Yale's Statera Therapeutics Wins NYU-Yale Pitchoff

On July 11, Statera Therapeutics — a healthcare startup led by Yale students and recent grads — took the grand prize at the NYU-Yale Summer Accelerator Pitchoff, sharing their idea with a lively crowd in Manhattan. Statera’s victory brought the pitchoff’s trophy to New Haven for the second consecutive year.

The pitchoff, now in its sixth year, is an annual event jointly hosted by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (Tsai CITY). Bringing together participants in the two schools’ summer startup accelerators for a friendly competition, the event features five-minute pitches by three teams from each school. This year’s lineup featured teams working on a broad array of ideas and problems. The featured NYU teams included Bloc, which offers learning management software for upskilling programs; SeaStraws, which provides nationwide distributors and individual restaurants with sustainable products; and GigFinesse, which streamlines talent booking for musicians and venues. Yale was represented by three teams of its own:

  • Statera Therapeutics aims to modernize immunotherapy and vaccination with Spatiotemporally Tuned Particles to maximize drug delivery efficacy. (Sean Bickerton GSAS ’19/Medicine ‘21, Jennifer Fischer SOM ’19, Philip Kong GSAS ‘19, Owen Yang SOM ’19)

  • Typogram is a custom brand builder for entrepreneurs and small business owners. (Hua Shu, School of Art ’19)

  • PREPARED is a one-touch mobile alert system that allows schools’ emergency response to be instantaneous and decentralized, while streamlining the process of contacting authorities. (Michael Chime YC ’21, Dylan Gleicher YC ’21, Daniel James YC ‘19, Neal Soni YC ’22)

Students delivered their pitches in front of an audience of over 200 people, as well as a panel of judges with alumni from each school, including Yale College alumnae Molly Fowler (currently CEO of the Dorm Room Fund at First Round Capital) and Rebecca Liu (currently senior associate at Insight Partners). 

Ultimately, the panel selected Statera as the winner, praising the team’s innovative approach and huge potential for impact. Aimed at delivering better treatment for autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, Statera’s solution is an engineered nanoparticle that delivers therapeutic agents to the right place at the right time, maximizing effectiveness while reducing side effects and the risk of infection. As the team looks ahead, they’re focused on connecting with investors and diving into continued research and development  — but first, they’ll take a moment to celebrate their pitchoff victory.

Learn more about Statera and the 2019 Tsai CITY Summer Fellowship cohort here — and don’t miss the chance to hear all ten teams pitch live at Demo Day 2019 on July 25!

Laura Mitchell