LaunchPad teams win European MPD Partners Global Venture Challenge

group photo of a team of people
MPD Partners

Five of Syracuse University’s “investable ventures” participated in the LaunchPad’s first ever pitch competition to European executives and investors.  MPD Partners, an investment and private equity firm based in Italy and Switzerland, hosted a Partners Global Venture Challenge for the top five most investable startups in the Syracuse University ecosystem as part of MPD’s “Give Back to the Community Program.”   

MPD Partners assembled a team of senior executives from large European companies in the product and technology space who want to work with a few university startups to help bring their ideas to market.  Many of these executives are also investors.  The executive experts are interested in meeting and working with (and potentially investing) in intellectually challenging founders and ideas. 

The first prize winner of the competition was MedUX, founded by Alec Gillinder ’20 and Quinn King ’20, both VPA Industrial and Interaction Design alumni.  Second prizes went to Smarta, co-founded by David Fox ’19, an iSchool alumnus and Nick Barba ’20, a Whitman alumnus, and also to Otherside AI, co-founded by Matt Shumer ’22, Miles Feldstein ’23 and Jason Kuperberg ’18, all Whitman students and alumni.

MPD Partners launched the MPD Partners Venture Challenge with the LaunchPad to contribute to the SME ecosystem in New York State by injecting smart and qualified opinions and helping local start-ups with post-COVID strategic decision-making, according to Mirco Coccoli, MPD Partners CEO and Miguel Dupret, MPD Partners’ director who is also COO of Sentient Blue, the $1 million winner of 2019 GENIUS NY competition.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for MPD Partners and its extended network of international managers.” says Dupret and Coccoli.  “This will be an enriching experience for all.  Ventures will receive a different and qualified point of view, and this initiative will be also very stimulating to involve our professionals who are passionate about innovation and new technologies.”

The #givebacktothecommunity initiative was first launched by Coccoli in Switzerland and Italy in the wake of post-Covid-19 recovery period, in July 2020. With the help of MPD Partners’ vast network of experienced managers from different sectors, this initiative aims at contributing to the venture and SME ecosystem through the decision-making process and by assessing post Covid-19 recovery approaches.

MPD Partners has been working with the region through joint efforts with CenterState CEO and Syracuse University, and the firm successfully supported the winner of GENIUS NY 2019, the world’s biggest unmanned aerial vehicle competition. MPD played a critical role in the start-up’s business planning, pitching, financial strategy and project management, and helped it relocate the business in Central NY.  The firm is also in strategic collaborations with the LaunchPad at Syracuse University’s Libraries. 

“This win-win partnership aims at helping start-ups understand their value proposition and better prepare themselves to pitch to professional investors,” says Coccoli.  “The values of MPD Partners and the LaunchPad are perfectly aligned, as we strongly believe that investing in enterprises that have the potential to stimulate economic growth and deliver long-term value is of paramount importance, even more so in this business cycle.”