2023: Congratulations to MoneyUp –
1st Place winners of the 2023 Rutgers and
Statewide Upitch Competitions!
2022: Congratulations to SmartMS3 for being a finalist in this competition (Founder Akash Randhawa)
2021: Congratulations to Solace for winning 3rd place (Founder Laurent Shields)
2020: Congratulations to Knowt for winning 3rd place (Founder Abheek Pandoh)
2019: Congratulations to Aersys for winning 2rd place (Founder Vallab Nayak)
2018: Congratulations to Living Waters for being a finalist in this competition (Presenter Joshua Kao)
2017: Congratulations to Pedul for winning 1st place (Founders Kayla Michele Johnson and Chisa Egbelu)
2021: Congratulations to Solace for winning 3rd place (Founder Laurent Sields
See 2020 Press Release below
The fifth annual UPitchNJ, an innovative statewide collegiate business model competition showcasing the Garden State’s top young talent was held May 1 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 in a livestreamed, virtual format together with Nokia Bell Labs. The competition was organized by the New Jersey Collegiate Entrepreneurship Consortium, which represents the entrepreneurship education programs at New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities.
The top six teams (listed alphabetically below) were selected by Nokia Bell Labs staff after a preliminary video pitch.
Montclair University – Mavo Care
New Jersey City University – Signs of Communication
New Jersey Institute of Technology – MAPD
Princeton University – Invictis Technology
Rutgers University – Knowt
Saint Peter’s University – Home Free Scooters
Knowt is “an app that uses artificial intelligence to automatically turn your notes into review quizzes.” Knowt will be represented by CEO Abheek Pandoh, a senior at Rutgers majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Statistics and COO Abhishek Patel, a junior at Rutgers University pursuing his degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics.
New Jersey’s college students, faculty, alumni, friends and the public are all invited to watch the FREE May 1 competition virtually. The link is https://www.facebook.com/upitchnewjersey/ Those watching can participate by helping select the “Audience Choice” award. The winning team will receive $500.
Marcus Weldon, president of Nokia Bell Labs and corporate chief technology officer, of Nokia, delivered the keynote address to kick off the event. Serving as judges were Weldon and four additional Nokia Bell Labs senior executives.
Student teams will be judged on the innovation and originality of their startup idea and quality of their oral presentations. The contest judges will also be looking for creative and innovative thinking about markets, products and services. The student teams will be evaluated on their perceived ability to execute the idea and turn it into a viable, profitable business, and/or venture with significant social value.
To help the undergraduate entrepreneurship students to prepare for the competition, Nokia Bell Labs has paired each of the student startup teams with a Nokia Bell Labs senior executive to serve as a mentor to the team.
“Nokia Bell Labs has been at the center of New Jersey’s tech innovation for more than 90 years, and I am excited about the role we play today supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the wider community, including in the UPitchNJ contest, which comprises innovative ideas and concepts coming from students from some of the most renowned universities in the world – all based in New Jersey,” Weldon said.
“We are extremely grateful to Marcus Weldon and Nokia Bell Labs for this extraordinary and innovative collaboration,” said Susan Scherreik, chair of UPitchNJ and founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Seton Hall University. “UPitchNJ showcases the best and brightest young entrepreneurs from all over the Garden State. Thanks to the coaching the teams are receiving from New Jersey’s top corporate research scientists at Nokia Bell Labs, our collegiate entrepreneurship students can take their startups to new heights.”
The joint effort between Nokia Bell Labs and the entrepreneurship programs at the state’s colleges and universities will benefit New Jersey in myriad ways. When companies in New Jersey seek to expand, or to move to the Garden State, a prime consideration is New Jersey’s highly educated workforce, especially employees who are innovative self-starters. With assistance from Nokia Bell Labs, these student entrepreneurs will be even better prepared for their careers, Scherreik noted.
UPitchNJ was originally slated to be held at Nokia Bell Labs headquarters in New Providence. The event was shifted to a virtual format after New Jersey and other states instituted social distancing requirements as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.
In past years, UPitchNJ has been held at one of the participating university’s campuses. Past hosts include Princeton University, Rutgers University, Montclair State University and Seton Hall University.
The competition’s aim is to highlight the ingenuity and creativity of today’s college entrepreneurs, who are increasingly launching businesses from their dorm rooms. As entrepreneurship educators in New Jersey, we want to provide our entrepreneurial students with a networking forum with other students, mentors and potential investors.
We believe that this competition will help brand New Jersey – home to Nokia Bell Labs and Thomas Edison – as the innovative state that it is, plus encourage young entrepreneurs to develop their businesses here, leading to economic growth and job creation.