurate translation, and preserve culture. Consisting of a team of first generation African immigrants, the students noticed the lack of resources for learning their own dialect. Their business concept combats the problem that Africa is underrepresented in the field of online language learning.

Treezy: Presented by Tatham Dees, Kevin Zhai 

Treezy is a task management system with a goal to alleviate stress by visually indicating all personal daily tasks that have been completed. The platform serves as a blueprint for a consumer’s day and provides a better way to manage tasks. Treezy also includes a business suite feature, used for project management among teams in an organization. Treezy is now available at

ready dress go: Presented by Jessica Kaplan, Zoe Antell

Revolutionizing professional attire for young business women, ready dress go is an e-retail platform that helps young, aspiring, business women feel confident in the workplace by reducing costs and increasing the accessibility and quality of professional attire. Targeted towards 18 to 24 year olds who are looking to start their career, this company’s mission is to inspire young professional women. For more details on the company’s upcoming launch, visit or follow along on Instagram at @ready.dress.go.


Mighty Blendz: Presented by Kayla Vine

Having to navigate a strict paleo diet as a college student, Kayla Vine developed a strong passion for health, wellness and nutrition. Through this passion she coined the idea for Mighty Blendz: an all-in-one meal replacement smoothie powder that won’t spike blood sugar for busy people on the go. The brand provides a quick, convenient way to make food with single-use packets and the addition of only water or milk. To receive updates to be among the first customers, visit the Mighty Blendz website, Facebook page, or Instagram (@MightyBlendz).

After the six pitches were complete, judges’ scores were calculated to determine Expected Value as the winner. Followed up by Might Blendz and Mandla, judges applauded all participants and concepts.

Interested in pitching your business idea? Join us on February 22nd for the next Firestarter Pitches! Visit our event page for more information and registration details.