@NYCEDC Announces Winners of “NYC Next Idea” Global Business Plan Competition

Winning Teams Plan to Develop a Vending Machine for Taxicabs, and a Mobile App for Online Clothes Shopping.

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the winning teams of entrepreneurs for NYC Next Idea, the third annual global business plan competition that encourages innovative business ventures to launch and operate in New York City. Two winning teams, Stylsize and TaxiTreats, were selected from a highly competitive and diverse pool of applicants, with more than 270 business ideas submitted from 62 countries. TaxiTreats is developing a vending machine to be used in taxicabs, and Stylsize is developing an app for online clothes shoppers to visualize how the clothing fits.

“With the number of submissions growing each year, NYC Next Idea continues to generate tremendous interest from cutting-edge innovators, encouraging them to start their businesses right here in New York City,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “I’d like to congratulate all of the finalists for their creative business plans, and thank them for the role they will play in making New York City a global center of innovation for the future.”

“With a larger and more diverse set of students participating each year, we at Columbia Engineering welcome the broadening and expansion of the great business plans that the NYC Next Idea competition brings to New York City,” said Fredrik Palm, Associate Dean, Faculty, Academic & Diversity Affairs, at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Columbia’s entire entrepreneurship community, which includes students, alumni, start-up developers, and venture capitalists, is looking forward to the culmination of this catalytic competition that draws intellectual capital from all over the world to our wonderful city.”

The 2011-2012 Competition featured two separate tracks: one for international teams (International Track) and, for the first time, another track for teams with one NYC-based full-time student (NYC Connect Track). The competition was sponsored by NYCEDC, in partnership with Columbia University’s School of Engineering. After an evaluation process narrowed the field of 270 initial applicants down to six finalists, today the International Track prize was awarded to Stylsize, from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. Stylsize is developing a mobile and web app with a convenient solution for out-of-store and online apparel purchases. The service will enable shoppers to visualize how a garment of clothing fits and flatters their body without the frustrating guesswork associated with today’s online shopping.

This year’s NYC Connect Track prize was awarded to TaxiTreats, which included members from NYU’s Stern School of Business and Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina. TaxiTreats is developing a vending machine for taxicabs which aims to improve the passenger experience and increase the profitability of owning a NYC taxi medallion.

The winning teams will each receive $17,500 in cash prizes in order to help them launch their innovative business plans in New York City. Each team will also receive six months of free office space at a still to be determined New York City location.

As part of the NYC Next Idea program, the members of the six finalist teams spent the last week visiting New York City and attending informational panels from corporate and immigration lawyers as well as Angel Investor, David Rose. During their week in New York City, the finalists also toured NASDAQ, NYC incubator General Assembly, and visited with NYC startup ShopKeep.com.

The six finalist plans were:

International Track▪ Prevision Camera from University of Economics in Prague ▪ Company is developing an intelligent and stand-alone camera embedded with analytical software. The fully automated software is able to interpret mood, number, gender, age, and facial expressions to provide real-time marketing analytics when a person is looking at an advertisement. Team members: Tomas Ivan, Simona Belesova, Adam Abelovsky, and Ivo Kralicek ▪ CityShare from Technische Universität München ▪ CityShare is designing a mobile application where people can put their seldom used goods up for rent and people in need for those goods can rent them cheaply. Team members: Johannes Lechner, Diana Schneider, and Kilian Moser ▪ Stylsize from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada ▪ Stylsize is a mobile and web app with a convenient solution for out-of-store apparel purchases. It will enable shoppers to visualize how a garment of clothing fits and flatters their body without the frustrating guesswork associated with today’s online shopping. Team members: Dan McCann, and Amy Bergenwall   
NYC Connect Track

▪ AnaLyse from NYU and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden ▪ AnaLyse plans to provide a tool that will improve animal tissue sampling.  Team members: Margarita Shinder, and Aga Sowinska ▪ TaxiTreats from NYU’s Stern School of Business and Universidad de Buenos Aires ▪ TaxiTreats provides and manages vending machines for taxicabs. TaxiTreats aims to improve the passenger experience and increase the profitability of owning a NYC taxi medallion. Team members: Brian Shimmerlik, and Tomas Grosskopf ▪ IDEA NYC from the Fashion Institute of Technology, the University of Warwick, and University of Hertfordshire in the UK ▪ IDEA NYC is developing a non-profit fashion label, which produces and markets products imagined by NYC kids. All proceeds will fund free workshops for children aimed at nurturing creative thinking, innovation, leadership and team building through design education and art. Team members: Chastity Farrell, Miroslava Rybanska, and Maria Sulikova
The NYC Next Idea competition raises the visibility of New York City as an international center for innovation and entrepreneurship while showcasing talent from some of the top business and engineering schools from around the world. Last year, NYC Next Idea featured two tracks, one for graduate students and one for undergraduate students. The 2011 graduate track winner VerifEyed, from Czech Technical University in Prague, provides a software product that, in the age of Adobe Photoshop, is capable of verifying whether or not a digital image has been modified, reliably and in a fraction of a second. The product has uses for insurance companies, banks, online auction sites, and even online dating sites to detect fraud through digital photographs.

The 2011 undergraduate track winner ReFleX, from University of British Columbia in Vancouver, developed a flexible and affordable multi-patient wireless heart monitoring system that can be implemented in clinics or hospitals of any size. Created by a team of four engineers, the remote wireless system monitors patients’ heartbeat and temperature and can provide real-time updates to healthcare professionals, increasing the efficiency of medical operations while enhancing the quality of patient care.

The NYC Next Idea competition is part of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship within a variety of sectors. With a network of nine incubators around the City, the Administration is providing low-cost office space, as well as training and networking opportunities, to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses. In addition, in 2010, the City launched the New York City Entrepreneurial Fund (NYCEF), the first City-sponsored seed and early-stage investment fund located outside of Silicon Valley.

The NYC Next Idea competition is also one of several initiatives launched to attract international businesses to New York City. World to NYC is another initiative which seeks to promote trade and investment between New York City and the global economy. Launched in December of 2010, World to NYC has already engaged over 100 international companies on expansion into New York City.

About NYCEDCNew York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.


About Columbia Engineering

Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, founded in 1864, offers programs in nine departments to both undergraduate and graduate students. With facilities specifically designed and equipped to meet the laboratory and research needs of faculty and students, Columbia Engineering is home to NSF-NIH funded centers in genomic science, molecular nanostructures, materials science, and energy, as well as one of the world’s leading programs in financial engineering. These interdisciplinary centers are leading the way in their respective fields while individual groups of engineers and scientists collaborate to solve some of modern society’s more difficult challenges. 


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