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Cornell Tech teams to compete for startup awards May 15

Cornell Tech’s first virtual Open Studio – an end-of-semester event in which students present the products and services they built to members of the tech industry – will be held online May 15.

The spring Open Studio will include the Cornell Tech Startup Awards, now in their sixth year. Ten student teams have been selected as finalists for up to four awards of $100,000 in pre-seed funding, including co-working space at the Tata Innovation Center on the Cornell Tech campus.

The event, which is open to the public, will be broadcast via YouTube livestream from noon to 2 p.m. Anyone wishing to attend can register on the Open Studio website.

Open Studio is a capstone of Cornell Tech’s studio curriculum, which brings together multidisciplinary teams to develop business or product ideas using the tools of technology. In their final semester, students form teams and enroll in Startup Studio, where they develop startup ideas, or BigCo Studio, where they learn to innovate within large companies.

“Engaging with the New York City tech industry is core to the mission of Cornell Tech, and Open Studio is a vital part of that collaboration,” said Greg Morrisett, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech. “It gives our students the opportunity to share their work and network with the larger tech community.”

This year, when Cornell Tech shifted to all-virtual instruction in mid-March, students faced the challenge of building companies without in-person interaction with their co-founders or target users. The studio’s faculty and staff used tools such as Zoom and Slack to continue the multidisciplinary team experience that is core to its mission.

The startup award finalists include Horizon, which re-creates the atmosphere of a physical office using avatars and AI-directed voice for interaction; InvictusBCI, which seeks to create an affordable hand neuroprosethetic brain-controlled interface to restore near natural functionality; and Shpr, an on-demand fitting room experience allowing shoppers to try on clothes they find online.

At the event, the finalists will present their startup ideas, followed by the live announcement of the winners. A virtual demo space will feature video and interactive displays of other student projects from Startup Studio and BigCo Studio, as well as Runway Startup Postdocs from the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech.

Media Contact

Lindsey Hadlock