Winners of the 2018 Davidson Venture Fund, pictured above with their mentor teams and pitch competition judges. Read more about the winning ventures, NALA and Lucid, LLC.

Meet our 5 finalist teams!

Sara Shah '17, Founder of Blueming

Sara Shah ’17, Founder

Blueming, Founder Sara Shah ‘17:

Blueming is a revolutionary mobile self-care app designed to help both the “birthing” and “supporting” partners who may be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety. Mental health is only now coming to the forefront, which means resources on PPD are sadly limited.

Blueming will provide new parents with: educational audio trainings on PPD explaining the science behind the symptoms to remind parents what they’re feeling is normal, meditations & exercises to reduce stress, a daily journal entry option so parents can track their symptoms and progress, and information from the experts. Blueming hopes to end the stigma surrounding PPD and help new mothers and fathers “bluem” with their newborns.


Maya Packer ’17, Founder

Scriba Planner, Founder Maya Packer ‘17:

Too many times I have heard my peers complain about planners. Each year, each new planner is exciting, but could use a few changes. It is difficult for a completely predesigned planner to fit someone’s every need. The Scriba Planner is a customizable organizational tool for students and professionals to help them keep their lives in order and on track for big goals and major projects. Organization is key to staying in control of your life and The Scriba Planner is the perfect planner for you, because it is made by you.



Lucid team photo with Davidson wildcat statue

(l to r) Adrian Mayans ’19, Andrew Ashur ’18 and David Danielson ’19, Co-founders


Lucid, LLC, Co-founders David Danielson ‘19, Andrew Ashur ‘19 & Adrian Mayans ‘19:

We have found a way to combine the versatility of a flying drone with the cleaning capabilities of a pressure washer. This patent-pending technology lets us clean buildings faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than current methods. Due to the capital-intensive nature of our business plan, we are very scalable. The market is large and the competitors are inefficient, which gives us a great opportunity for success.




Sam Castle ‘14, CTO

Sam Castle ‘14, CTO

NALA, CTO Sam Castle ‘14 & CEO Benjamin Fernandes:

NALA is for-profit social enterprise committed to building a digital bank, providing affordable, accessible and convenient financial services for Sub-Saharan Africa.

In the Short Term: NALA is smoothing the Payments Process for Mobile Money in Tanzania, growing accessibility. NALA has built an interface that sits on top of mobile money:

  • 7X Faster than using traditional methods of sending money (USSD) Process.
  • NALA processes transactions within 3 steps vs. 41 Digits through traditional transaction method of mobile money.
  • NALA provides access to money management tools (financial planning)
  • Works OFFLINE! (No Internet/Data required to make financial transactions)

Kenny Xu ’19, Chief Content Director

Fairooz Adams ’19, Co-founder

The American Moderate, Chief Content Director Kenny Xu ‘19 & Co-founder, Fairooz Adams:

At a time when more individuals are politically engaged than ever, individuals and educators are seeking a quality alternative to the one-sided polemic that currently pervades across social media.

The proposal of the The American Moderate is to produce and stream high-quality video debates on niche political and social issues for the purposes of entertainment and education, utilizing a subscription and ad-based model to generate revenue and a focus on viral video for marketing.

What is the Davidson Venture Fund?

Davidson Venture Fund is a pitch competition that gives students and recent alumni (’12-’17) the opportunity to compete for up to $25,000 in investment in innovative, for-profit ventures. Finalists receive up to 4 weeks of coaching and mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs before pitching live on-campus in front of a panel of investors and entrepreneurs!

Timeline (Updated on March 23)

  • March 27: Submit application materials by 10pmEST (Read: All 3 parts!)
  • March 29: Finalists are notified by email regarding advancement to Pitch Day!
  • March 29 – April 25: Finalists participate in formal and informal entrepreneurship education opportunities and work with mentors to develop their business
  • April 25 @ 4:30 PM: Pitch your idea to panel of entrepreneurs and investors. Winner(s) will be announced at the competition! 

RSVP for 2018 Davidson Venture Fund Pitch Day. After 4 weeks of coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs, our teams will take center-stage for this Shark Tank-style pitch competition at 4:30pm in the McKay Atrium, E. Craig Wall, Jr. Academic Center. Reception to follow at 7pm. This event is FREE and OPEN to the public. All are welcome!

Bloomerent wins 2017 Davidson Venture Fund. Bloomerent co-founders (l to r): Danit Zamir and Julia Capalino ’11

The Application: In Three Parts

  1. Submit a written application online: Explain your idea. How much capital are you seeking through Davidson Venture Fund? What problem are you attempting to solve? Who are your potential customers? Who are your competitors? How does your solution work? How will your venture make money? How have you paid for the venture so far? How much capital do you need to achieve your next milestone? Describe your team and venture ownership.
  2. Create a 2-minute “pitch” video about your business idea! We care much more about the content of your talk than the video production quality. A webcam or smartphone video is sufficient. Speak loudly and clearly, and be sure the volume of the video is adequate.
  3. Sign a Program Participant Agreement to acknowledge and agree with the program terms and conditions.  (Feel free to let us know if you have any questions!  We’re here to help!)


Who is eligible?

  • Enrolled Davidson students and alumni classes of 2012-2017. NOTE: We’ve expanded the eligibility for the 2018 Davidson Venture Fund to include applicants from the class of 2012.

Does my venture qualify?

  • We accept applications from any profit business model.

Does my entire team have to be Davidson students or alum?

  • No. But they must own at least 25% of the company. NOTE: We’ve expanded the eligibility for the 2018 Davidson Venture Fund from 33.3% ownership to 25% ownership.

Do you give out more than one award?

  • It depends. Usually, one finalist team takes home the whole prize. When the judges believe there should be more than one winner, they have the discretion to divide up the prize. 

Do you pay for travel?

  • We generally reimburse up to $250.

The Fine Print


  • Each team must include at least one currently enrolled Davidson student(s) and/or at least one Davidson alumni classes 2012-2017.
  • Currently enrolled Davidson student(s) and/or alumni classes 2012-2017 must own 25% or more equity in the business to be eligible for an investment.
  • One currently enrolled Davidson student or alumnus/a class of 2012-2017 must deliver the pitch and answer questions from the judges.
  • Teams may compete and win without being incorporated (or, in the case of a limited liability company, organized), but in order to receive investment teams must be incorporated or organized.


  • Confidentiality of information is not guaranteed and teams should not include any confidential information in their submissions, including trade secrets or other proprietary information that would be at risk for disclosure.
  • Entry into this competition may be considered a public disclosure for patent purposes. If teams plan to file patent protection on an aspect of their business, they should consult with an intellectual property attorney before entering.
  • Intra-team confidentiality is the sole responsibility of team members.


  • There is no requirement that the judges make an investment in any team. The investment will be granted in the judges’ discretion.
  • Teams are subject to the College Honor Code.
  • Student teams must attend all on-campus bootcamps or educational clinics in February. Non-local alumni and students studying abroad must participate in a series of digital modules.
  • Teams may be disqualified at any time before, during, or after the pitch competition for failing to comply with these general rules or the conditions set forth in the program participation agreement.


Investment from the Davidson Venture Fund is an investment by Davidson College (or a subsidiary of the college) in a Davidson student or young alumni business venture. While teams may compete and win the investment without being incorporated (or, in the case of a limited liability company, organized), the investment will only be disbursed to a corporation or limited liability company.

The winning team(s) will have the option to structure the investment as either a convertible note or a warrant. If the convertible note structure is selected, then the team will enter into a Convertible Promissory Note and a Loan Agreement with Davidson College or a subsidiary of the college (referred to as the “Investor”). If the warrant structure is selected, then the team will enter into a Warrant and Investment Agreement with the Investor.


The following is a sampling of the benefits available to the finalist teams.


Prior to the pitch competition, student and alumni finalists will learn the basics of entrepreneurship by working with experienced mentors. It is not a pre-requisite to know everything about starting a company when you apply. We will help you cover the basics of company formation and IP, business model canvas, pitch preparation, startup life, and more. Non-local alumni will have access to mentors through virtual meetings.


Work with experienced mentors and entrepreneurs in the Davidson College community and beyond.


Connect with the Davidson entrepreneurial ecosystem including investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders with a diverse range of expertise.


Community is an important part of the Davidson Venture Fund experience. Teams are expected to learn as much from one another as they do from the Davidson Venture Fund staff and mentors.