What Happens at the VC Pitchfest?

Each semester, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute invites a select group of startup teams to pitch in front of real venture capital investors to get unfiltered feedback on their pitch, and candid advice on whether the business is fundable.

On November 1st and November 6th we held two back to back VC Pitchfest competitions where 7 teams pitched to a panel of VCs. Here’s what happened.

The Life Sciences/Healthcare Pitchfest, held on November 1st, featured four NYU entrepreneurs.

First up was Gregory Lemberskiy. Greg is a PhD candidate and co-founder of MICSI along with his advisors Dr. Dmitry S. Novikov and Dr. Els Fieremans from the Department of Radiology. The company has developed a quantitative imaging software to identify microstructure biomarkers from MRI images for clinical decision support.

Their pitch was followed by Natalie Lo, cofounder of Rezonn with Dr. Iwao Teraoka from NYU Tandon. This team is developing an affordable sensitive high throughput platform to quantify drug target interaction for drug discovery. The startup is now testing their platform with two partners.

Next to pitch was Alyssa Petersel from the NYU Silver School of Social Work ‘16, founder of MyWellBeing. My Wellbeing has developed a platform that connects individuals to the right therapist, a notoriously difficult process to manage for patients. The company has been featured on sites like Forbes, Allure and The Muse, and has matched thousands of patients with therapists in its network.

The last team to pitch was Dr. George Fernaine, Chief of Cardiology at NYU Langone Health-Brooklyn and founder of Mocingbird.  Mocingbird’s platform, MyMoc, provides a unified management tool for providers and health systems to streamline credentialing.

The event culminated with judging from the investor panel that included Mark Carvlin, of PreventAGE Health Care, Noel Goddard of Accelerate Seed NY and Adi Mashiac of Mesia Ventures. My Wellbeing was the investor pick for top pitch, and Mocingbird, took home the audience favorite award.

The IT Pitchfest on November 6th, designed for technology ventures, saw 3 teams pitch who have been actively participating in programs at The Institute here at the Leslie eLab over the last several months and making significant progress.

First up was Frontier7, founded by former NYUSPS Clinical Assistant Professor of Global Affairs, Naira Musallam, and her cofounder U.S. Army veteran Tim Lawton. The company has developed consumer intelligence technology that helps brands understand consumer behavior to help make product decisions. The team has signed annual licenses with 7 enterprise clients and has a growing list of businesses in their pipeline.

Next up was FlareAgent, founded by seniors at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering Rashid Aziz and Abhi Cvk. The team is developing technology to help simplify real estate transactions for agents, brokers and third parties. Their first pilot had over 200 agents, and processed 2000 transactions with $450 million in property value. As the need for smooth transactions increases, conveyancing solicitors play a crucial role in ensuring legal matters are properly addressed in this tech-driven real estate environment.

Finally, Gigfinesse took the stage, founded by Mir Hwang, a senior at CAS, and his cofounder Jong Wook Kim. The team has developed a platform to connect bands and DJs with venues such as bars and nightclubs who need performers. Mir, a jazz drummer and a long time band promoter paired up with his cofounder, a former Google engineer, to develop this technology, and now serves dozens of venues across NYC.

The judges, who are local investors Dani Grant of Union Square Ventures, Joanne Lin of Newark Venture Partners, and Kanav Jain of Red Sea Ventures, deliberated for about 15 minutes and selected Gigfinesse as the winner of the pitch competition.

Though all three teams showed a deep understanding of their market and real traction, Gigfinesse did the best job of delivering a clear pitch that showed their value proposition to customers, why their team is uniquely positioned to compete in the space, and how they will acquire customers moving forward.

Big thank you to all the judges and entrepreneurs who participated in these events!

The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute hosts VC Pitchfest events at least twice per semester, so if you have a business that you’ve been building that you think deserves to be seen by the venture community here in NYC, let us know by signing up for a coaching appointment. We’d love to hear about what you’ve been building!