Last week I was invited to participate in The 10th Annual Pace Pitch Contest presented by the Entrepreneurship Lab at Pace University. The pitch contest is the brain child of Professor Bruce Bachenheimer, a teaching visionary who believes entrepreneurship must be bred in college classrooms.
The Pace Pitch Contest is based on the elevator pitch concept and gives Pace students an early opportunity to pitch fellow entrepreneurs and investors. Today, there is a proliferation of accelerators post-college or alternate university programs that give students the option of pursuing a startup without a university degree. There are merits to each, but few universities take the initiative to incorporate entrepreneurship within the university curriculum. Pace is a great example of this very initiative, having run their tenth consecutive pitch competition.
My very favorite part of the competition was the ratio of women to men. 75% of the judges (3 out of 4) and more than half of the entrepreneurs were women. In fact, first and second place went to two female founders, which made me especially proud. I think we are on our way to not just #changetheratio (as coined by Rachel Sklar), but also change the #elevatorpitchratio by bringing more women to the forefront of the pitching/fundraising process.
I was so impressed with the poise, clarity, and creativity of all seven finalists. If they are any indicator of the next wave of entrepreneurship in NYC, we are in for quite a ride.
Lubin School of Business Dean, Neil Braun, giving the welcoming remarks. I loved his definition of entrepreneurship: “Getting things done.”
I was lucky to share the judging panel with Bal Agrawal, CEO of LifeWorx, Ellen Carey, Manager of Global Impact Investing Network, and Mary Howard, a Principal at Design Technologies.
Kumesh Aroomoogan, a senior at Pace University, and Anshul Pandey, a PhD student at NYU, won third place for Accern, a quantitative content detection platform tailored for institutional investors.
Camille Hugh, an MBA graduate from Pace University, won second place for Interview Master, an online marketplace that brings interviewees and interviewers together for practice and mentorship.
Paige Cecchi, a junior at Pace University, won first place for SheerStock, a monthly subscription hosiery service. I was blow away by Paige’s passion for and familiarity with the subscription e-commerce space. Paige correctly capitalized on a product that is consumed in a repetitive nature and needs to be supplanted by convenience and price savings.
This is my very favorite picture. Here is Paige with all her friends after winning first prize. Support from loved ones (and other women) is so important. Paige was on cloud nine.