NYU ITP Pitchfest 2015

Workshop Series: What is your concept. Your idea. Your project. Pitch your Idea  for support and feedback: Workshops, Practice Pitch Prep, and Pitch Festival.

Adjunct Professor: Jen van der Meer

Background: Over the past five+ years NYU ITP has organized increasingly successful Investor Pitchfest to showcase startup team ideas worthy of funder consideration and attention. Prior Judges for Pitchfest have included Joanne Wilson and Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures), Andy Weissman (Union Square Ventures), Phin Barnes (First Round Capital) and Frank Rimalovski (NYU Tech Ventures), Amy Millman (Springboard) and a number of active Angel Investors.

This year we are augmenting with more super sub micron seed stage investors, project funders, and social impact angels.

We schedule the workshop series after Thesis Week and the ITP show.

In the past five years, there are now so many more opportunities to pitch.

The Stern Berkeley Center Competition, The NYU Summer LaunchPad Accelerator, the Dorm Room Fund, the application process for YC and Highway 1 and other accelerators in NYC, the Bay Area, and China.

But we know there are those out there that haven’t yet ventured into thinking about their idea, project, or concept as a venture.

We have also augmented the prep workshops for the range of potential ideas we’ve seen at ITP over these years:

  • The projects that just need to exist in the world.
  • The social impact idea that must find its home.
  • The high growth potential company that hasn’t yet gotten picked up by an accelerator.
  • We welcome all of you. We want to help you launch.

Submit your business concept ideas to be considered for the first workshop, and Pitchfest here, and reach out to Jen at jd1159@nyu.edu with any questions or for consultation. This workshop is open to anyone who is enrolled or has recently been graduated from NYU, and is designed for NYU ITP graduates specifically.


Workshop Schedule Overview:

Idea Submission: Friday May 22, 2015

Workshop 1: Monday June 1, 2015

Workshop 2: Monday June 8, 2015

Workshop 3: Monday June 15, 2015

Pitchfest 4: Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Idea Submission: Friday, May 22, 2015


Students will submit a 100 word description of their idea. Links to team member bios, early prototypes, presentations, blog posts, or video demos is welcome and encouraged. Professors van der Meer, Igoe and Hechinger will select top student ideas for the initial workshop.

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Favorite Lessons Learned from Lean at ITP Speakers

We just wrapped up our second Lean experiment at ITP last night with a Lessons Learned dinner party.

We had extraordinarily candid speakers this semester who humbly told us of their successes and failures, pivots and turnarounds, origin stories and the truth behind their funding and scale.

A few of my favorite wisdom pickings from the line up of guest speakers:

Britta Riley: Know the contours and flows of the dominant business model in your industry. Know the limits of direct e-commerce sales if you are selling hardware and how retail happens. Don’t deliberately limit your business by not understanding these parameters going in.

Albert Lee, All Tomorrows Lab who recently launched Emoji App:

Zero mental calories: users should have to learn nothing when they use your app. Nothing.

Toothbrush test: can you find a reason why they would use your app 2x a day, to create those reasons to engage.

Trojan Horse it: you can’t always give people what you think they need, especially if you are meeting a need they are uncomfortable talking about. So find out what their discrete top level painpoint is, and create the front door that meets that need. You can solve for deeper emotional needs not at the value proposition level, but in the product design. **** (This one gets extra stars)

Julie Berkun Fajgenbaum, Tweed Wolf. Come up with the 10 reasons why it won’t work and then develop tests to prove the contrary.

Chris Milne, IDEO: Design it so it looks unfinished – and people will give you more honest and useful feedback because they will not feel like they are hurting your feelings. They will truly co-create with you.

John Bachir, Medstro: Kill Features!

Christine Lemke, Evidation Health: Be comfortable with pivoting between consumer and B:B, and don’t get too attached to what the actual product is on either side – your strengths in one will benefit you for the other.

Angad Singh, Lolly Wolly Doodle: When you are in scale mode and hiring developers, learn to work together before hiring. Determine a project that you estimate to be about 20 hours over 2-3 weeks, and then assess not just coding skills but problem solving, decision making, and communication skills.

Scott Miller, Dragon Innovation and Bolt Ventures: Learn how to pick a factory, and validate that your project could succeed through crowdfunding or preording before you begin.