In mid-July, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and Yale Entrepreneurial Institute hosted the second annual NYU-Yale Pitchoff. Three teams from each school took the stage at the Grand Hall at NYU’s Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life (GCASL) to present their startups they’ve been developing this summer.
Ephemeral (NYU): A tattoo company that will revolutionize the tattoo experience by finally making tattoos easily removable. Joshua Sakhai (Stern ’18) presented the company and explained that with a unique tattoo ink and a complementary removal solution, they intend to empower users to effectively erase and evolve their tattoos. He was joined by co-founders Anthony Lam (Engineering ’15) and Seung Shin (Engineering ’15). Their team includes Vandan Shah (PhD ’15), Brennal Pierre (PhD ’14), and Jason Candreva (PhD ’18).
Umi (Yale): An online marketplace that will open up the kitchens of great home chefs, making it possible for local eaters to order home cooking for delivery. Khalil Tawil (Law ’18) presented the company that hopes to make home cooking accessible to everyone. He was joined by co-founder Jason Gilliland (Law ’17).
IndieLoop (NYU): An online platform designed to allow independent filmmakers to brand themselves and share resources. Dagny Looper (Tisch ’15) presented the product that allows crew members and producers to connect, making indie film making more efficient. Dagny was joined by her team members Colin Whitlow (Tisch/Stern ’13) and Elliott Walker (Poly ’15).
Revai (Yale): A technology platform—the Intestinal Preservation Unit—for keeping organs healthier during transport from donor to recipient. Jesse Rich (SOM ’16) and Jen Gaze (SOM ’16) presented Revai, a new technology that could make transporting intestines exponentially easier. Their team also includes John Geibel, Professor of Surgery (Gastrointestinal) and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Joe Zinter, Assistant Director, Center for Engineering Innovation & Design.
Magnitend (NYU): A biomedical tech startup devoted to optimizing the MRI experience for hospitals and patients alike through innovative technologies. Eugene Goncharov (Poly ’15) presented their product that can optimize the entire MRI experience. Eugene was joined by co-founder John Bayer (Poly ’15).
StoryTime (Yale): An edTech startup to scale early literacy for low-income families. Phil Esterman (Yale ’17) showed how their SMS model could make early literacy more accessible to families across America. He was joined by teammates Jillian Kravatz (Yale ’17), Henok Addis (Yale ’17), and Jordan Zeldin.
The team of judges was a diverse mix of professionals with one common goal: to choose a team that stood out from the rest in the pitchoff. The panel of judges included:
- Andrew Kangpan, Analyst at ff Venture Capital
- Alex Iskold, Managing Director, NYC @ Techstars
- Jay Kranzler, MD, PhD, Global Head, Neuroscience, Pain & Sensory Disorders, External R&D Innovation (ERDI), Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer, Inc
- Brad Hargreaves, Cofounder, General Assembly
- Anne MacDonald, Marketing and Business Development Executive
They asked a variety of questions, from the teams’ plans to handle legal challenges to their decisions about staying in versus dropping out of college. The teams gracefully fielded the questions and took tidbits of advice from the judges about their pitches and startups.
The judges convened in a back room for more than 15 minutes, going back and forth on which team deserved the title of winner of the 2015 NYU-Yale Pitchoff. Ultimately, the judges awarded NYU team, Ephemeral, the prize. Josh Sakhai, the co-founder who pitched for Ephemeral, was grateful for the experience. "Pitching at the NYU-Yale pitchoff was a surreal experience." Josh said, "Competing with teams that were years ahead of mine was initially intimidating, but once I started treating it as a learning experience instead of an intimidating pitch my team and I re-gained the confidence we needed to leave victorious.
The second year of the NYU-Yale Pitchoff was a wonderful opportunity for both schools to share some of their progress this summer and for the two communities to meet. Now that the score is even, next years pitchoff will be a tie breaker between NYU and Yale – don’t miss out!