Future Labs hosts pitch competition for NYC startups, including company founded by Tandon alums

Rollio founder and CEO Jake Soffer presented his company to the judges at the Flash Pitch competition.

Flash Pitch held its most recent pitch competition on April 6, as part of TechCrunch Takes Manhattan, where multiple events for startups and companies were held across Manhattan, including a pitch practice session and pitch workshop. The Future Labs at NYU Tandon event series has provided New York-based startups with the opportunity to pitch their products and services to investors, entrepreneurs, and technology leaders since its inception in 2015.

“Whether it’s meeting investors who will eventually fund their companies, understanding metrics and milestones to join startup programs, or attracting talent, Flash Pitch is a platform for founders to showcase their ventures, break through into the ecosystem and take the next steps in their lifecycle,” Mina Salib, program manager at the Future Labs and managing director of Flash Pitch, said of the series.

Salib kicked off the event by welcoming the audience and laying out the ground rules for the participating companies: two minutes to pitch, three minutes for Q&A with the judges, and three minutes of constructive feedback. Steven Kuyan, managing director of the Data and Digital Future Labs, also shared the Future Labs’ commitment to providing opportunities, resources, access, and networking to launch successful startups and encouraged the audience to learn more about its accelerator program, AI NexusLab. Formed through a partnership between Future Labs, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and ff Venture Capital, the four-month program aims to launch and support artificial intelligence (AI) startups in sectors like software, data and security, and health care in the New York area.

Salib introduced the audience to the six companies, each of which presented in front of a panel of judges, who included Anthony Ha, senior writer at TechCrunch; Anu Duggal, founding partner at Female Founders Fund; Chris Farlic, a partner at First Round Capital; and Ben Narasin, partner at Canvas Ventures. After providing vital feedback on each startup’s presentation, their business model, and tips on effectively promoting their company to potential investors and clients, the judges then deliberated to select the evening’s most investable company.

Anu Duggal, founding partner at Female Founders Fund, provides feedback to a competitor

Anu Duggal, founding partner at Female Founders Fund, provides feedback to a company competing at Flash Pitch

The competitors included Rollio, a service that melds AI with customer relationship management (CRM) to speed up sales productivity; Beam Impact, an application that connects customers and their favorite companies with corporations’ social responsibility initiatives; XapiX, an application program interface (API)-distribution system for developers looking to streamline application development; Sales Huddle, which revamps the employee training process with customized daily training games; Dashride, the cloud-based dispatching software and administrative technology for transportation companies managing fleets; and Acculis Tech, a startup that provides organizational platforms for construction projects and augmented reality software for on-site, 3D visualization of design models. Acculis was also developed and founded by four NYU Tandon alumni: Darren Ye ’16, Christopher Lysiuk ’15, Nicholas Molinski ’16, and Ada Slusarczyk ’17.

The evening’s winning team, Sales Huddle, received a demo table at TechCrunch’s May event, Disrupt NY, one month of free space at the Future Labs, as well as free legal services and Amazon Web Services credits. With their space at the Future Labs, Salib noted that Sales Huddle and other winning startups “gain access to the network of companies in our program and limited access to our network of resources, such as investors, mentors, and service providers.” The audience also had an opportunity to select their favorite presenter and awarded the NYU Tandon-built Acculis with the audience choice prize for their innovative venture into augmented reality.

Upcoming Flash Pitch events include the April 20 Flash Pitch AI, a special Flash Pitch for artificial intelligence startups, at Rise New York, for which companies can currently apply, and the Innovation Pitch Competition during the Northside Festival in June.


Camila Ryder
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018

Learn more about: Steven Kuyan