Levitas, an NYU-led startup founded by Amar Seoparson (Tandon '17) and Anthony Oganov (CAS '17), took home the coveted trophy at the NYU-Yale Summer Accelerator Pitchoff. The event, held Thursday, July 13 at NYU, featured 18 entrepreneurs from six promising startups, representing NYU and Yale, in a friendly pitch battle before a panel of judges from the VC community.
Levitas offers a wireless patient monitor that helps nurses ensure the safety of their patients by reducing the risk of falling and injury. Seoparson and Oganov met and developed this concept at another major entrepreneurial initiative at NYU, the Healthcare Makerthon. Led by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and the NYU School of Medicine, the Makerthon facilitates the creation of cross-disciplinary teams from around the university to identify and develop solutions to the pressing challenges facing today's healthcare system.
“As one of the winning teams at the Makerthon Weekend, Levitas has leveraged their interdisciplinary background and access to diverse entrepreneurial resources available at NYU to understand their customer and develop their innovative solution,” said Frank Rimalovski, executive director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and managing director of the NYU Innovation Venture Fund. “Levitas has the potential to make a huge impact on this growing public health issue.”
The co-founders discovered that falls are the leading cause of injury and death for individuals over 65, more than cancer and heart disease. The CDC reported that in 2015 alone, costs for falls to Medicare totaled over $31 billion, and this number is expected to double by 2020. Oganov, a former EMT and Neural Science student at NYU, shared the staggering statistics that various alarms in hospitals go off approximately 400 times per day/per bed, leading to nurse alarm fatigue. The patient monitor developed by Levitas addresses this concern by sending fewer, more accurate alerts to nurses, so they can help their patients more efficiently and effectively.
“We plan to spend the coming months piloting and testing our product with hospitals and long-term care facilities to help them ensure the safety of their patients,” said Seoparson, an electrical and computer engineer, with a background in artificial intelligence.
Now in its fourth year, the NYU-Yale Pitchoff draws hundreds of enthusiastic attendees and has become a signature event for both summer accelerator programs. This is the second win for NYU at the Pitchoff. The first win was secured by Ephemeral from the 2015 cohort of the Summer Launchpad for its removable-tattoo venture.
The judges involved in this year's selection process included Alon Bonder, VP of Venrock; Brittany Laughlin, partner at Lattice Ventures; Dr. Jay Kranzler, CEO of Regenovation; Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO and founder of Pipeline Angels; and Brad Hargreaves, CEO and founder of Common.
Both NYU and Yale run highly selective summer accelerator programs that provide startup teams with funding, education, coaching, and other resources to help launch and grow their ventures. NYU Summer Launchpad was represented by ShopDrop, Levitas and TABu and YEI Fellowship was represented by Alva Health, Penta, and Verb. Yale-led startup Penta, a social venture that aims to address limb disability in Vietnam through collecting and repurposing used prosthetics in the US, took home the Audience Choice award.