Innovate x LA: Das Family Student Competition

Calling all innovators, engineers, entrepreneurs, creatives and makers to join a passionate team of students who will work on transformative innovations for the City of Angels.

View 2024 Competing Teams


About the Competition

The Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), with the generous support of the Das Family, has launched its inaugural Das Family CEE Student Innovation Competition themed Innovate x LA. Focusing on some of the most pressing challenges facing the City of Los Angeles, student teams must develop innovative solutions using civil and environmental engineering concepts. This competition is designed to provide students with guidance for launching a startup and creating compelling pitches for their ideas.

This year's competition began with a kickoff event on Thursday, September 21st, 3:00-6:00 PM. Student teams will attend six monthly seminars focused on developing their ideas for Final Pitch Day in spring 2024. They will showcase sections of their pitch decks to panels comprised of startup founders and receive feedback on refining the content. This guidance from industry leaders will prepare teams for their presentations on Demo Day. 


Who can apply?

Teams will be led by CEE students, but students from a variety of disciplines at USC are strongly encouraged to apply. We are looking for big, bold ideas that can be implemented to make Los Angeles a more sustainable, prosperous, equitable, joyful and healthier city for all to live in for generations to come.

Competing student teams will have the chance to win a grand prize of $20,000! 

Participants will attend monthly workshops and receive mentorship from faculty and industry leaders throughout the competition.
The goal of the competition is to create a learning opportunity for students and encourage them to address Los Angeles’ biggest challenges that could be solved by innovations in civil and environmental engineering. Students will develop innovative engineering ideas for the City of Los Angeles based upon one of five categories: disaster resilience, environmental stewardship, urban livability, extreme habitats, and transportation service systems.



The department looks forward to hosting this competition annually.

Join us for our Kickoff Event on Thursday, September 21st, 3:00-6:00 PM.