On February 2nd at the Michigan Union, eight finalist student teams competed for awards totaling $4,500 in the first-ever Generative AI Innovation Competition. The competition was inspired and initially supported by Marc Weiser, Managing Director of venture capital firm RPM Ventures, to challenge students to develop meaningful and commercializable products and services leveraging generative artificial intelligence (genAI). The Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) partnered with Information Technology Services (ITS) to host the event and provide student applicants with access to U-M’s leading genAI tools, U-M GPT, Maizey, and GPT Toolkit and additional resources.

More than 40 student teams submitted projects for consideration in fall 2023 which were analyzed by staff, alumni, and entrepreneurs to determine 8 finalists. The finalist teams, supported by ITS, commercialization, genAI technology, and legal experts, as they honed presentations of their projects focusing on demonstrations of their innovations.

The finalist teams presented compelling entrepreneurial tech-driven projects targeting healthcare and medical advancements, education services, child-development products, and more.

ai competition judges panel

Judges for the final presentations included Mitch Rhode, founder of advanced artificial intelligence engineering and product development organization Quantum Signal, Christina York, serial entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of SpellBound a startup leveraging augmented reality to improve patient experiences in the healthcare industry, Trista Van Tine, co-founder and served as executive director for the Michigan Founders Fund, Brad Lichota, and Crystal Brown, founder and CEO of CircNova, a biotechnology startup leveraging AI for RNA therapy development.

“The student’s presentations and ideas were fascinating and fun – honestly thought-provoking and stimulating from both tech solution and business perspectives.”said Mitch Rhode.

First place and $3,000, was awarded to Story Palzz with teammates Hannah Gansert (Music, Theater and Dance ‘25, Tommy Potter (Undeclared ‘27), and Shashank Kalluri (Aerospace ‘25), commercializing a stuffed animal that incorporates genAI to craft unique interactive narratives, offering a unique and inclusive edu-tech solution, particularly beneficial for children with generalized anxiety or autism.

Nick Moroz speaks at the competition.

“The mentorship and support the competition offered along with resources and guidance from the CFE have set a strong foundation for us as student founders. We are ever grateful for this opportunity to further our passion for innovation. This is only the beginning,” said Hannah Gansert, Music, Theater and Dance ‘25, Co-Founder of Story Palzzz. 

Second place, third place, and fourth place were each awarded $500, and won by PsykAI, AI-Enhanced Mental Health Training with team members Cindy Ye (MS Computer-Human Interaction ‘25), Tanwee Deshpande (MSI UX R&D ‘25), Hamza, Naveed (MSI UX R&D ‘25), and Dushyanth Aluwihare (MS Information Sciences ‘24), Blue Candle, genAI created STEM exam prepping experience for university students led by Lily Li (Statistics ‘24), and Patient AI, an app for healthcare systems sustained by generative AI technology that creates patient health education documents in languages other than English founded by Natalya Salganik (Pharmacy ‘24), respectively.