PAANI and EcoBamboo Living win ‘Cuse Tank

PAANI team

Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries awarded the following teams prizes at this year’s ‘Cuse Tank competition, held on Friday, October 18 at Bird Library.

  • 1st Place winner – Nikita Chatterjee (Arts & Sciences) and Brianna Howard (Falk), representing PAANI won $7,000
  • 2nd Place winner – Justin Diaz (Engineering & Computer Science) representing EcoBamboo Living won $3,000
  • Wild-card winners: Patrick Prioletti (iSchool) representing Thinc-hub and Clinton Graham (Engineering & Computer Science) and Davis Mutware (The Science and Technology Entry Program, STEP) representing FreeSwing Power Source, both teams winning $500

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, building an initial prototype, and helping us file a provisional patent. Our ‘Cuse Tank winnings will help refine the prototype and conduct laboratory testing with water samples directly from India. We hope to produce full working prototype filters, meet and secure manufacturing partners, and develop relationships with NGOs in India.”

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
  • EcoBamboo Living, Justin Diaz Engineering and Computer Science, sustainable bamboo construction company
  • E.I Technology LLC, Yuhang Zhang, Whitman, Asian food lunchbox service
  • Fiat Finance, Sam Hollander, Whitman, ISA platform solution to student debt
  • Film Junction, Nicole D’Souza, Arts and Sciences, streaming service for independent films
  • Free-Swing Power, Clinton Graham, Engineering and Computer Science, Davis Mutware, STEP, portable mobile device to produce electricity
  • Gather, Nolan Kagan, Whitman, building community over home cooked meals
  • HAUS, Gokul Beed, VPA, IoT home appliance company
  • Iced, Rachel Kaiser, Whitman, wearable tech 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
  • PAANI Nikita Chatterjee, Arts and Sciences, Brianna Howard, Falk, clean water solutions for global health
  • Porta-Splint, Maxwell Boise, iSchool, lightweight, compact, portable splint
  • Thinc-hub, Patrick Prioletti, iSchool, platform to build innovation ecosystems
  • UniRide, David Kestin, Whitman, mobile transit aggregation platform
  • Visos, Matt Shumer, Whitman, enterprise-first VR toolset

“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.”