About the Ashton Family Venture Challenge


The Ashton Family Venture Challenge is part of ASU’s Startup Funding Network, a suite of startup funding tracks that are defined and led by the University’s colleges and schools. The ASU Funding Network is designed to activate the New American University’s design aspiration of valuing entrepreneurship and providing entrepreneurial experiences to all ASU affiliates.

The Ashton Family Venture Challenge, powered by the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, enables practicing entrepreneurs to win up to $10,000 in seed grant funding, along with professional Venture Mentorship and additional startup support offerings.

The Ashton Family Venture Challenge is open to all ASU-affiliated entrepreneurs who aim to prove or disprove that there is valid demand for a prototyped solution (product or service) beyond an initial beneficiary or customer.

Organized by Entrepreneurship + Innovation @ Fulton Schools, this bi-annual competition aims to strategically develop early-stage ventures that may be well suited to compete for and win other ASU, local, national, and global entrepreneurship competitions. The Ashton Family Venture Challenge also helps all supported ventures to develop repeatable and scalable business models, regardless of follow-on funding or support opportunities.

John Ashton

John Ashton

John Ashton and his family, are ASU alumni who care about Entrepreneurship + Innovation in all of its forms. The entire Ashton Family have rallied to support Sun Devil change-makers who are launching new ventures at ASU and beyond.

How it Works

The Ashton Family Venture Challenge features several highly competitive phases. First, competitors must apply to the ASU Venture Devils program. Venture Devils applications are accepted and processed five times per year, coinciding with the Fall A+B, Spring A+B, and Summer C session start dates.

Applications must be submitted exactly one week before classes begin for any given Fall A+B, Spring A+B, and Summer C session in which you aim to participate. This application deadline cycle is essential to ensure that we are able to review your application information and match you with an appropriate Venture Mentor and Funding Network track prior to the start of the session.

See the ASU Academic Calendar for future Fall A+B, Spring A+B, and Summer C start dates and be sure to apply at least one week prior.

Next, once your startup joins the ASU Venture Devils family, you will be invited to participate in our bi-annual Pitch Playoff and Demo Day events.

During the Pitch Playoffs each October and March, several volunteer evaluator panels will determine which ASU-affiliated startups are worthy of an array of available seed grants, ranging between $1,000 and $100,000 in value.

Finally, during the Demo Day events each December and April, an Ashton Family Venture Challenge judging panel will determine which ASU-affiliated technology startups are worthy of seed grants ranging between $1,000 and $10,000 in value.

Venture Eligibility

All Arizona State University-affiliated ventures may participate. Individual founders or teams are eligible. Multidisciplinary teams are preferred. Participants are encouraged to incorporate members and/or mentors from different departments or colleges within the university. Founding teams may also have members who are not affiliated with the university (e.g., friends, family, work colleagues, etc. who are not ASU affiliates).

Apply to Venture Devils to be considered for the next Ashton Family Venture Challenge