Pitch Competition




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Pitch Competition Finalists


  • Elyte Energy is a clean energy technology program that provides clean power for those who are constantly on the go. Affiliated with Delaware State University. Founder: Jalaal Hayes, Ph.D. 
  • Grid Discovery automates the site discovery phase of microgrid development, enabling unparalleled scale and efficiency. Affiliated with Stevens Institute of Technology. Founders: Philip Odonkor, Ph.D., Matthew Cristaldi
  • Moving Analytics is a telehealth provider of virtual cardiac rehabilitation programs. Affiliated with the Stanford University School of Medicine. Founder: Ade Adesanya.
  • Rubitection built a skin health and care management tool that improves the detection, risk assessment and care management of dermatological and vascular conditions. Affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University. Founder: Sanna Gaspard, Ph.D.
  • Sayenza Biosciences is developing the industry’s first fully automated platform for the processing of liposuction fat, the largest source of adult stem cells in the body. Affiliated with the University of California. Founder: Derek Banyard, M.D. 
  • Sonavi Labs has received FDA clearance for the Feelix technology and is pursuing breakthrough designation for their diagnostic software, creating the world’s first digital pneumonia diagnostic. Affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. Founder: Ellington West.

Read our news story.

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Empower Pitch Competition


Presenting startups will compete for $135,000 in cash prizes (including a $100,000 grand prize), as well as:

  • a bundle of in-kind services

  • 1:1 meetings with select venture capital firms

  • expert mentoring and pitch coaching


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Founders with startups seeking pre-seed, seed, or Series A financing in university/scholarship-based deep tech and social sciences sectors and with a path to entrepreneurial success and societal impact.

Startups who have or plan to commercialize university-developed IP/ideas as either for-profit or social impact enterprises.

Startups with a strong and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion are invited to apply.

Startups with a Black founder are encouraged to apply.


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Application process


  • Complete the online application by Monday, August 16 by midnight PDT

  • Applicants selected for the semi-final round will be notified by Monday, August 23

  • Semi-finalists will be invited to present to a review committee

  • Applicants selected to present at the pitch competition will be notified the week of August 30 and connected with pitch coaches

  • Pitch coaching will be scheduled through mid-September

  • Selected startups will present at the pitch competition, slated for Thursday, September 23 starting at 5pm EDT





To inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Don Seitz at donseitz@princeton.edu.



Empower is a Princeton University entrepreneurship conference hosted by Princeton Innovation and organized by the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council.



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