“I am an entrepreneur because I saw a problem,” said Yale SOM student Xiaoteng Huang as he opened his portion of Tsai CITY’s Accelerator Pitch Off last week. He was introducing his venture, PinKU Japanese Street Food, but that sentence could have described many of his fellow cohort members. This fall’s Accelerator cohort brought together 14 student teams that collectively represented seven schools across Yale, from the School of Drama to the School of Medicine. After spending the semester working on their ventures and attending virtual workshops, mentoring sessions, and more, the teams gathered on November 18 to share their ideas with a live audience on Zoom.
While these teams are building ventures and projects in a wide range of sectors, they each rooted their pitches in the problems that motivated them and the gaps in current offerings they’re hoping to fill. Unsurprisingly, many of the evening’s pitches touched on the major changes that 2020 had brought and how they had adapted in response. The founders behind food ventures, for example, shared how they had built out pickup and ordering options. Several teams discussed an increased need for the tools they’re developing in critical areas like K-12 education and mental health, while others proposed new models for supporting artists and small businesses. “You’ve done amazing work through this accelerator program,” Zoe Hunter, Tsai CITY’s Director of Student Programming, told the teams as the event wrapped up — a sentiment that, if the supportive poll responses and chat messages from the audience throughout the evening were any indication, was widely shared.
Want to meet our teams and learn how to connect? Watch the Pitch Off recording above.