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$250K Awarded to NYU Teams in Stern's 2010-2011 Entrepreneurs Challenge

2011 entrepreneurs challenge photo

On April 29, the winners of NYU Stern’s New Venture Competition and Social Venture Competition, and new this year – NYU’s Technology Venture Competition – received more than $250,000 in seed money and in-kind support. After pitching their venture ideas, the three winning teams, each led by NYU students, faculty and alumni, were chosen by a panel of judges from the for-profit, social enterprise and technology sectors.

parthasarathi berkley kapler

Stern's Entrepreneurs Challenge, organized by the School’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, is one of the largest and most rigorous business plan competitions in the country, attracting a record-high 221 teams this year and lasting eight months. Teams competed in the 12th Annual New Venture Competition; the 8th Annual Social Venture Competition, in which venture teams pursue a double bottom line of social impact and financial profitability or sustainability; or the 1st Annual Technology Venture Competition.

“Stern’s Entrepreneurs Challenge brings together entrepreneurial talent from across the University, providing an opportunity for students, alumni and faculty to share ideas and make the first steps toward launching tomorrow’s exciting new ventures,” explains Jeff Carr, executive director of NYU Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. “This year, we saw a 28 percent increase over last year in the total number of teams who entered the competitions, due in part to the launch of NYU’s Technology Venture Competition. After several rounds of screening, 11 teams competed in this year’s finals with venture concepts spanning several industries including education, energy conservation, event planning, mobile media, fashion, biotech and medical products.”

witte satter litzner photo

NYU Stern’s 12th Annual New Venture Competition Winner

The Ira Rennert Entrepreneurial Prize of $75,000, which is made possible by a gift from NYU Stern alumnus and member of Stern's Board of Overseers Ira Leon Rennert (MBA '56), was awarded to CourseHorse.

NYU Stern alumnus Nihal Parthasarathi (BS ’08) and NYU College of Arts and Sciences alumna Katie Kapler (BA ’08) developed CourseHorse, the first website where people can find, compare and enroll in established local classes. CourseHorse partners with providers of Spanish courses, cooking classes, yoga lessons and thousands of other classes to create a single destination for New Yorkers seeking personal interest education. Potential students will be able to browse, filter classes by schedule, curriculum, price and location, and enroll in classes directly on CourseHorse.com.

NYU Stern’s 8th Annual Social Venture Competition Winner

The Stewart Satter Family Prize of $100,000, which is made possible by a gift from NYU Stern alumnus and member of Stern's Board of Overseers Stewart Satter (MBA '82), was awarded to See & Be Seen.

See & Be Seen addresses the problem of road traffic injuries in urban Africa via the production and social marketing of reflector-enhanced school bags that are designed specifically for African children. NYU Stern alumnus Ben Lillienthal (MBA ’04), NYU Stern student Kelley Litzner (MBA ’11) and Jeffrey Witte – the founders of See & Be Seen – aim to reduce the number of road traffic injuries, the leading cause of death and disability for children ages five and older.

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NYU’s 1st Annual Technology Venture Competition Winner

The Technology Venture Prize of $75,000, which is made possible by NYU’s Innovation Venture Fund and this year’s sponsors – Lowenstein Sandler, EisnerAmper and Maloy Risk Services – was awarded to Anzenna.

Confronting the growing epidemic of Methicillin Resistant Staphococcus Aureus (MRSA) head-on, Anzenna is developing a diagnostic device to quickly diagnose the hospital acquired infection in patients. NYU Poly alumnus Samir Ajmera (BS ’07, MS ’08); Professor Kalle Levon of NYU Poly’s Department of Chemical and Biological Sciences; and NYU Poly students Avdar San (MS ’11) and Margarita Shinder (MS ’11), aim to save hospitals time and money with their device, which quickly determines strains of MRSA, expediting treatment and minimizing the spread of this infectious disease.

In addition to the seed money awarded, the winning teams will receive support from the Stern Incubator program, benefiting from $10,000 in pro-bono legal, accounting and consulting support; an extensive mentor network; ongoing technical assistance; educational programs; and University resources. Incubatees will have access to office space, provided by Sunshine Suites.

The audience also had a chance to vote for favorite teams, selecting Showcased International, a virtual fashion showcase started by NYU Stern student Nathalie Parizat (BS ’11) and Parsons School of Design student Romy Schreiber, See & Be Seen and Anzenna as this year's Audience Choice Award recipients.

Find out more about Stern’s Entrepreneurs Challenge

Visit the NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation website

Video: Hightlights from the 2011 Entrepreneurs Challenge

Entrepreneurs Challenge 2011