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

“The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week Events

The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad) is celebrating “The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week November 11 – 15, 2019.  Many of the week’s activities are being sponsored by Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture), Minister of Evolution and President of The Republic of Tea, through the Rubin Family Foundation.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) started in 2007 with 37 countries committing to support it; within a year it grew to over 77 countries and 3 million people participating in 25,022 events. Now it is a collection of thousands of events, activities and competitions around the world. At the LaunchPad, over 112 countries have been represented since its inception. This year’s competition at Syracuse is scheduled the week before “Global Entrepreneurship Week” being held by GEW November 18-24 to better accommodate the academic year schedule.

All events are open to the community free of charge. This year’s activities include:

  • Monday, November 11, noon to 1 p.m.: Todd B. Rubin ’04 will kick-off the week with a keynote address in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114) at Bird Library.  Light lunch refreshments and tea will be served.
  • Monday, November 11 and Tuesday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.:  Impact Prize workshops in the LaunchPad on “wicked global problems” that lend themselves to global solutions.  The twenty-one Impact Prize final teams will have the opportunity to work with mentors to explore the social impact of their ventures and shape their solutions. 
  • Monday, November 11 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.:  The Hult Power Hour, a workshop in the LaunchPad on sustainability and global climate change, in advance of the campus Hult Prize Competition for student impact entrepreneurship.  This year’s theme is “Build a Smarter Business for a Better Planet,” focusing on addressing climate change.  Deadline to apply is Friday, November 15.
  • Tuesday, November 12 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Global Design Studio, a three-part event in the LaunchPad:
    • 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Vipul Jain, partner at Baaya Design and co-founder and president of Catalysts for Social Action, and serial entrepreneur.
    • 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Shibani Jain, founder and CEO of Baaya Design, founder of India’s frst e-commerce platform for craft products, and co-founder and trustee of Catalysts for Social Action.
    • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Women in Design Co-Work event
  • Wednesday, November 13 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.:  Building an immersive entrepreneurial experience with Julia Haber, Newhouse ’18, founder of WAYV.
  • Wednesday, November 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.:  Qualifier competition for Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, the premier global competition for student entrepreneurs who run a business.  Two teams will represent Syracuse at the competition — PAANI, the recent first place winner of the ‘Cuse Tank competition at LaunchPad; and MedUX, a team that won last year’s Impact Prize Competition and is comprised of Rubin Family Innovation Mentors.   
  • Thursday, November 14 at 8 a.m. to Friday, November 15 at 8 p.m.: the MLB Challenge by the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Hines Hall and Manley Field House.
  • Thursday, November 14 from noon to 2 p.m.: Innovation Village at the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, with a resource fair of regional innovation ecosystem partners.
  • Thursday, November 14 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Impact Prize Pitch Competition, coordinated by the LaunchPad, to support student entrepreneurs who are engaged in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems through innovation. The competition will be held at Syracuse University Libraries and is being funded through generous gifts from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran and Todd Rubin.
  • Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m.: University Lecture Series at Hendricks Chapel featuring “Young Alumni Entrepreneurs: Breaking the Rules, Blazing New Paths, Not Waiting Their Turn” is being co-sponsored in part by Syracuse University Libraries and the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars. The event features alumni entrepreneurs who launched their businesses as students:  Moderator, Kelsey Davis ’19 G’20, founder of CLLCVTE; Josh Aviv ’15 G’17, founder of SparkCharge; Julia Haber ’18, founder of WAYV; Erin Miller ’16, founder of Out There Productions; and Danile Folkman ’12, VP of Business Development, goPuff.
  • Friday, November 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Popcycle fun popup shop of global student entrepreneurs, makers and creatives in the LaunchPad.
  • Friday, November 15 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.: How to pitch your idea to a global entrepreneurial world, by LaunchPad executive director Linda Hartsock at the Maxwell Citizenship and Civic Engagement program.
  • Friday, November 15 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Globalists Live Musings in the LaunchPad, a panel by international students on How to Be a Change Agent in a Global World.

About the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries:

The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars in Bird Library is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and alumni across disciplines who are interested in innovation, invention, entrepreneurship, venture creation, and taking ideas from concept to commercialization. The program supports a key pillar of Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan to create an innovation ecosystem across the institution that prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.

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