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Pitch perfect: Students compete for top prizes at Foundry Pitch Challenge

Announcements | Apr 11, 2017 |

By Tanisia Morris

The Fordham Foundry gave new meaning to the expression “elevator pitch” at its first-ever Pitch Challenge.

Sponsored by the Foundry and BNP Paribas, the Pitch Challenge, which was held on April 1 at the Lincoln Center campus, gave Fordham students an opportunity to pitch their businesses and social-enterprise ideas to an accomplished panel of judges, including a number of professionals who work in startups and venture financing.

More than 100 students competed for a stake in $10,000 in prize money, which was awarded among four teams delivering the top pitches. Forty-one teams participated in all, and many of the 25 judges were Fordham alumni.

The grand prize of $4,500 was awarded to Pathos creator Anthony Parente, Gabelli BS ’19, and his teammates Shelda Zajmi, FCRH ’19, Ryan Zablocki, Gabelli BS ’17, and Samuel Knoche, FCRH ’20. They also were awarded the People’s Choice prize of $500, which is based on voting. Pathos is an app that allows Apple Watch users to create comprehensive conversation profiles of the people they meet.

Parente said the prize money would cover operational costs, as the app is currently in beta phase.

“We believe that we must act quickly to take advantage of a small window of opportunity, and that if we do so successfully, we will be able to transform and improve the way people take notes and remember their social interactions,” he said.

James Kenna, FCLC ’19, a theater major, won second place for his web service idea College Callbacks, which aims to provide high school seniors with the resources and support to confidently audition for college theater programs.

The creators of KindMind, an app allowing users to track and improve their mental wellness, came in third place, while Ventir, a modular backpack company, rounded out the top four winning teams.

For Parente, the Pitch Challenge taught him that delivering a business pitch under time constraints isn’t the only thing that can make or break a startup idea.

“Ultimately, you have to make sure people can see the vision and believe that your team has what it takes to make it a reality,” he said.

Note: This is an abridged version of a story originally published in the Fordham NewsroomRead the full story.

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