From Cornell: “Cornell Tech Announces Winners of Third Annual Startup Awards – May 22, 2017”

Cornell Bloc

Cornell University

May 22, 2017
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Cornell Tech awarded four student startup companies $100,000 each in pre-seed funding and one year of free co-working office space in its third annual Startup Awards competition. A panel of tech industry leaders selected the winning student teams, which will be the first Cornell Tech startups to work in The Bridge, Forest City New York’s newly constructed state of the art office space on Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island campus, opening September 2017.

“With the Startup Awards, Cornell Tech is able to identify innovative and promising startup ideas coming out of our graduate community, providing them the support and funding needed to kickstart their companies after graduation in the competitive startup ecosystem,” said David Tisch, Head of Startup Studio at Cornell Tech, managing partner of BoxGroup and co-founder of Spring and TechStars NYC.

The Startup Awards grew directly from the culture of entrepreneurship central to the master’s student experience at Cornell Tech. In their final semester, every student enrolls in Startup Studio, where teams of engineering and business students develop their own startup ideas. Cornell Tech created the award program to fill the void for students who have strong prototypes and pitches from their academic work at Cornell Tech, but lack the deep networks and wealth necessary to financially support themselves in the initial phases before seed funding traditionally becomes available. Cornell Tech’s Startup Studio program is run by Tisch and Greg Pass, Cornell Tech’s Chief Entrepreneurial Officer and former Twitter CTO.

“Forest City has been happy to support the Startup Awards, housing the last two cohorts of winners at our New York Times Building. We are thrilled to welcome the first group of graduates’ companies to The Bridge, adding to the unique ecosystem of leading companies – including Two Sigma – working alongside Cornell Tech academic teams,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City New York.

This year’s final selected winners were:

SageLink – SageLink connects conversational voice-based applications with marketers to create native and contextual voice ads.
Speech Up – Speech Up is a mobile app that gamifies the speech therapy process to provide an affordable, engaging, and accessible speech therapy platform for kids.
Switch – Switch is an intelligent digital broker that recommends personalized work benefits based on a worker’s gig profile. On-demand coverage lets users save money by insuring themselves only while they are on the job. With quick onboarding, simple terms and effortless claims, freelancers can spend less time covering losses and more time earning money.
Ursa – Ursa is helping product teams build products that users want. Ursa provides collaborative tools that enable 17 million product creatives to capture and analyze user insights for product ideation, design, and validation.

More than 30 startups have been formed on the Cornell Tech campus to date, including the Startup Awards, the Runway Startup Postdoc Program at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, and other alumni. The companies have raised a total of $20 million in pre-seed and seed funding, employ 105 people, and 93% of them are headquartered in NYC.

The Startup Awards winners will work out of the Cornell Tech space at The Bridge on the new Cornell Tech campus opening September 2017. Designed by Weiss/Manfreid architects, The Bridge at Cornell Tech is a first-of-its-kind building that will house 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. Tech and investment firm Two Sigma was announced as the inaugural tenant and will open a new Collision Lab in the building, where engineers from its R&D team will tackle difficult challenges away from the company’s main campus and interact with innovative start-up companies backed by Two Sigma Ventures, a division of Two Sigma. The Collision Lab will also serve as a tool for Two Sigma to retain and attract the best talent by providing unique access to Cornell Tech’s dynamic ecosystem of innovation. For more information, visit

About Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech brings together faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and students in a catalytic environment to reinvent the way we live in the digital age. Cornell Tech’s temporary campus has been up and running at Google’s Chelsea building since 2013, with a growing world-class faculty, and more than 200 masters and Ph.D. students who collaborate extensively with tech-oriented companies and organizations and pursue their own start-ups. Construction is underway on Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island, with a first phase due to open in September 2017. When fully completed, the campus will include 2 million square feet of state-of-the-art buildings, over 2 acres of open space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.

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Once called “the first American university” by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

Today’s Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation’s first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.