• Satisfi, Inc. Wins WCA $10K Pitch Contest and Spot in BLUEPRINT Accelerator Network

  • NOVEMBER 19, 2014

  • Pitch Night Fuels Innovation and Fosters Growth of Burgeoning Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Westchester County

  • Satisfi, Inc., an online app and customer feedback tool, is the winner of the Westchester County Association’s Pitch Night contest, held Nov. 18 at the Reckson Metro Center in White Plains. Satisfi will receive a $10,000 cash grant, plus a coveted spot in the WCA’s BLUEPRINT Accelerator Network, through which it will receive one year of rent-free private office space in Westchester County, complimentary professional services, advertising in local media, and access to financing and mentoring in Westchester County. In addition, Courage Health, which delivers cognitive behavioral therapy services to treat depression via mobile applications, claimed the junior pitch contest prize of $2,500...

    Jeffrey Borenstein, The Small Business Oracle; Christina Bechhold, Empire Angels; Marissa Brett, WCA; Randall Newman and Rungson Samroengraja, Satisfi; Andrew Ackerman, DreamIt Ventures; John Ritacco, CMS Bank; Stanley Freimuth, Debt Resolve. Photo by Lynda Shenkman Curtis

    John Ritacco, president and chief executive officer, CMS Bank, and a sponsor of the pitch contest, said the panel of judges selected Satisfi, Inc., because of the company’s growth potential.

    “Satisfi presented such a unique concept, with a platform that has the ability to give customer feedback to companies of all types,” said Ritacco. “This is how Milennials do business, and how they communicate today. It’s an awesome concept, and one that is poised to scale and grow.” 

    Edward Lutz, president and chief executive officer, Greater Hudson Bank, and a sponsor of the contest, said he was impressed with all of the companies that presented their ideas. “Pitch nights like this generate excitement, and startups generate employment and economic activity,” said Lutz. “We’re pleased to be part of the innovation process in Westchester County.”

    The evening included presentations from eight startups—three finalists vying for the top prize, and five runners-up competing for a junior prize—presenting to a group of investors, venture capitalists, experts in crowdfunding, real estate and business leaders, and young professionals. This pitch contest follows the WCA’s highly successful inaugural pitch competition, held at the organization’s Health Tech ’14 conference last May.

    The panel of judges included
    Christina Bechhold, co-founder and managing director, Empire Angels, who also served as the evening's keynote speaker; Andrew Ackerman, managing director, DreamIt Ventures New York; Jeffrey Borenstein, consultant, The Small Business Oracle; John Cohn, managing director, Diamond Capital Advisors; Stanley Freimuth, chief executive officer, Debt Resolve; and John Ritacco, president, CMS Bank.

    “This pitch contest attracted some of the region’s most promising startups,” said Marissa Brett, president of the WCA. “We congratulate Satisfi and welcome them to the BLUEPRINT Accelerator Network, where they will receive the support they need to grow and thrive in Westchester. We also encourage all of tonight’s presenters, including the young student entrepreneurs, to take advantage of the resources our community has to offer. We have what businesses need to succeed in Westchester County.”

    All pitch competition participants submitted a written application and business plan prior to the event. The top submissions were selected for the live pitch session. In addition, young entrepreneurs from the Network for for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), also had the opportunity to pitch their ideas. NFTE’s mission is to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures. 

    The following companies presented their pitches:

    Grand Prize Contestants

    Balancing Life’s Issues, Inc.: Founded by Wendy Kaufman, the Ossining, New York-based firm is a national provider of custom work / life training programs. For more information, visit www.balancinglifesissues.com. 

    Cyrus Contracting Corp: Led by partner and majority owner Marialisa Zywotchenko, the Cortlandt Manor, New York-based construction firm provides general contracting and design services. For more information, visit www.cyruscontracting.com.

    Satisfi, Inc.: Co-founded by David Montoya and Neal Magnus, Satisfi is an online app which serves as a customer feedback and issue-resolution tool. Currently based in Montvale, New Jersey, the founders are seeking a home in Westchester County. For more information, visit www.satis.fi. 

    Junior Prize Contestants

    Courage Health: Founded by Ryan Villanueva, the White Plains, New York-based company delivers cognitive behavioral therapy services to treat depression via mobile applications. For more information, visit www.courageapp.com.

    Distinguished Designs: The Mt. Vernon, New York-based company, founded by Ronnell Fuller, crafts customizable handmade lapel pins. A website is under development. For more information contact jdinardi@westchester.org.

    InfraSonic Monitoring: Founded by Ohad BarSimanTov, Ph.D. in Vestal, New York, this tech firm provides portable, non-invasive cardiac output monitoring for health, wellness, and athletic monitoring. For more information, visit: www.infrasonicmonitoring.com.

    Kaau IdeaLabs LLC: Uthay Kumar founded this Peekskill, New York-based company, which aims to provide a platform that serves as the primary distribution channel for digital coupons. For more information, check out their website at www.smartebucks.com.

    TapX Trading: Co-founders Peter Quinn and Michael Abbruzzese have created a “freemium” financial app. Website under development, contact jdinardi@westchester.org for more information. 

    NFTE Contestants

    Olivia’s Nook: Olivia Edwards of Sleepy Hollow, New York, presented her idea for services for autistic children and their families.

    The Personal Touch: Lisandro Castro of Shrub Oak, New York, presented his idea for massage therapy services in the Greater New York Metro area.
    Pitch Night is part of the WCA’s “Year of Innovation” in Westchester, a series of exciting programs and events designed to celebrate the innovators, job creators, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who are moving Westchester forward. The series kicks off this week with events planned for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), a worldwide celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation that the WCA is bringing to Westchester, for the first time, and includes a Twitter Chat, Women in Tech Awards luncheon, and the WCA’s signature Leadership Dinner.

    The Year of Innovation showcases the innovation culture that has taken root in Westchester County—which has emerged as the health tech hub of the northeast—and features experts in big data, biotechnology, healthcare, real estate, scientific research, funding, and entrepreneurship, who will share their experiences and insights, enabling attendees to learn, network, and be inspired.

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