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Yale Alum Startup Wins NYU-Yale Pitchoff

The Yale alumni startup Statera Therapeutics has won the NYU-Yale Summer Accelerator Pitchoff, involving Yale School of Management and New York University’s Stern School of Business.

The competition is organized by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (Tsai CITY) for students and alums participating in summer accelerator programs at the two schools.

This year, each school was represented by three teams.

On NYU’s side were Bloc, which makes educational software; GigFinesse, a platform for talent booking; and SeaStraws, which focuses on sustainable restaurant products.

Meanwhile, Yale was represented by PREPARED, an emergency response system for schools; Statera Therapeutics, which is developing new ways to deliver immunotherapies and vaccinations; and Typogram, which helps entrepreneurs build brands.

The competition was judged by a panel of Yale and NYU alumni, with five-minute pitches being delivered in front of an audience of 200.

With the pitchoff taking place in Manhattan, NYU may have had home field advantage, but ultimately it was Statera, a team from Yale, that prevailed.

Statera’s mission involves using nanoparticles to improve drug delivery. The company sees its innovations being used to treat autoimmune diseases in particular. The high potential impact of the company was one of the factors that swayed the judges in the end.

Statera’s team includes two grads in Yale SOM’s MBA Class of 2019: Jennifer Fischer and Owen Yang. It also includes Philip Kong, who received his PhD in immunology from Yale this year, and Sean Bickerton, an MD/PhD student at Yale.

The company is one of ten ventures belonging to Tsai CITY’s 2019 summer fellowship cohort. Each team in the cohort receives $15,000 in funding, as well as access to mentorship, workshops, and other opportunities – including, of course, the NYU-Yale Pitchoff.

Likewise, NYU has nine teams, selected from a pool of over 90, participating in its 2019 Summer Launchpad. These teams receive $10,000 in funding as well as access to services, coaching and coworking space.

Programs like these highlight the opportunities that entrepreneurs have at top MBA programs like Yale SOM and NYU Stern.

First, there are the networking opportunities – it’s worth noting that the winning team arose from a collaboration between Yale MBA and PhD students. Then there’s the access to programs like summer accelerators and the pitchoff itself.

Those opportunities help explain why admission at top MBA programs is so competitive. Many aspiring entrepreneurs are eager to get the kind of boost a first-tier graduate business education can provide.

So how does one stand out in such a large pool of applicants? It’s vital to craft a personal brand that emphasizes the unique traits you would bring to the program.

We can give you feedback on how to do this and how your application would stack up at top programs – just ask us for a free MBA application assessment!