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Winners Announced in NYU Stern’s Entrepreneurs Challenge

Six people holding oversized checks with confetti falling over them

NYU's Entrepreneurs Challenge came to an exciting close on May 12th by awarding more than $225,000 in startup funding and pro-bono services to the university's most innovative and promising startups. The awards were the culmination of a six-month long startup accelerator and venture competition, organized by the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship at NYU Stern.

The three winning teams were chosen from a highly competitive field of participants who had to pitch their ideas and face tough Q&A sessions from judges representing a diverse range of sectors. With applicants from 18 schools across NYU's global network, including students, faculty, and alumni, the Entrepreneurs Challenge is NYU’s single largest startup initiative. This year's competition was divided into three tracks: Technology Venture, Healthcare & Biomedical Venture, and New Venture and received more than 90 entries.

The competition came to a dramatic close when three winning teams were awarded The Rennert Family Grand Prizes, made possible by the generous support of the Rennert Family Foundation and Stern alumni Ira Rennert (MBA ’56) and Ari Rennert (BS ’01), were presented to the most outstanding teams in each category.

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

Founded by Austin Hunt (Tandon ’18), Ethan Brewer, and Jane Chen, StepWise is a device that allows residents in older homes to draw power for new electrical loads without needing to pull a new utility power line.

Winner of the Healthcare & Biomedical Venture Competition:
The $75,000 Prize was awarded to Vital Audio Systems.

Founded by Nyamitse-Calvin Mahinda (Tandon ’23), Divya Mehta (MBA ’23), Harsh Sonthalia (Tandon ’22), Viraj Lakdawala, and Philip Jocelyn, Vital Audio Systems is a subscription-based remote patient monitoring and patient screening technology.

Winner of the New Venture Competition:
The $75,000 Prize was awarded to MuseTax.

Founded by Colin Horsford (MBA ’14) and Busayo Ogunsanya, MuseTax is a platform that helps individual taxpayers and SMBs find every tax deduction and credit available to them, maximize their refunds and create personalized tax and financial plans through an AI-based tax engine.

“At the Entrepreneurs Challenge, we are privileged to support the transition of some of the most promising ideas from across NYU into viable ventures,” said Professor Deepak Hegde, academic director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship. “We are excited to see how these ventures scale and partner with them as they continue their paths forward.”

"The finalists in this year's showcase have impressed us with their creative approaches to meeting significant market needs." noted Professor Cynthia Franklin, director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship. “They have been working tirelessly to develop meaningful products and to sharpen the skills they need to build sustainable ventures.”

During the evening’s Pitch Showcase, the finalist teams presented 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’s Audience Choice Award winners were:

Technology Venture Competition Audience Choice Award

Healthcare & Biomedical Venture Competition Audience Choice Award

New Venture Competition Audience Choice Award

This Year’s Judges

Technology Venture Competition

  • Murat Aktihanoglu, cofounder, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
  • William R. Berkley, executive chairman, W. R. Berkley Corporation
  • Owen Davis, general partner, Contour Venture Partners
  • Zeena Freeman, CEO advisor, Freeman Global

Healthcare & Biomedical Venture Competition

  • Joe Borello, head of engineering, Mount Sinai BioDesign
  • Andrew Marshall, venture partner, Petrichor Scion
  • Marc Sedam, vice president, Technology Opportunities & Ventures, NYU Langone

New Venture Competition

  • Sally Chung, design lead, BCG Digital Ventures
  • Brian Cohen, founding partner, New York Venture Partners
  • Danika Laszuk, CEO, E.A.T_ Works
  • Antonio Osio, general partner, ANIMO Ventures
  • Lorine Pendleton, partner, 125 Ventures

This is a significant achievement that showcases the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation of NYU's talented students, faculty, and alumni. Congratulations to all the winners and participants who made this year's Entrepreneurs Challenge a tremendous success!

Visit the NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship website