Cornell Startup Digiciept Wins Top Prize of $250,000 in Third Annual DFJ East Coast Venture Challenge
Digiciept Rises Above Competitors from Elite East Coast Universities
May 27, 2009—New York, NY— Digiciept, a web-based service providing users with a system to manage receipts and expenses as well as consumer product companies with market data, has been named the winner of the 3rd Annual Draper Fisher Jurvetson East Coast Venture Challenge (ECVC). The startup, founded by students Keith Cowing and Aaron Nathan from Cornell University, will receive a seed investment totaling $250,000 from two venture capital funds within the prominent DFJ network, DFJ and DFJ Gotham, and it will also be granted entry into the DFJ-Cisco Global Business Plan Competition.
The final round of this year’s ECVC took place on Wednesday, May 27 in New York City within Columbia University’s historic Low Memorial Library. Seven teams of finalists, representing their respective universities along the East Coast, qualified for the final round of the ECVC by earning a top 7 spot during an initial online voting round, which was open to the public and hosted by StudentBusinesses.com.
The final event spanned from morning until late afternoon and consisted of two rounds of presentations, which were used to narrow down the startup pool. The first round featured the 7 initial startups each presenting a 5-minute pitch followed by a 5-minute Q&A period, and the second round featured the 3 advancing teams additionally presenting an extended 10-minute presentation followed a 15-minute Q&A period. The Q&A was led by a panel of judges composed of 5 investment professionals, including the DFJ Gotham team consisting of Ross Goldstein, Danny Schultz, Thatcher Bell, and Mark Davis, as well as Dean Riskas from DFJ in Menlo Park. The final three teams were Digiciept, Catchafire, and FetchFIRE, representing Cornell University, Duke University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology, respectively.
The judges presented the top prize of a $250,000 seed investment to the founders of Digiciept, Keith Cowing and Aaron Nathan. In addition, Digiciept will be joined alongside Catchafire, which was the second place finisher in the competition, as well as Everest Scientific (Columbia University) and BizWiz (Johns Hopkins University), the top vote-getters in the initial online voting round, in the DFJ-Cisco Global Business Plan Competition taking place on June 30th, 2009.
DFJ’s ECVC began in 2007 as an effort to promote student involvement in entrepreneurial endeavors. Winning teams from previous years include VerTerra, an eco-friendly startup that produces organic dinnerware products made from fallen leaves, and Widetronix, which provides patent-pending technology to expand the lifetime of batteries with various medical and defense applications.
The event was organized and hosted by DFJ Gotham Ventures, a NY-based venture capital firm whose investments are focused in early-stage information technology (IT) companies primarily located in the Northeastern United States and Israel. The firm specializes in seed ($100K-$500K) and Series A ($1M-$3M) financing, and it is part of 23 independent funds comprising the DFJ network, a global partnership collectively representing the largest venture capital entity in the world. Sponsors who played an instrumental role in providing organizational, legal, and online support for the competition included the Columbia Alumni Association, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and StudentBusinesses.com.
For more information on the event guidelines and participants, visit the following website: