CEO’s 3rd Annual Shark Tank!


The CEO 3rd Annual Shark Tank event this Friday was so well attended that we had standing room only!  Thank you to everyone who came out to support, and especially CommonBond and Millennium Technology Value Partners for their sponsorship.

The event was a live pitch event featuring 3 finalists from each of the Concept and Developed stage categories.  Each team was asked insightful questions by our panel of distinguished judges: Delphine Braas ’14, Salio; Dan Burnstein, Millennium Technology Ventures; Robb Granado ’10, CommonBond; Chitra Narasimhan ’99, Citi Ventures; Conner Wilson ’15, Thursday Boot Company.

The lively pitches led to a break during which the judges deliberated, and the audience cast their vote for favorites.  After a close race, we were happy to announce the winners:

Audience Favorite Awarded $1000 each: HotSpot in concept category; and Kheyti in developed category.

Judges Vote Awarded $6000: HotSpot in concept category, and L&L Foods in developed category.

Thank you again to all the teams that participated: GlobalLend, HotSpot, and Mentifly in concept category; Crnsy, Kheyti, and L&L Foods in developed category.

Columbia startup PiperWai lands deal on Shark Tank

PiperWai, which sells the first creme deodorant to use activated charcoal, went in the Shark Tank on Friday and came out with a deal from real estate entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran. Started by Sarah Ribner (Columbia Business School ’16) and Jess Edelstein, the  startup received offers from sharks Corcoran and Lori Greiner, ultimately counter-offering and landing a $50,000 deal.

The deodorant is currently available on PiperWai’s website and over 30 retailers across the nation. We hope they’re seeing a post-Shark Tank bump! Congrats to Sarah and Jess, we’ll be keeping track of PiperWai!

Lion Hack: CBS and The School of Engineering bring Columbia together to Innovate

On November 20th, 2015 at Watson Library in Uris Hall, Columbia Business School and Columbia’s Graduate School of Engineering held its first cross-school business hackathon, Lion Hack.

Armed with technical advisors from Google and Venmo, drinks from Dig Inn, and caffeine supplied by Wandering Bear Coffee (a startup born out of Columbia Business School), the students raced to complete an MVP, a pitch deck, and a business plan within 24 hours.

By Saturday the dust had cleared and 5 judges from venture capital, the New York angel investing community, and Columbia Engineering gathered to judge the efforts of over 100 students from across the university.  Some had dropped out, but those that made it to present put forth ideas that ranged from energy to digital currency tools.

At the end two winners emerged and were fast tracked to participating in the presentation rounds of Columbia Business Schools I.E. Program:

MemorEyes – a new web app in the educational and productivity business. We are a startup company that aims to help students, actors, or anyone memorize vocabulary, poems, lyrics, lines, or anything else. The user inputs everything they want to memorize, by word or by line, and we match each segment with a specific picture with varying colors and shapes.

Sierra Leone Solar Corp. (SLSC) – a social venture with the aim of reducing energy poverty in urban and peri-urban areas of West Africa, especially Sierra Leone. To achieve our goal, we are targeting under-served market segments by providing cheap, clean and reliable solar energy to our customers. We overcome the hurdle of high upfront cost by offering lease-to-own and pay-as-you-go payment plans for solar lamps.

Congratulations to the winners! While the event was not without it’s hiccups, reactions to the hackathon have resulted in demand for a spring version of the hackathon from students. Investor have been overwhelming positive and they are excited to participate in further events geared toward getting students to launch businesses.  Lion Hack has been officially added to CEO’s recurring events so look out for the next hackathon in Spring or Fall of 2016.