Acoustic Shield, Startup Aggieland’s first E-Team, is one of 50 E-Teams chosen to receive a $5,000 grant from VentureWell.  VentureWell defines an E-Team – the “E” stands for entrepreneurship –as a multidisciplinary group of students, faculty and industry mentors collaborating to bring a technology to market.

Luke Neese

Luke Neese, a philosophy major with a pre-law focus, and his wife Virginia, a nutrition major at Texas A&M University, co-founded Acoustic Shield with Liang Ge, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering. They met at 3-Day Startup, a program hosted at Startup Aggieland by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Mays Business School. Their venture is an indoor gunshot detection system.

VentureWell’s E-Team Program helps college students commercialize technology ideas. Startup Aggieland prepares students to enter programs such as VentureWell and the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps.

“Startup Aggieland – and Texas A&M University, for that matter – provides an experiential educational environment where you are responsible for what you get out of it,” Neese explained. “Your future is truly in your hands.”

Virginia Neese

Virginia Neese said being accepted for the VentureWell E-Team is an honor. “We have the opportunity to meet 49 other student startups from all over the country and learn something from each of them,” she noted. “I am excited to represent Texas A&M and to pursue this leadership opportunity. At Acoustic Shield, we are passionate about saving lives. The Stage 1 Grant and VentureWell Workshop will undoubtedly help us do that in the right way.”

Liang Ge

Don Lewis, assistant director of Startup Aggieland, called it a unique resource for students of all majors and at all levels of study. “Startup Aggieland helps students stand out by making it possible for them to show that they have the skills to create their own jobs and to create value for investors, while also showing they can take a product to market,” he said. “How many students can say they have secured a patent before they graduate from college? Or created a business that employs 24 people and generates six figures in revenue? We have students who are doing that now as undergraduates. People will notice that.”

The grant’s rules require that two student co-founders of Acoustic Shield use some of the grant funding to attend a Stage 1 workshop in Cambridge, Mass., July 30 through Aug. 1. The focus of the workshop is to learn how to validate the market opportunity for the team’s innovation. The team will be expected to develop near-term milestones during the workshop. Any remaining funds can be used for further development of Acoustic Shield. Designated as Stage 1, the students’ E-Team has until Oct. 7 to apply for Stage 2 of the E-Team program.

“Acoustic Shield represents a high-quality student team pursuing a high-impact solution for the world around them,” said  Blake Petty, director of the CNVE and one of several mentors to the Acoustic Shield team. “It only makes sense for them to be recognized by a first-class organization like VentureWell, whose dedication to the support of innovation and commercialization by student entrepreneurs is unparalleled.”

The team’s lead mentor is Rodney Boehm from the Dwight look College of Engineering.

VentureWell is a higher education network that has been on a 20-year mission to launch new ventures from young inventors to improve lives and help the planet. That goal aligns with those of the Acoustic Shield team, Ge said. “It’s our dream to save lives with technology,” Ge explained. “Startup Aggieland helps make the dream come true. We are very excited to participate in VentureWell’s E-Team program. I am sure we will learn a lot from peers and mentors. I’m glad to see Acoustic Shield accelerate in the near future.”

Startup Aggieland is an award-winning business accelerator for student startups launching from Texas A&M University.  Startup Aggieland is sponsored by the Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship; Dwight Look College of Engineering; College of Architecture, the Office of the Vice President of Research and the Research Valley Partnership.


Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,900 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, business, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Media contact: Shelly Brenckman, Startup Aggieland, 936-537-6011