October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

CUNY Startups’ Second New Venture Accelerator 

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

The CUNY Startups program at Baruch College’s Field Center for Entrepreneurship recently hosted its eagerly anticipated Demo Day event on April 5.

The campus was abuzz with excitement as students from across the City University of New York system gathered to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit.

The event marked the culmination of the spring 2024 semester’s New Venture Accelerator 2 program, where aspiring student entrepreneurs honed their ideas, refined their pitches and developed prototypes for their fledgling startups. With anticipation building, these students were poised to present their visions in front of a panel of judges, vying for recognition and support for their ventures.

Amid participants, each team stood ready to unveil their pitches. From groundbreaking tech solutions to socially impactful ventures, the diversity of ideas reflected the vibrant spirit of CUNY’s student body. Among them, several standout pitches captured the attention of both judges and spectators alike.

One notable presentation came from a team led by Anthony Carrier, a spirited entrepreneur with a passion for environmental sustainability. Their startup, Simple Sustainable Solutions Inc., aims to revolutionize waste management by implementing a community-driven recycling program in underserved neighborhoods. Carrier spoke passionately about the environmental and social benefits of their initiative, resonating strongly with the audience.

Carrier expressed that their business is for anyone who resides in the Northeast region and has clothing.

“Our job is to prevent unwanted clothing, such as old socks and old t-shirts, from reaching the landfill,” Carrier said.

He advocated for safer and cleaner environments for future generations to live in. His company helps people be more conscious about their consumption, which Carrier hopes to instill, starting in his community.

Another compelling pitch came from a group of CUNY students led by Yohji Kusakabe from Hunter College. Their startup, Kiri, aims to end negative salon experiences by developing a platform that ensures the satisfaction of stylists and guests. Kusakabe’s eloquent delivery and clear vision for the customer service relationship left a lasting impression on the judges, garnering widespread acclaim from attendees.

Kusakabe emphasized that their business is for people who have had bad experiences in the past at the salon. Their goal is to eliminate the problem of unsatisfied customers, benefiting both parties through their developing website.

On this platform, people can find stylists for hair and even nail technicians.

“It’s important to me because I find myself having a lot of bad haircuts and I really wanted a thing to make that better,” Kusakabe said.

As the pitches drew to a close, the judges deliberated on the winners. Finally, after careful consideration, the verdict was announced. Kiri, led by Yohji Kusakabe, emerged victorious, securing the top prize for their innovative solution toward good hairstyles.

Amid cheers and applause, Kusakabe and the rest of the team stepped forward to receive their accolades, a tangible validation of their hard work and dedication. Kusakabe noted it’s not just about the prize money, but about the opportunity to make a real difference.


Full story: CUNY Startups’ Second New Venture Accelerator – The Ticker

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