Encouraging Founders with our TechImpact Startup Competition

This spring, eight exciting New York City-based startups competed on the stage of the packed Craig Newmark Auditorium at Civic Hall in the TechImpact Startup Competition, which was presented by the Accompany Capital team led by Tshering Gurung and Maria Paulina, in partnership with the Tech Incubator Program at Queens College and the NY Tech Alliance.

This final pitch competition was the culmination of over 4 months of working with an initial cohort of 71 New York-based entrepreneurs who took part in a series of 17 workshops. Sixteen semifinalists then participated in 6 sessions on pitching and 5 weeks of mentoring, eight of whom were then selected as finalists in 4 categories – Community Betterment, Health and Wellness, Financial Empowerment, and B2B Innovations.

Each category had first-place prize of $25,000. In addition, the full house at Civic Hall voted on a People’s Choice Award of $5,000.

Competition was fierce and while the four category winners – Fikile Mthwalo, founder of Glubbs; Summer Wu, founder of PolyDub; Sarah Stellwag and Dani Lopez, co-founders of Lulo; and Uyen (Tiffany) Nguyen, founder of Taperk – took home the top prizes, 2nd place runners up Vitali Karpeichyk, founder of PigPug Health; Marcelo Villalba, founder of timeStat; Tania Kottoor, founder of WEST X EAST, and Om Kundu, founder of SaveAway® with INSPIRAVE were clearly exciting businesses with great upside potential as well.

The People’s Choice Award – the results of audience votes – also went to Sarah Stellwag and Dani Lopez, whose Lulo app partners with grocery stores and WIC beneficiaries to utilize WIC benefits more effectively and with dignity.

The success of an event like this is all about having a great team. A huge thanks to Ying Zhou and her team at the Tech Incubator Program at Queens College for a terrific partnership, and to judges Daria Siegel, Kurt Schulze, Michelle Danso, Cynthia Cleto, MSc, and Simone Tarantino, who applied a wealth of entrepreneurial experience and expertise to making some very tough choices!

Thanks, too, to NY Tech Alliance’s Doug Binette and his team and Startbook founder Maxx Turing for their flawless organization and execution; Queens Deputy Borough President Ebony Young, Accompany Capital organizers Maria Paulino and Tshering Gurung (and the rest of our terrific team); the Civic Hall team for the fantastic event space and crew, and last but by no means least the great catering staff from Eat Offbeat!

We were extremely pleased that Katie Nowak from sponsor The Venture Mentoring Team was able to attend the event to see firsthand the impact the mentors who provided one-on-one coaching had and how much lasting value it will provide these young entrepreneurs going forward.

This exciting initiative was made possible by a generous grant from the CDFI Fund’s Equitable Recovery Program from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and we look forward to helping more tech startups with innovative ideas start and build their businesses here in New York City.

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Photos by Craig Williston, QoolFoto.com. To see more photos click here and for the full video click here.