By Tiffany Pang
More than 200 students, alumni, and entrepreneurs pooled into the Yale Law School Levinson Auditorium on September 21 for the second annual Yale Entrepreneurs Conference to learn about the latest trends, news, and ventures from Yale entrepreneurs and watch five student ventures compete for the first-ever Lippman Prize awards.
Following opening remarks from Bruce Alexander, Yale’s Vice President for New Haven & State Affairs & Campus Development, James Boyle, Director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, introduced three panels on commercializing technology, data economy, and Internet everywhere.
“It was interesting to get the researcher and entrepreneur – the new entrepreneurs and the veteran entrepreneurs – and venture capitalists sitting next to each other, talking about their perspectives,” Claire Henly (YC ’12), a panelist on commercializing technology who participated in the YEI summer fellowship in 2012, said in an interview.
One of the highlights of the conference was the Lippman Pitch Prize Competition. Five pre-selected finalists gave five-minute pitches of their ventures for a chance to win one of two prizes: the $25,000 Lippman Prize award and the $5,000 people’s choice award. These student founders pitched their hearts out to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs:
- Arjun Ganesan (SOM ’12) for medical diagnostics company, Ancera (YEI ’11)
- Paul Christensen (SOM ’13) for 3D sketching application, Mental Canvas (YEI ’12)
- Claire Henly for electrochemical desalination cell company, RedOx (YEI ’12)
- Jessica Cole (YC ’12) for local event calendar app, Roammeo (YEI ’11)
- Max Uhlenhuth (YC ’12) for forest inventory surveyor, SilviaTerra (YEI ’10)
The final panel included Bob Adelson (’82, ’85 JD), Sean Glass (YC ’02), Miles Lasater (YC ’01), and Harley Lippman. More information about the finalists can be found here.
"The Yale Entrepreneurs Conference was an exciting opportunity to learn from alumni and students,” Hilary Barr (YC ’12), who participated in the YEI summer fellowship in 2012, said of the conference. “The highlight of the conference for me was hearing pitches from past YEI fellows. It was inspirational to see how much recent graduates have achieved.
As the attendees disbanded for break, they cast their votes for their favorite student ventures and mingled with student entrepreneurs over lunch. After the judges’ deliberations and counting the attendees’ votes, Ancera and Mental Canvas both walked away with awards. Ancera was awarded the $25,000 Lippman Prize. Mental Canvas was voted for the people’s choice award, winning $5,000.
After lunch, keynote speaker Kevin Ryan ’85 of Gilt Groupe gave a stirring speech on his experience as an entrepreneur and the trials and tribulations during his journey.
Student entrepreneurs found Ryan’s talk inspiring and honest. “I loved the insights from Kevin Ryan,” said Daniel Wolchonok (SOM ’13), a participant of the 2012 YEI summer fellowship. “He talked about how Business Insider didn't do any advertising. Make sure the quality of your content is so great that it speaks for itself.”
Last year marked the first Yale Entrepreneurs Conference with 125 attendees at the Yale West Campus.Read More