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Cornell Tech 2020 Startup Awards

Cornell Tech 2020 Startup Awards Press Release: Four student companies receive co-working space and $100,000 in pre-seed funding to pursue their startups after graduation

Cornell Tech awarded four student startup companies with pre-seed funding worth up to $100,000 in its sixth annual Startup Awards competition. The school announced its first ever virtual Open Studio, the campus’s end-of-year celebration of start ups and presentation of cutting-edge research, projects, and companies founded at Cornell Tech. A panel of tech industry leaders and executives selected the winning student teams.

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Since Startup Studio launched, five companies have been acquired: Uru, acquired by Adobe; Trigger Finance, acquired by Circle; Gitlinks, acquired by Infor; Bowtie, acquired by MINDBODY; and Thread Learning, acquired by CentralReach. In total, startups that have been founded and spun out on campus — including Startup Studio and the Runway Startup Postdocs at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute — have raised more than $102 million in funding and employ nearly 300 people.

“I’m so impressed with this year’s group of Startup Awards finalists. In the middle of the semester, COVID-19 brought New York to a halt, and Cornell moved to virtual classes. Despite not being able to meet in person with their co-founders or initial users, our students rallied. They came up with innovative and ambitious companies to solve real-world problems, and in their rare spare time, they volunteered with relief efforts to help their community on Roosevelt Island and throughout the city,” said Greg Morrisett, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech.

“This is an unprecedented time for Cornell Tech and the tech industry, challenging all of us to rethink the products we build and how we build them in light of COVID-19. Iteration is a core value at Cornell Tech, and our startup teams quickly adapted to launching their companies completely virtually while reshaping their products and services to the changing needs of their customers and stakeholders. I’m incredibly proud of this year’s Startup Awards winners, who will join our roster of companies that have gone on to grow and make an impact in New York City and beyond,” said Thatcher Bell, head of Startup Studio at Cornell Tech.

Cornell Tech 2020 Startup Awards

This year’s winners are:

  • Buzr: Talk. Listen. Buzz. Anywhere. Buzr is connecting your phone to your intercom.
  • Enroute: Enroute is a platform that provides the tools and intelligence necessary to enable seamless patient transportation throughout a hospital.
  • InvictusBCI: Our mission is to create an affordable hand neuroprosthetic brain-controlled interface that can restore near natural functionality.
  • OnePlace: OnePlace is a family operating system. It’s a guided, customizable SaaS product used to get organized and manage growth and change together.

Cornell Tech’s Startup Studio program is run by Bell along with Chief Practice Officer Josh Hartmann; Managing Entrepreneurial Officer Aaron Holiday, Co-founder and Managing Director of 645 Ventures; and Leandra Elberger, Studio Director.

The Startup Awards are a capstone of the Studio curriculum, a critical component of the master’s experience at Cornell Tech which brings together multi-disciplinary teams to solve real-world problems. In the final semester, some students form teams and enroll in Startup Studio, where they combine their diverse program disciplines — computer science, operations research and information engineering, business, health tech, connective media, electrical and computer engineering, and law — to develop ideas and prototypes for their startup in an academic setting. Students who don’t enroll in Startup Studio take the BigCo Studio track, a course that teaches students how to innovate within larger companies, including navigating complex cultures, pitching to the people who control budgets, and building projects to scale. 

The Startup Award winners also received coworking space at the Tata Innovation Center on Cornell Tech’s campus. Designed by Weiss/Manfredi architects, the first-of-its-kind building houses an extraordinary mix of cutting-edge companies working alongside groundbreaking Cornell academic teams: from recent Cornell Tech graduates hustling to commercialize a new idea, to start-ups on the verge of explosive growth, and established companies developing leading edge technologies and products. Tenants include tech and investment firm Two Sigma, Citigroup, Ferrero International, Tata Consultancy Services, and NYC FIRST.

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