Budding Entrepreneurs Pitch Ideas in 60 Seconds or Less

Students and alumni compete in Fast Pitch, an annual campus-wide competition to kick-start their entrepreneurial journey.

Dec 07 2023 | By Beatrice Mhando | Photo Credit: Sirin Samman

Students and alumni from across Columbia University came together Nov. 15 at Davis Auditorium to compete in the Fast Pitch Competition, the first of many contests hosted by Columbia Engineering Entrepreneurship.

Similar to the popular reality television show Shark Tank, teams of Columbia entrepreneurs are given 60 seconds to sell their business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win up to $5,000 in prize funding. Beyond their ideas, teams are judged by the appeal, conciseness, and completeness of their pitches, so contestants must utilize different skills to properly pitch their ideas. 

This year, Fast Pitch had the largest applicant pool since its inception, with 35 of the 56 teams competing in the live event. 

Congratulations to this year’s winners:

Undergraduate Winners 

1st place

MabLab: Detecting deadly lacing agents in recreational drugs 
Vienna Sparks, BC’26; Skye Lam (Harvard)

2nd place

Surgitech: AI for surgery error prevention
Anuva Banwasi, SEAS’24 

3rd place

Bulletin: One-stop shop for everything happening on Columbia's campus
Lucy Chen, CC'23; Ariel Chai Nurieli, GS’25; Rotem Weiss, GS’24 

Graduate Winners

1st place

Iku Bio: Manufacture bioproducts using electronics 
Hooten Sterling, GS'23

2nd place Tie

Surgonomic Solutions: Intuitive, Ergonomic Surgical Instruments 
Arvind Nandakumar, SEAS’23 

2nd Place Tie

RoachThatWaste: Use cockroaches to process mixed organic waste
Yuheng Chen, CBS'25 

Audience Choice Award

Revive-A-Rhythm: Device that makes CPR easier to perform
Columbia Engineering seniors Lauren Bazay, Ijeoma G Obi, Carol Xu, Erica Bonheur, Elizabeth Angelina Caso, and Hadeel Sajidah Abdul-Rehman

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