Sponsored by Eric Aroesty, C’92

The Startup Showcase is the biggest entrepreneurship event of the year featuring the Semifinalists and Finalists of the Startup Challenge!

The 2020 Startup Showcase will be held on Friday, May 3, 2020.

The 2019 Startup Showcase was held on Friday, May 3, 2019. We invite you to learn more about the winners below!

Watch Startup Challenge finalists pitch for $135,000 in prizes
Talk with student entrepreneurs demoing their startups
Network with entrepreneurial alumni
Give an elevator pitch to an investor–in an elevator
Celebrate with Penn’s entrepreneurial community!

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship is grateful to Eric Aroesty C’92, whose generous donation supports the Penn Wharton Startup Challenge & Startup Showcase.

India Cool: Aerate Wins $30,000 Startup Challenge Perlman Grand Prize with First-of-its-Kind Air Conditioner Technology

Left to right: Jake Fine, ENG’19, GEN’19; Connor Sendel, ENG’19, W’19; Spencer Collins, ENG’19, GEN’19; Bikram Bakshi, WG’05, Entrepreneur & Innovator; Member, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board; Yann Pfitzer, ENG’19, C’19, GEN’20; Sam Weintraub, ENG’19, GEN’20; Ashwin Kishen ENG’19, W’19, GEN’20

We are pleased to announce the winner of the third annual Startup Challenge, sponsored by Eric Aroesty, C’92: Aerate, founded by six Wharton and Penn Engineering undergraduate students. The Showcase was held on May 3, 2019, at the Wharton School on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Aerate’s novel, patent-pending air conditioner functions as a dehumidifier and air cooler up to 20x more efficient than others in the market. Specifically designed for high humidity environments, Aerate plans to bring this climate-friendly product to the Indian market to combat the growing need for cool air.

Aerate predicts that by 2050, the global population will purchase 3.3 billion new air conditioners. In India, the need is greater than ever, and many expect the country to become the world’s top user of electricity for cooling. CFO and co-founder Ashwin Kishen ENG’19, W’19, GEN’20, who was always jarred by the heat when visiting relatives in India. This experience resonated with Kishen and it fueled his entrepreneurial drive at Penn. Along with Kishen, Aerate’s founder include Spencer Collins, ENG’19, GEN’19; Jake Fine, ENG’19, GEN’19; Yann Pfitzer, ENG’19, C’19, GEN’20; Connor Sendel, ENG’19, W’19; Sam Weintraub, ENG’19, GEN’20. Together, they developed their concept while enrolled in Penn’s Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics program, focusing on technology that could tackle climate change. Aerate also recently won the 2019 Pennvention competition held by Weiss Tech House.

The Startup Showcase is the biggest entrepreneurship event of the year at the University of Pennsylvania, showcasing the best and brightest student minds and their ventures. The Eight Finalist teams were selected that morning from nearly 30 Semifinalist teams, after a morning of intense, closed-door pitches to panels of alumni entrepreneurs and investors. The Finalists would go on to pitch in front of a live audience and a panel of judges, competing for over $135,000 in cash and prizes to launch their startups.

The Startup Showcase marks an exciting finish to another hallmark year of entrepreneurship across the Penn community. Students engaged in entrepreneurial programs are founding rapidly-scaling companies while the resources available within Penn and the Philadelphia ecosystem continue to grow. Most recently, Penn unveiled plans for Tangen Hall, the University’s first dedicated space for cross-campus entrepreneurship and innovation activity. Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship is proud to continue to be a leader in entrepreneurship education.

In addition to the Startup Challenge, the Showcase featured a room full of incredible student-led ventures, giving them the opportunity to demo their companies for accomplished alumni and the general public. The elevator pitches attracted students from all educational backgrounds, from those with budding ideas to those with fully-developed companies, to pitch investors in a real elevator. Attendees voted for their favorite venture and the Eight Finalists gave rapid-fire pitches to both live and virtual audiences, competing for the People’s Choice Award.

The 2019 Startup Challenges winners are:

  1. Perlman Grand Prize: $30,000 + $15,000 in legal, accounting and strategy services to Aerate
  2. Runner-up: $15,000 + $15,000 in legal, accounting, and strategy services to Strella Biotechnology
  3. Innovation Award: $10,000 + $15,000 in legal, accounting, and strategy services to Minimize
  4. Launch Prize: $10,000 + $15,000 in legal, accounting, and strategy services to Halo
  5. Frederick H. Gloeckner Award for Best Undergraduate Team: $10,000 to Aerate
  6. Robert S. Blank New Venture Collaboration Award: $10,000 to Aerate
  7. Social Impact Prize: $10,000 to Text-911
  8. People’s Choice Award: $3,000 to Aerate
  9. Crowd Favorite Award: $2,000 to Boost Scooters

Questions? Email Cathy Ogur.

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