Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad) awarded the following teams prizes at this year’s ‘Cuse Tank entrepreneurial competition, held on Friday, October 18 at Bird Library:

four people standing in front of podium, with second person from left holding award certificate
James Bason, judge, with PAANI first place winners Brianna Howard (Falk), Nikita Chatterjee (A&S), and Jacob Sardino.
  • 1st Place winner – Nikita Chatterjee (Arts & Sciences) representing PAANI won $7,000. PAANI provides clean water solutions for global health.
  • 2nd Place winner – Justin Diaz (Engineering & Computer Science) representing EcoBamboo Living won $3,000. EcoBamboo Living is a sustainable bamboo construction company.
  • Wild-card winners: Patrick Prioletti (iSchool) representing Thinc-hub, a platform to build innovation ecosystems, and Clinton Graham (Engineering & Computer Science) representing FreeSwing Power Source, a portable mobile device to produce electricity. Both of these start-ups won $500 each.

Twenty student teams from eight schools and colleges across campus competed in a “Shark-Tank” style business pitch in front of a panel of judges consisting of Syracuse University parents and successful entrepreneurs. Families were invited to attend this event as part of Family Weekend to experience the entrepreneurial spirit of University innovators.

“It was extremely exciting winning,” said Nikita Chatterjee ’20, co-founder of PAANI. “We’ve been working really hard to develop our product and our story, so winning is great validation! We came into the LaunchPad last November and have received tremendous guidance in developing our business. Invent@SU was also instrumental in helping us refine our device, make sure it was novel, build the prototype, and take protection precautions by filing the provisional patent. Most of our funding from ‘Cuse Tank will be going towards laboratory testing and collecting samples of water directly from India. We also hope to produce full working prototype filters for testing purposes and meet and secure manufacturing partners.”

“I continue to be impressed with the quality and creativity of the University students across campus who make use of the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library,” said David Seaman, Dean of Libraries, University Librarian, and interim Dean of the School of Information Studies. “We’re also grateful to the parents who gave their time to work with the Libraries on this competition.”

Other venture teams, led by idea champions, who presented during the competition included:

  • Attend Pro, Caleb Obiagwu (Engineering and Computer Science), device for improving maintenance work-flow
  • Bluerem,  Noel Chang (Maxwell), Bluetooth medical diagnostic technology
  • Brief, Nick Barba (Whitman), weekly friend news briefing
  • CLLCTVE, Kelsey Davis (Whitman/Newhouse), digital platform for brands and creatives
  • F.E.I Technology LLC, Yuhang Zhang (Whitman), Asian food lunchbox service
  • Fiat Finance, Sam Hollander (Whitman), platform solution to student debt
  • Film Junction, Nicole D’Souza (Arts and Sciences), streaming service for independent films
  • Gather, Nolan Kagan (Whitman), building community over home cooked meals
  • HAUS, Gokul Beed (VPA), Internet of Things home appliance company
  • Iced, Rachel Kaiser (Whitman), wearable technology sports apparel
  • LFG, Josh Berenson (Whitman), fan content digital media platform
  • Mobile Crapper, Spencer Krimsky (Newhouse), portable environmentally-friendly toilet
  • Modern Solutions, David Fox (College of Law), smart home technology installation service
  • Porta-Splint, Maxwell Boise (iSchool), lightweight, compact, portable splint
  • UniRide, David Kestin (Whitman), mobile transit aggregation platform
  • Visos, Matt Shumer (Whitman), enterprise-first Virtual Reality toolset