FINAL PITCH NIGHT is a live entrepreneurial competition featuring the semi-finalists of the Zahn Prize and Social Innovation Challenge. A total of 16 talented start-up companies will battle it out for cash and glory in front of a panel of renowned judges.

Don’t miss it! The audience will have the power to help their favorite start-up win the $1,000 “Audience’s Choice” prize!

Thursday, May 8th
3:30-5:30 Social Innovation Expo
& Audience Choice voting
5:30-7:00 Final Pitches
7:00-8:00 Reception and Winners Announced

The City College of New York
Faculty Dining Room
(North Academic Center - 3rd Floor)
160 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031


Finalists from the Zahn Prize and Social Innovation Challenge will receive part of the $50,000 in monetary prizes. In addition all semi-finalists from both competitions will qualify for admission to the Zahn Innovation Center incubator for the summer and fall. They will also receive the following to develop their ideas into viable non-profit or for-profit ventures:

  • extensive mentorship
  • pro bono legal services (e.i. intellectual property, incorporation and accounting services)
  • 24 hour access to a co-working space
  • Access to prototyping facilities that include machining, electronics and 3D printer, as well as access to an experienced engineer

Zahn Prize ($20,000)

The Zahn Prize is an annual entrepreneurship competition for students, staff, faculty and alumni of City College that is sponsored by the Zahn Center. The prize aims to encourage participants to develop and implement their entrepreneurial ideas, and to understand how to incorporate lean startup principles as they develop their business idea. The idea can be in any field (e.i. software, eCommerce, etc) and must be for a viable for-profit business.

Peter Zahn, president of the Moxie Foundation
Joseph Barba , head of campus wide entrepreneurship at City College, and former dean of the Grove School of Engineering
John Blaho, Director for Industrial Academic Research at CUNY and Teaching Team Lead at NCYRIN
An Nguyen, Managing Partner at Dorm Room Fund, a venture fund that invests in student start-ups
Regina Chien, Entrepreneur Banking at Silicon Valley Bank and NY Chapter Lead at the Start-up Leadership Program

Read their full bios here


  • Gist.ly

    This software startup is creating an app that will aggregate the reviews and present them in single glace "text cloud" visual that gives greater prominence and font size to words that appear more frequently in reviews. Our app will provide a single-glance overview that also conveys key information about the substance of the reviews, thereby providing a “review of the reviews” for the particular product or service. The app will also offer the option of the aggregation process for reviews that appear on any other website, e.g., Amazon, Yelp, NYTimes article comments.We are currently working on aggregating Amazon product reviews.
  • Sigma Tutors

    Sigma Tutors is a program that seeks to give low-cost tutoring to NYC high school students. We are starting with SAT Prep. Our goal is to charge customers $10/hr, pay tutors $15/hr, and give the university more recognition by hosting these services first at CCNY then at other CUNY branches.
  • Sunset Farms

    The Sunset Farms is setting out to figure out the best model for entry into the urban farming sector in Brooklyn, NY. It is a small sector, currently being occupied by only a few urban farm operations and scattered gardens none of which are of a major commercial capacity. This allows a huge swath of space with great potential to create a business model that hits two important points for urban food production: engaging strongly with food justice issues, and reaching the full potential of food production right in the city and long lasting commercial viability. As much as this is a food justice project and seizing opportunity of a new and sparsely populated sector, it is also an economic justice and development project, a revitalization project for the target area, a landmark preservation project, a sustainability and Earth saving project, and an education project.
  • TryMyToy

    TryMyToy seeks to revolutionize the way in which toys are purchased online. The website features a curated selection of educational and interactive toys. TryMyToy will enhance the user experience through a simple and interactive webpage; eliminating clustered pages, minimizing clicks and scrolls. All products will have demonstration videos explaining the functions of the toys to maximize customer satisfaction while the unique Virtual Shopping Assistant will provide assistance to customers searching for a toy online, using smart sorting technology. TryMyToy’s mission is to help facilitate the search for that perfect toy while providing an exceptional shopping experience.
  • YaHerd

    YaHerd is a mobile website aggregator that makes it easy for someone attending a live show to "follow" or "like" an artist's across their entire social media portfolio without having to hop around numerous sites to do so. A user can then collect and later access these same bands through yaherd. YaHerd supports real-world music discovery and places it in the palm of your hands.

Social Innovation Challenge ($30,000)

The Social Innovation Challenge is a new competition for the City College community, offering an opportunity for teams to pitch their big ideas on how to change the world through social enterprise. The Challenge was designed to invite sustainable nonprofit and for-profit concepts alike. Semi-finalist teams compete for a Grand Prize of $10K, two Finalist awards of $5K each, and three Runners Up prizes worth $3K each. Plus a $1K Audience Choice bonus will be awarded based upon public vote at the Final Pitch. In addition, we are grateful for Landmark Ventures' generous support for City College social entrepreneurs. All Finalists will receive complimentary tickets to Landmark's invitation-only Social Innovation Summit 2014 at the UN.

(1) Clarity in identifying the social/environmental challenge
(2) Solution match to the challenge
(3) Uniqueness of concept
(4) Feasibility of execution
(5) Pitch and materials

Aziz Ahmad, CEO and Founder of UTC Associates and CEO and MD of Grameen Solutions
Vince Boudreau, Dean of the Colin Powell School at City College
Sean Moore, Portfolio Manager, Acumen
Bonnie Oliva, Echoing Green Fellow and Global Operations Director of InVenture
Lauren Walters, Co-Founder, 2 Degrees Food
Peter Zahn, President of the Moxie Foundation


  • 2X3

    2X3 was formed out of a necessity to help small cities in Latin America create financially sustainable recycling solutions. By conducting an extensive assessment of the local urban landscape and environmental features, the company is able to form a custom-tailored recycling program that couples sustainable design principles with a specific societal need. 2X3 is guided by maintaining a triple bottom line, and bridges the gap between the public and their government. 2X3 helps overlooked communities turn a waste stream into a resource.
  • Amenawon Solar School

    Life in Lagos, Nigeria is characterized by limited access to potable water and electricity. While open sewers flow through most streets, the access to inbuilt space and the possibility to cultivate food is limited. Working with the Amayo family, community members, and organizations, Amenawon Solar School will retrofit the compound of the late Mrs. Amenawon Amayo to implement a hybrid model combining rainwater collection, solar energy production, food cultivation and community stewardship. The ‘solar school’ will be a model for low cost, healthy and sustainable life in Lagos, and will serve as a space for cultivating sustainable practices through workshops on rainwater harvesting, solar energy, and permaculture principles.
  • Bugs On Purpose

    Eighty percent of the world eats insects, yet in the U.S. we rarely hear about this healthy and sustainable cuisine. Bugs On Purpose will launch the first insect sampling product, a subscription club that will deliver monthly edible insects in a box to your doorstep. Bugs On Purpose will bring entomophagy into the Western discourse so that one day, bugs can be served as a main course.
  • GrantAnswers

    GrantAnswers is a social enterprise that aims to disrupt cycles of poverty. GrantAnswers improves the educational outcomes of underrepresented students by helping them secure scholarships, grants and admissions through expert services, digital tools and media campaigns. GrantAnswers was inspired by its founder’s previous work at the City College of New York, helping over 150 predominantly low-income, first-generation NYC high school students attend college and earn over $1 million in scholarships and grants.
  • Homer Delivery

    More than 8000 cyclists traverse NYC streets daily to deliver our food. Unfortunately, the current delivery system is incredibly inefficient and exploitation is commonplace, including illegal pay structures and unfair labor practices. However, inefficiency creates opportunity and Homer Delivery can create a massive social impact by reorganizing the structure of the delivery industry. Homer is an outsourced delivery service with an optimized routing platform. We can deliver the same number of orders in fewer miles traveled, provide regulation for the delivery workforce, offer higher wages to low-income labor, all while benefiting restaurants by saving money, expanding delivery zones, and removing the costs of managing delivery staff.
  • IEEE Haiti

    Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are the cornerstones of an advanced and sustainable society. We have established IEEE Haiti, a branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, for the Republic of Haiti. IEEE Haiti seeks to promote the STEM fields and advocate for research by engaging, supporting, and encouraging students and professionals in developing innovative ideas for Haiti’s future.
  • Kuumba Academy

    We aim to change the face of innovation. Right now, just over 1% of American entrepreneurs are of color. In response, Kuumba Academy will foster a new generation of innovators, thinkers and leaders. The Academy is a youth leadership and entrepreneurship incubator for urban students in NYC and SF public schools. It will equip underrepresented students with the tools of design thinking, coding, and entrepreneurship to empower themselves and their surrounding ecosystems.
  • MoYA

    The Museum of Your Art (MoYA) allows non-artists to be part of - and amplify - urban renewal through art. MoYA is a virtual museum that will connect people to public and street art via an app and interactive website. Its community grows the museum through posting pictures and information, casting votes up and down, and curating collections. The app pinpoints locations so tours can be created, and notifications occur when art is nearby.
  • Physics Interactive

    Carrying out an actual experiment is one of the best ways to learn and build your intuition in physics. However, because of limited resources and time constraints, students don't get to carry out the labs that could cement their understanding of the material and make the learning process more fun. Physics Interactive puts the experiments online, making simulations available to anyone with a computer, tablet or phone. The goal is to revolutionize physics education by making a website and app that offer access to the experiments for anyone in the world.
  • Polite

    Politics today has become too complicated. How do we pick our candidates? How do we know that they truly represent us? Where can we vote and what exactly are we voting for? Polyvote can help. We will create a web-based platform that consolidates, clarifies, and beautifies political data and encourages users to explore their own views. In a nutshell, Polite will streamline the process of civic engagement.
  • NutraLink

    A person's diet plays a huge role in his well-being, and patients who go through treatment but never improve their diets usually have their conditions resurface. NutraLink will develop a website interface for doctors, and a mobile app for patients, that function together to help doctors assign appropriate diet plans, communicate regular reminders, and monitor their patients' success. Ultimately, this platform will simplify patient-doctor interaction and improve health outcomes.