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The Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition was a virtual business plan competition powered by Startup Tree. Designed specifically for students with no prior experience with entrepreneurship, the Ideas Competition was created so that any student — no matter their major or career plans — could practice the important skills of distilling and presenting a latent idea. All undergraduate and graduate students with an idea, no matter how small, or a prototype, no matter how rough, were invited to apply.
“We were all impressed by the breadth and depth of ideas generated by students at NYU and across the LaunchPad network,” said Amy Stursberg, executive cirector of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “It’s exciting to see so many students think creatively, present succinctly, and take the first step towards bringing their ideas out into the world.”
“The ingenuity, caliber and real world applicability of the ideas submitted by the NYU community were beyond our expectations. We can’t wait to support all of the applicants, and the winners in particular, in their next steps to building their ventures,” said Rebecca Silver, director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute.
Of the 79 applicants from NYU, four finalists were selected as winners, each representing a different business track. Each winner was awarded $1,000.
The winner from the General track was Erica Ramos (Stern '23) with Trousso, a resale platform that's making upscale wedding wear financially accessible and environmentally sustainable for the next generation of brides. The startup is building a circular economy for weddings, where brides can buy and sell nearly-new wedding fashion for the 8+ celebrations surrounding the ceremony/reception.
The Social and Climate Impact Track winners were Anthony Polin Matos (Stern '23) and Diego Robledo (SPS ’23) with I-Worth. I-Worth is a LATAM-focused Insurtech Guarantor for undergraduate and graduate international students to access educational loans at affordable rates and to connect them to U.S. financial institutions.
The Health & Life Sciences Track winners were Caroline Martinez (SPS '22) and Vitaly Shlimovich (Stern '22) with The Sipple. The Sipple is a sensorized baby bottle collar that measures infant feeding skills and provides parental support.
The Consumer Products & Services Track winner was Leigh Fisher (Tandon '22) with Fiction Stop. Fiction Stop is a serialized e-book subscription service that gives edited, curated novels to sci-fi and fantasy readers in a community-oriented app.
In addition to winning $1,000, all four student teams will go on to compete against the winners from 45 other schools in the Blackstone LaunchPad network. These finalists will receive judging, feedback, mentorship, and the chance to win an additional $10,000 in cash plus in-kind prizes! Stay tuned to our blog page to find out who wins the final competition.