Inno/Vention: From Idea to Demo Day in 12 weeks


Entrepreneurship has many definitions, none that most engineering students can identify with very well. Engineers are naturally drawn to things they can tinker with, build or develop—and entrepreneurship is traditionally the water to an engineer’s machine oil. When it comes to a competition focused on business plans and entrepreneurship, there’s even less of an incentive to participate. That pain point has been mitigated as the barrier to entry for a startup has not only decreased for software companies but hardware companies as well. The Inno/Vention competition is one such program that provides students with the opportunity to embrace entrepreneurship by giving them the opportunity to validate assumptions, prototype their designs, and pitch their venture, all during a single semester of school.

The widespread distribution of both the lean methodology and the business model canvas provided an easy platform as educational aspects of Inno/Vention with the relaunch last year. These topics were easy to grasp for engineers, most have never seen a business plans to begin with and assumptions and hypothesis testing are scientific at their core. With the proper tools and a structure that provides prototyping funding, the competition helped launch a handful of ventures last year, Ex-Vivo Dynamics and BotFactory to name two that were chosen for the Summer Launch Pad (Learn more and apply here for SLP:

The fully executed merger in January of this year between NYU and the School of Engineering catalyzed the interactions with students of all majors and as the competition unfolded many of the teams were comprised of interdisciplinary teammates. As a result, we’ve seen some of the most innovative ideas, more importantly, the evolution of the ideas as students were faced with critical customer feedback. All teams pivoted in some aspect of their venture, a testament to the lean methodology and the importance of having a team of individuals from diverse backgrounds.

This year the competition was supported by a few key partners like Microsoft, Square Space, and the Zahn Center and many helpful departments as well as other individuals at NYU. With the support of the partners and mentors, the teams accomplished a tremendous amount of work and learning in the last 12 weeks. The finalists will be pitching their ventures and presenting their prototypes on April 16th 5pm at Spotify Headquarters to a diverse panel of judges.

We hope to see you all there!

Hardware Finalists:

  • SensD, Haptic device that provides safe turn-by-turn navigation for Bikers
  • Skinesiology, Fitness Apparel that will help you burn more calories.
  • C-Cubed Robotics, The blank canvas of robotics

Software Finalists:

  • Urlinq, Academic Social Networking
  • PeekBite, Seamless for Sit In Restaurants
  • Realeyes, Social Platform Opening Up New Lines of Makeup Discovery.

Demo Day Judges:

  • Frank Rimalovski, Executive Director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute
  • Lucas Nelson, Principal at DFJ Gotham
  • Owen Davis, Managing Director at NYC Seed
  • Micah Kotch, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYU School of Engineering
  • Alexander Pease, Analyst at Union Square Ventures
  • Chris Snyder, Business Development Manager for NYU OIL