The InnoVention Competition Reaches Its Nail-Biting Conclusion
When Tim Nugmanov, the incoming president of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association, the on-campus club leading the InnoVention Competition, took the stage on May 4, he quipped that it had been a “GPA-tanking 10 weeks,” filled with 18 events, including team-building evenings and pitching workshops, and chronicled in part by 28,000 entries on the group-messaging app Slack.
Now, at last, the six remaining teams (out of an initial field of more than 50) would be making their final pitches to a group of judges that included Frank Rimalovski, head of the Entrepreneurial Institute and Managing Director of the NYU Innovation Venture Fund; Brian Cohen, co-founder of Technology Solutions, Inc., and chair of the New York Angels investment consortium; Vanessa Alexandra Pestritto, a partner at Lattice Ventures; and Steven Kuyan, Managing Director of the Future Labs at NYU Tandon.
Kuyan took a few moments before the pitches began to inspire the teams — and others in the audience who might never have given much thought to creating their own start-up. “There has never been a better time to start a company,” he asserted. “You will probably not succeed immediately, but you’ll gain a lot of knowledge in the process; there is a popular saying that holds, ‘you might not earn, but you will learn.’”
Every team taking part in InnoVention began that learning process — from the very first Mentor Night, which introduced them to successful New York-based start-up founders, investors, and tech leaders who guided them through methods of validation, prototype development, and other challenges to workshops on such vital topics as manufacturing and finance.
The three winners, who were announced with great fanfare at the end of the evening, are prepared to take the next steps on the entrepreneurial learning curve. Besides a share of $45,000 in prize money, they are receiving legal support through sponsor Lowenstein & Sandler, physical workspace at the Future Labs, and other needed business support.
(pictured with the judging panel)
1st Place — $20,000
State Space Labs (Jay Fuller and Wayne Mackey), the creator of software tools to test, train, and optimize the neurocognitive abilities of eSports athletes and competitive gamers.
2nd Place — $15,000
Multicorder (Theodore Kim, Shiva Duraisamy, Megan Brown, and Zainab Babikir), an all-in-one device and platform aimed at providing students and teachers with a fun, low-cost way of exploring science.
3rd Place — $10,000
INVIP (Nicolas Metallo, Isabel Izquierdo, Nuvina Padukka, Brenda Truong, and Edson Tapia), creators of a wearable voice assistant for the visually impaired.