LaunchPad Student Teams Sweep Award Competitions, Winning Nearly $80,000 in Fall 2019

Numerous student startup teams from the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars in Bird Library (LaunchPad) have won business competitions and prizes totaling $79,500 this past fall 2019. The LaunchPad is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global net­work that provides support for aspiring innovators, entrepreneurs, inventors, and creators. “The LaunchPad remains a library service supporting all aspects of entrepreneurship, innovation, and invention, but it has also evolved into a community of innovators who have found their campus home in the SU Libraries,” said David Seaman, Dean of Libraries, University Librarian, and interim Dean of the School of Information Studies (iSchool).  “It has been a delight to watch teams of students learn a range of skills as they develop business ideas and support each other in their endeavors, even when they are competing.”

A recap of the fall 2019 competitions and top winners included:

  • Techstars LaunchPad Startup Weekend (sponsored by the LaunchPad and SU Libraries in September):
    • Qingkun Zhu G’20 (iSchool) and Gokul Beed ’21 (VPA) from HAUS won 1st place ($750) for their Internet of Things smart humidifier de­vice;
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 2nd place ($250) for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings.
  • ’Cuse Tank (sponsored by the LaunchPad and SU Libraries in October):
    • Brianna Howard ’20 (Falk College) and Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences) from PAANI won 1st place ($7,000), for their clean water filtration system;
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 2nd place ($3,000) for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings;
    • Patrick Prioletti ’21 (iSchool) of Thinc-Hub, a platform to connect startup ventures with innovations ecosystems, and Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science)  and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source, a portable device to produce electricity, each won $500 in a wild card round.
  • Orange Tank (sponsored by Whitman School of Manage­ment in November):
    • Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman) and Brendan O’Keeffe ’21 (iSchool) from CLLCTVE won the grand prize ($25,000) for their digital platform connect­ing college creatives and brands;
    • Other top cash prizes went to Matt Shumer ’22 (Whitman) from Visos, 1st place ($4,000) for their enterprise virtual reality system;
    • Nicholas Barba ’20 (Whitman) and David Fox ’22 (College of Law) from Modern Systems won 2nd place ($2,500) for their smart home network. 
    • Top alumni cash prizes went to LaunchPad alumni Jose Javier Garcia Rovira ’19 (Whitman) and Quentin Rosso ’18 (Whitman), who won 1st prize ($4,000) for Gamercraft, their performance training ecosystem for collegiate and professional eSports;
    • Alumni Daniel Fridliand ’18 (Whitman) and Dylan Sen from Awning won 2nd place ($2,500) for their app that uses biometric data to administer stress relief through the form of guided meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Regional Qualifier for Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (held in Buffalo, NY in November):
    • Quinn King ’20 (VPA) from MedUX won 1st place ($7,500) with their innovative medical products through user-centered design. Quinn King will be advancing to the national competition for Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in the Silicon Valley February 10-12, 2020.
    • Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences) from PAANI won 2nd place ($2,000) for their clean water filtration systems.
  • Impact Prize Pitch Competition (sponsored by Syracuse University Libraries in November):
    • Brianna Howard ’20 (Falk College) and Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences), co-founders of PAANI, won 1st place ($5,000) for their clean water filtration system;
    • Caleb Obiagwu ’20 (Engineering and Computer Science) and Zachariah Reid ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science) from AttendPro, a device that improves maintenance work-flow, won 2nd place ($2,500);
    • Daniel Green ’21(Information Studies) from DreamConnect, a platform that optimizes the college experience for underrepresented students of color by facilitating culture, collaboration, and connectivity for student organizations across campuses; and Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science)   and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source, a portable device to produce electricity, tied for 3rd place, each winning $1,250.
  • Hult Prize (sponsored by the LaunchPad and Syracuse University Libraries in November): 
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 1st place and a trip to the global regionals for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings;
    • Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science) and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source won 2nd place and an alternate trip to the global regionals for their portable device to produce electricity.
  • Blackstone LaunchPad Techstars PROPEL (global competition held in New York City in November):
    • Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman) and Brendan O’Keeffe ’21 (iSchool) from CLLCTVE won 2nd place ($10,000) for their digital platform connect­ing college creatives and brands.
Caucasian male in shirt and jacket and African male in embroidered shirt next to sign that reads "Hult Prize"
Clinton Garrahan and Davis Mutware of FreeSwing Power Source, 2nd place winners
Latinx male student in shirt and jacket next to sign that reads "Hult Prize"
Justin Diaz of EcoBamboo Living, 1st place winner
three students wearing white t-shirts with word PAANI next to Dean Seaman, standing in front of sandwich board sign that says "The Impact Prize"
PAANI team members Nikita Chatterjee, Jacob Sardino (SUNY ESF), and Brianna Howard with David Seaman, Dean of the SU Libraries
Caucasian male and Indian female students both holding giant checks
Quinn King of MedUX and Nikita Chatterjee of PAANI, winners of the Regional Qualifier for Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards held in Buffalo, NY
African American female and Caucasian male students both wearing navy blue t-shirts with word CLLCTVE in orange letter. Students are holding giant check for $10,000
Kelsey Davis and Brendan O’Keefe of CLLCTVE at Blackstone LaunchPad Techstars PROPEL global competition in New York City

PAANI and EcoBamboo Living Take Prizes at ‘Cuse Tank

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

Libraries Welcomes Families October 18-20, 2019

Syracuse University Libraries’ welcomes families to visit the Libraries during Syracuse University’s Family Weekend October 18 through 20, 2019. The following activities are planned:

  • Tours of Bird Library (approximately 1 hour in length): Friday, October 18 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.; Saturday, October 19 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Tours of Carnegie Library (approximately 30 minutes in length): Friday, October 18 at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (families encouraged to stop by before the Tailgate party begins at 4 p.m.); Saturday October 19 at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • “150 Years of Tradition at Syracuse University” exhibition will be open Friday, October 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Anyone from the community is welcome to visit on these days as well.)
  • Blackstone LaunchPad Powered by Techstars ‘Cuse Tank competition at Bird Library on Friday, October 18 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.