Research Center Events

Winners Announced in NYU Stern’s 2023-24 Entrepreneurs Challenge

2024 Berkley winners

April 26, 2024

After an intense five-month competition, NYU’s most promising innovators received startup funding and pro-bono services valued at more than $225,000 at NYU Stern’s annual Entrepreneurs Challenge, organized by the School’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship. The three winning teams were chosen after pitching their ideas and enduring Q&A by judges from peer accelerator programs, top NYC VC firms, and industry experts.

April 26 marked the culmination of the Entrepreneurs Challenge, which is part startup accelerator and part venture competition. For 25 years, the program has served as a springboard for promising NYU founders. This cycle, more than 100 students, alumni, faculty, and researchers from 19 schools and divisions across NYU’s global network participated this year in one of three competition tracks: Technology Venture, Healthcare & Biomedical Venture, and New Venture. Presented this evening were The Rennert Family Prizes, made possible by the generous support of the Rennert Family Foundation and Stern alumni Ira Rennert (MBA ’56) and Ari Rennert (BS ’01), as well as the Audience Choice Awards.

Winner of the Technology Venture Competition:
The $75,000 prize was awarded to UniqLearn.

Founded by Aidan McDowell (NYU Gallatin, BA ’25) and Daniel Kenigsberg (NYU Tandon, BS ’25), UniqLearn is a platform that creates learning profiles for K-12 students to generate uniquely tailored learning material, igniting student engagement while providing teachers with actionable insights into what each student needs and how they can help.

Winner of the Healthcare & Biomedical Venture Competition:
The $75,000 prize was awarded to CaroRhythm.

Founded by Nisha Maheshwari (NYU Tandon, PhD ’25) and Lokesh Sharma (NYU Tandon, MS ’24), CaroRhythm is a non-invasive medical device that provides point-of-care carotid artery monitoring and stimulation to improve the outcome and quality of life of stroke survivors through early detection of and control over recurrent stroke symptoms.

Winner of the New Venture Competition:
The $75,000 prize was awarded to Jivika

Founded by Ayman Mukerji (NYU Silver, MS ’20), Jivika is a subscription-based microhabit trainer that teaches stress management to hospital workers, reducing burnout-related attrition via gamified microhabit training and micro workshops.

The finalist teams showcased their ventures through brief pitches and explainer videos before an audience of NYU students, faculty, and alumni, as well as members of the broader NYC startup community, who voted for their favorite teams. This year, UniqLearn, CaroRhythm, and Teztus received the Audience Choice Awards. Additionally, Eric Chan, founder of Ecco Design was named Mentor of the Year.

“Our Center is dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, and we are thrilled to witness and nurture the creativity and determination of our NYU community in tackling real-world problems,” said Professor Paul Hardart, academic director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship. “We are proud to provide a program where entrepreneurs can transform their ideas in a variety of industries into impactful ventures.”

“The Entrepreneurs Challenge highlights the incredible potential that springs from combining fresh ideas with steadfast determination. Each of today’s finalists has made the leap from concept to creation, proving that with the right support and mentoring plus a lot of hard work, great things are possible,” noted Professor Cynthia Franklin, executive director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship. “While today concludes this year’s Challenge, it marks just the beginning of the exciting entrepreneurial journey ahead for these young teams, she added.”

This Year’s Judges

Technology Venture Competition:

Chris Burggraeve, founder, Vicomte LLC 
Owen Davis, general partner, Contour Venture Partners 
Mark Flynn, associate director, Endless Frontier Labs 
Perry Solomon, operating partner, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA)

Healthcare & Biomedical Venture Competition:

Joe Borrello, head of engineering, Mount Sinai BioDesign 
Sadhana Chitale, senior director, Life Sciences Technology Transfer, NYU Langone 
Sally Chung, founder, Designpreneurs & Co 
Jay Tapper, CEO, Zuko, Inc.

New Venture Competition:

Janelle Benjamin, Investing Member, Portfolia Rising America Fund 
Brian Cohen, founding partner, New York Venture Partners; chairman emeritus, New York Angels 
Zeena Freeman, CEO Advisor, Freeman Global 
Lorine Pendleton, founder & managing partner, 125 Ventures

Visit the NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship website