Empowerment, friendship and encouragement

Empowerment, friendship and encouragement. Those were the three biggest upsides for 2015 University Startup World Cup winner, Caleb Kumar in the process of building his own company. Factors that also helped the young entrepreneur through the biggest trauma of his life.

The greatest personal ‘up’ of this startup was the boost it gave to my confidence and mental health. Winning the Grand Award at the University Startup World Cup changed my life.

As the youngest college graduate in Minnesota history Caleb earned an associate’s degree in mathematics, just 13 years old. But, shortly after graduating Caleb had his life turned upside down, when he had a very serious traumatic brain injury that paralyzed nearly 50 % of his body. Despite years of rehabilitation there are still some residual deficits and because of his injury he now also had to battle anxiety.

In spite of those years of ordeal, in 2013 Caleb Kumar was accepted into Stanford University at the age of 17. The time at Stanford University became revolutionary for him as he started developing his own software. Out of his Stanford dorm room Caleb started building AI software that would help clinicians diagnosing patients; “Because of my own health challenge, I was empowered to bring timely diagnosis to patients and limit cost, so that additional financial burdens are not created for patients. Satisfying the need of patients was a major driving factor for me”, Caleb explains.

In establishing his own company Caleb joined forces with his now close friend Aslan Maleki, whom he met through Peter Theil’s ‘20under20’, where they were both semifinalists. Together the two young entrepreneurs would develop the company VesaliusMed including AI-powered software and a microscope to provide a non-invasive and accurate screening workflow for detecting cell-based diseases such as cancer.

When Caleb and Aslan reached Phase 2 of FDA trials they met a need for funding for patents and clinical testing and decided to apply for the 2015 University Startup World Cup (USWC). The two founders experienced a great amount of support from the international biotech industry and experts in their field. “I fondly remember my visit to Novo Nordisk headquarters. It was a pleasure to meet innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world – many of whom I still keep in touch with”, Caleb remembers. During the USWC Caleb and Aslan were also molded from novice speakers to competent orators. A talent that meant a lot to them as they learned how to effectively communicate the value proposition of their company. 

Finally, the founders decided that bigger players in the AI medical industry were better equipped to develop a product in this category, and VesaliusMed was acquired in 2021. “To achieve our end goal of getting the product into the market and saving lives, it would be better for us to transfer our knowledge and technical findings to a bigger company that would be able to compete and incorporate our technology in standard care around the world”, Caleb explains. 

Read more about the University Startup World Cup

National Polytechnic
University of Armenia


Andranik Voskanyan, Arthur Hakobyan

We offer autonomously operating robots, which can move in arbitrary shaped water, oil and gas pipelines con- tinuously monitoring and detecting erosion and leakage. Countries lose million tones of water, gas and oil from damaged tubes and sometimes it become dangerous for human life and nature when gas or oil pipeline gets damaged. So our product can find damaged or clogged places on their early stage in practically all kinds of pipe- lines over and underground. With the use of our product the damaged sections of a pipeline can be found faster, more easily, precisely and without digging the ground.

This means that maintenance and replacement of pipe- lines will be safer and much more cheaper. Our product is a robot which can move through the pipelines and investigate it with pressure, ultrasonic, flow sensors and camera which can shoot up to 4k video and save it in his memory card or sent it to connected devic- es. This robots autonomously move in arbitrary shaped water, oil and gas pipelines with diameters ranging from 10 cm up to 300 cm.

Reykjavik University


Ragnheiður Lilja Guðmundsdóttir, Safa Jemai

Our company is a disease management solution. Our software gathers together all the most important information about your health like meds, nutrition, exercise, symptoms, vitals and sleep and analyses it to give you a clear picture of how your health is at any given moment.

Our main focus to start with is on patients with thyroid problems and other autoimmune diseases, but we plan to add on and expand so we can service people with all kinds of chronic illnesses. Having to live with a chronic illness is time consuming, costly and frankly, exhausting. We want to make peoples lives easier with one platform

where you gather all the data you need to keep track of to manage your condition. So the next time you see your doctor you’ll have a much set of data to show him about your progress the past few months, and eventually with integration into the healthcare system the doctor will be able to access all the information himself before your appointment and therefore make a much better diagnosis and decision regarding your treatment.

With integration you will also be able to access your own test results, schedule appointments, prescriptions and better communication with your doctor.​