Introducing the 2019 Startup Cohort


Looking to mentor our newest cohort? Find the form here.

The end of the year means we’re welcoming new startups for our 2019 cohort! Over the past few weeks, we’ve worked with expert judges–from investors to successful entrepreneurs, educators to executives–to help evaluate our entries. Zahn staff then held interviews with the top teams, and selected five semi-finalists and one alternate in each category. These startups will compete for the Kaylie Hardware Prize, the Standard Chartered Women+Tech4NYC Prize, and the Zahn Social Impact & Zahn Technology Prizes. Although the competition will officially kick off next semester with our bootcamp, you can meet the 24 CCNY student-led startups competing for $150K worth of prizes now! Here’s a sneak peek:

Some very cool hardware startups will compete for the Kaylie Prize this year. Many of the teams in this track are born out of senior design or research projects from the School of Engineering or Architecture, and some are inspired by real-life problems people closest to them face. Startups in this cohort will develop tangible products, from medtech devices to fitness products, and will join a vibrant hardware community in NYC. From the city that gave us Makerbot, the following teams will add to the disruption:

  • Adon (formerly HolesNYC): a fitness shirt that tracks muscle movement to help you achieve the best results when you lift weights
  • Design & Disorder: a sleek wearable for individuals with hearing loss to help them identify the sounds around them
  • Sugar-Tat: a wearable technology that monitors diabetes without having to prick your finger
  • The Coach: an interactive, automated boxing device that trains you & makes working out fun
  • WiseWatch: a tracking device that allows caregivers & family members to track individuals with dementia

Although our entire cohort represents 50/50 gender parity, the Standard Chartered Women+Tech4NYC Prize celebrates women founders specifically. This category is meant to bolster the NYC tech & entrepreneurship scene (already the best place for female founders) with even more women in c-suite positions. The startups in this category will define what Silicon Alley will be known for, and represent a variety of fields from robotics to edtech. Meet the future of NYC:

  • Fruition: an app that enables students to enhance their success through personalized study plans
  • Gesture-Controlled Robot: a robot controlled via hand gestures made by the user, meant to enhance quality of life for people with disabilities
  • olacare (formerly Olahealth): a customizable sexual/reproductive health app for the LGBTQIA+ community
  • STEM Hive: a platform for young girls to engage in STEM, receive community mentorship, and gather cryptocurrency rewards based on academic or social achievements
  • Study Space (alternate): smart co-working spaces for students to improve their studying experiences 

The Zahn Social Impact Prize celebrates changemakers and aims to develop the next generation of social entrepreneurs. Many of our students–like a lot of Millennials and GenZers–are incredibly socially conscious. These startups specifically pursue entrepreneurship as a way to make the world better, and focus on issues right here at home, or abroad. From combating sexual harassment & FGC to enhancing cultural experiences & education, these startups are taking on some tough challenges:

  • Beyond the Margins: bettering education for marginalized groups
  • It Hurts: a local, community-driven social enterprise dedicated to eradicating female genital cutting by empowering young activists through education & art
  • Rising Phoenix: an organization that aims to help survivors of sexual assault reclaim their lives
  • Stage One: a locally-based patronization and discovery platform for artists

And last but not least, the Zahn Technology Prize includes mobile apps, platforms, and e-commerce sites dedicated to making tech serve people & enhance more industries. We’re excited by the use of added technologies like machine learning that we’ll see in this cohort! This year the startups in this category will focus on exciting industries like finance, fitness, and data. Check them out:

  • MarkGen (formerly EMAC): a platform that uses machine learning tools to handle multivariate relationships to simulate market data and provide accurate risk assessments for financial products
  • GetUp: an app that makes exercise fun and helps to motivate individuals to form healthy physical activity habits
  • PopIt: a digital idea board that allows to organize screenshots, photos, and links in one place to better achieve goals, build skills, and learn about various topics


Once again, we’re excited to see where these teams land. If you’re a student who’d like to join one of these teams, please visit our “Join A Startup” form here. If you’re interested in mentoring, please visit our Mentorship Page.