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Entrepreneurship Across Yale: 2015 Prize Recipients

On April 17 and 18, finalists from leading entrepreneurial contests across Yale presented their pitches before top-tier judges.

The competitions included the $25,000 Sabin Prize, presented by the Yale Center for Business and the Environment; the $25,000 Thorne Prize, presented by InnovateHealth Yale; the $13,000 Yale Venture Challenge, presented by the Yale Entrepreneurial Society; and Tuna Tank, an interactive class on startup pitches with an audience-decided, $1,000 prize presented by Yale SOM's Program on Entrepreneurship. Learn more about the winning teams and the prizes below.


Thorne Prize

The Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health is a $25,000 cash prize awarded to the best student-led venture focused on social innovation in health. Presented by InnovateHealth Yale.

2015 Prize Recipient

StoryTime: An edTech startup to scale early literacy for low-income families via text message. Team members: Phil Esterman YC ’17 (computer science); Henok Addis YC ’17 (electrical engineering and computer science); and Jillian Kravatz YC ’17 (English).

[Left to right] The StoryTime team: Yale College students Henok Addis, Jillian Kravatz, Phil Esterman

StoryTime captured our imagination with the broadness of their vision, the scope of their innovation and their focus on New Haven.

Martin Klein, founder and director of InnovateHealth Yale (IHY), a program at the Yale School of Public Health 

Sabin Prize

The Sabin Prize supports student and faculty efforts to start a sustainable for-profit business through cash prizes totaling $25,000. The competition provides feedback from professional judges, extensive mentoring from faculty, and opportunities for participants to meet and pitch their ideas to venture capitalists and industry leaders. The prize is presented by the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale.

2015 Prize Recipient

Poda Foods: Poda Foods will sell food-grade cricket protein to food manufacturers for use in cricket-based food products. The company will offer 100% organic, gluten-free cricket protein for wholesale to corporate manufacturers. Poda will raise and process crickets in facilities in Portland, Oregon. Team members: Yesenia Gallardo (FES ’15) and Kenny Cloft (FES ’15).

[Left to right] Stuart DeCew of Yale CBEY, Yesenia Gallardo (FES ’15) and
Kenny Cloft (FES ’15) of Poda Foods, and Andrew Sabin 

The four teams—Grovio, homE, Poda Foods, and Tuckerman & Co—spent the afternoon pitching for the Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize. The Sabin Prize is one of the many ways that Yale recognizes and supports its mission of encouraging socially responsible entrepreneurship.  

Nicole Clark, Yale Entrepreneur Magazine

Yale Venture Challenge Prize

The Yale Venture Challenge encourages entrepreneurship in the Yale community and supports the growth of startups at Yale. The prize is presented by the Yale Entrepreneurial Society.

2015 Prize Recipient

General Semantics: General Semantics has developed a software package to visualize data from internet-connected devices. They were also one of two recent winners of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Internet of Things Prize. Team members: Kojiro Murase (YC ’15) and Alex Henry (SOM ’15). 

Tuna Tank

Tuna Tank is a fun and celebratory take on Shark Tank hosted by Kyle Jensen, an entrepreneur and the Shanna and Eric Bass Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at Yale SOM. Following a short interactive class on startup pitches and improv, a pitch contest judged by the audience awards the winner with a $1,000 prize.

2015 Prize Recipient

A crowdsourced matchmaking app that will launch at Yale led by Will Xu YC ’17 and Devansh Tandon YC ’17.