Have you ever been stuck in a taxi during rush hour, famished and wishing you could grab a snack? The founders of TaxiTreats are betting that you’d be happy to have a vending machine handy. Or, ever wondered what local activities are available that will please both your energetic toddler and his outdoorsy older sibling? Feelday.com can provide suggestions for family outings based on your mood and disposition.
Those were just two of the startups that participated in the inaugural NYU Founders Showcase, organized by the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Association (EIA) in collaboration with the NYU Entrepreneurs Network and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) Incubators. Explaining the impetus for the event, EIA president Derrick Hsiou, a senior majoring in BTM at NYU-Poly, said, “Integral to our entrepreneurship ecosystem at NYU is showcasing and celebrating what our classmates and alumni are working on right now. . . . The showcase is one of our many initiatives to expose students to entrepreneurship and celebrate those entrepreneurs who are challenging themselves to solve our everyday problems.”
Held at the Varick St. Incubator in late November, the event drew a standing-room crowd of more than 100 students, alumni and members of the New York startup community. (Among the notable attendees of the showcase was Frank Namad, the co-chair of the Entrepreneurship Committee of NYU-Poly's Alumni Association.) After an introduction by venture capitalist and NYU Professor Lawrence Lenihan, the participating startups were each given three minutes to pitch to a panel of investors and three minutes to field questions. They were then given feedback from a panel of judges, which included respected venture capitalists Frank Rimalovski, Jorge Torres, Lucas Nelson, and Peter Flint. Members of the general audience also chimed in with their opinions, using clickers provided by NYU-Poly's media-support team.
In addition to TaxiTreats and Feelday.com, the startups included Suneris, which provides innovative medical products for wound care; Presseract, a service that allows users to create and distribute their own newspapers; ThreadMatcher, which enables fashion fans to plan and organize their wardrobes; and ETC, a networking solution that facilitates real-time social collaboration.
"It was a great event offering a visible platform for student entrepreneurship and we'll certainly do it again early next year." Micah Kotch, director of incubator initiatives at NYU-Poly and director of the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC-ACRE), asserted.
Some of the showcased startups were founded by current students and some have alumni at the helm. All, however, are indisputable proof that i2e (invention, innovation and entrepreneurship) is much more than just a motto at NYU-Poly.