Georgia Tech Team Wins at Global College Entrepreneur Pitch Competition
Insight Optics, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, won third place at the Third Annual TiE University Global Pitch Competition held on May 15-16, 2021.
Representing TiE Atlanta, the Insight Optics team consists of Dr. Aaron Enten and TJ Lagrow. Their business venture delivers a mobile-adapted platform which enables primary care physicians to efficiently detect early signs of avoidable blindness before permanent damage is done. The team was mentored by Greg Cory, Neeti Dewan and Eric Ensor from TiE Atlanta.
The team received a $5,000 cash prize sponsored by the Naadam Foundation, and a $4,000 grant from the REAN Foundation. Insight Optics was “best in class” at the Startup Bootcamp hosted by TiE Silicon Valley in early May.
Insight Optics competed with 27 winning teams from across the globe including teams from TIE Chapters in seven countries across three continents. The teams were mentored by local TiE chapters and supported by global workshops, startup bootcamps and mock sessions. There were 526 startup teams with 1432 students that participated in local TiE chapter college competition rounds.
First prize went to TiE Toronto’s ALT TEX whose founders are from York University and the University of Toronto. Their venture focuses on sustainable textiles engineered from food waste by tackling two serious issues — food waste and the high levels of pollution caused by the fashion industry.
The second prize winner was TiE Dallas’ SURVIVR whose founder is from the University of Texas at Dallas. The company aims to make communities safer by providing immersive and humanized police training using virtual reality.
Chapter winners went through a semifinal round on May 15. The virtual event was viewed by over 500 audience members from around the world, and TiE Atlanta’s executive director, Amyn Sadruddin, was instrumental as the MC for a semifinals track. Worldwide teams pitched diverse business ideas such as bio-toilets, career fulfillment tools for higher education, technology-enabled artificial limbs, and tech kits for 21st century education, among others.
The event also featured a fireside conversation between Prof. Jagdish Sheth from Emory University in Atlanta and Mr. Ronnie Screwvala of Mumbai. The co-founder and chairman of Upgrad, an online edtech startup, Mr. Screwvala inspired young entrepreneurs to take risks. His book “Dream With Your Eyes Open” is a commitment to champion entrepreneurship and learn from failure.
This year, TiE University extended the concept of entrepreneurship to form a stronger ecosystem, even more strategically focused to dovetail multiple enablers, said Dr. Paul Lopez, Founder and Co-Chair of the TiE University Program. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, this year’s total cash prizes were $65,000, plus in-kind awards of over $600,000 to empower college entrepreneurs.
Eight university teams made it to the finals of the global pitch fest. In addition to the top three winning teams, the other finalists were TiE Austin’s Clocr, a digital legacy management and emergency planning platform; TiE Chennai’s Kitab, a digital PDF-Reader that redefines the way technical literature and textbooks are consumed; TiE Dubai’s Small World that connects NGOs and high school students; TiE DC’s Early Intervention Systems that builds software and algorithms to enhance elder-care; and TiE New Jersey’s Sulis, a low-cost water sanitization device.
The keynote speaker on Finals Day was Sheel Tyle, Founder/CEO of venture capital global firm Amplo. Interviewed by TiE Coimbatore’s Pradeep Yuvaraj, Tyle has some advice for entrepreneurs, Whether you spend time doing something small or doing something big, it actually takes the same time. If you’re going to spend your precious time on something, do it where your time has the greatest impact on the world.
About the TIE University Program
TiE University, an initiative of TIE Global, aims to foster entrepreneurship among college students. University startup teams gain access to learning resources, mentorship by successful entrepreneurs and opportunities to participate in Hackathons, Startup Bootcamps, and Pitch Competitions. These interactions and experiences help startups take their business from a campus idea into a viable business.
About TiE Atlanta
TiE Atlanta is a top five chapter of TiE Global, a nonprofit consisting of 61 chapters in 14 countries, that generates prosperity through development of entrepreneurs in all stages by creating community and beneficial relationships to support them. TiE Atlanta develops entrepreneurs and startups through mentoring, education, investment, and networking. Learn more at their website.