InnoVention 2024

NYU Tandon’s flagship entrepreneurial competition highlights ventures from across the university

Group photo of the 10 finalists in InnoVention 2024

According to Vadim Gordin, the Director of the Tandon Future Labs A/X Venture Studio and the School’s Entrepreneurship Competition Coordinator, there are only two things that matter to the viability of a startup: creating products and transacting with customers on the basis of that work. Everything else that early-stage founders do should be evaluated critically through the lens of whether they advance those goals.

Naturally then, shipping product and transacting with customers are the dual goals of InnoVention, the annual entrepreneurship competition run by the NYU Tandon Future Labs. Part competition and part accelerator, InnoVention invites select teams from across the university to attend a four-month series of workshops and coaching sessions aimed at honing their products and forging industry partnerships early on. It culminates with the teams pitching a panel of judges to vie for a $25,000 prize, which is awarded to the most commercially viable, scalable, and innovative idea.

This year, 10 companies from across NYU competed in InnoVention, with six of those successfully securing revenue, design, or data partnerships with enterprise customers., for example, an artificial intelligence-powered call center led by Tandon computer science master’s student Alfarouk Saleh and his Cornell Tech-educated co-founder, Youssef Torky, closed on pilots with two customers during the competition, received $250,000 in investment from Antler.VC directly after, and subsequently entered the Future Labs Catalyst Program

“InnoVention has long been an integral part of Tandon’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship — and works hand-in-hand  with other entrepreneurial support across NYU  like the NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge and Summer Launchpad,” Gordin said. “This year, we attracted a particularly strong pool of start-ups and gave them an ambitious goal: to refine their product and actually get clients onboard. That might seem like a tall order, but we were confident that NYU-trained entrepreneurs would be capable of it, and we were proven right.”

InnoVention Competition Winners

Winner of the $25,000 prize provides a gamified web-based home rehabilitation program using AI-powered therapeutic games for post-stroke patients (founded by NYU College of Arts and Science postdoc Alexandr Pak, along with teammates from Berkeley, the Kazakh-British Technical University, and the Astana Neurosurgery Centre).

Audience Favorite

Well Well Well: a healthtech service that matches Mandarin-speaking patients with therapists who know their language and culture. (launched by NYU Graduate School of Arts & Science alum Anja Zhou.

    Other teams included:
    • Art & Interaction Lab, which is building an AI-powered toolset to help creative directors at advertising agencies leverage the technology to streamline storyboarding and other processes (founded by Tisch student Jonny Sabbath and Tadon student Fei Gao, who were advised by Stern professor Christian Grewell).
    • FineprintAI, a modern case-law research platform designed around lawyers' actual research and drafting workflows, with the aim of bringing efficiency and simplicity to an otherwise cumbersome task (launched by NYU Law student Nikita Bogdanov).
    • FLORA, developers of digital systems that supercharge output for creative studios and enterprises (launched by Stern alum Alex Li and Tisch graduate student Weber Wong).
    • Insightflow, an AI-powered user insight platform that streamlines the manual customer interview video analysis process for UX professionals and product teams (created by NYU Graduate School of Arts & Science students Catherine Zhao and Olive Liu; Tandon students Nancy Chan and Christine Wang, who served as product designers; and Tandon student El Whittle, a software engineer).
    • LPCV, which is building an ultra-low power system that will help the Department of Transportation and other agencies monitor traffic patterns and conditions, efficiently and cost-effectively (launched by Tandon grad student Abdulaziz Mohammad Alaql and Tandon undergrads  Usaid Malik and Benchik Bayor).  
    • MetroMesh Media, which has envisioned a new platform aimed at leveraging food delivery vehicles as digital advertising space (founded by Tandon students Mark Lee, Tobi Adeyefa, and Winn Hsu, along with Stern alum Thomas Hsu).
    • Sayl, a b2b planning tool that solves freight rate volatility and contract planning for ocean freight procurement specialists focused on U.S./Asia tradelanes (founded by Ali Raza of NYU Stern, Morry Mu of NYU Steinhardt, and Animesh Mishra of  NYU Courant).


    “Every team was extremely impressive,” said Modestino, whose own students launched a successful startup, Sunthetics, that won InnoVention back in 2017. “All have found practical solutions to real business and healthcare challenges, and when you’re evaluating ventures like Well Well Well, which has helped dozens of people seeking mental-health care so far, and, which is already engaged in a pilot program with a top rehabilitation clinic, you can imagine how difficult it was to choose among them.”