Exciting Ideas at Cornell Shark Tank -- and the winner is...

Flora Pulse, an agricultural smart data startup founded and led by PhD student Michael Santiago won the #CUSharkTank, with a $1500 prize and the opportunity to pitch at the @SXSW Interact in March. Congrats to Michael and his team!

Through an interdisciplinary research, Flora Pulse has invented a device that can monitor and track the actual plant water content in real time, through the complementary mobile app. In comparison with the present methods of using soil neutron probe, pressure chamber, and remote sensing, Flora Pulse enables a more accurate, cost effective, and time effective way to monitor plant's condition and control irrigation schedule. This technology would be very useful for water sensitive crops and for water conservation. 

Coupled with a informative and well versed pitch, alongside with a mock-up prototype, Michael earned the opportunity to  pitch to a much larger audience.

Nevertheless, the other teams that pitched on Wednesday night weren't lacking in ideas. Here are a summary of the night's other pitches.

  • SALT (pitch by Weill Cornell PhD student Fon Powell) offers a sodium test strip that can be easily self administered by hypertension patients that can inform the users, as well as their physicians, of the patients' sodium level data and trends

  • NTi Technology (pitch by chemistry student Shane Heil) offers a light activated disinfectant that can continue to disinfect while staying on a surface, reducing infection risk due to contamination, as well as time and cost savings in reducing the frequency of disinfection

  • Arctyc Innovations (pitch by MEng student Willie Mendelson) offers a wine cooling device that allows rapid yet accurate cooling, which allows users to achieve optimal drinking experience in minutes

  • Right Price Management (pitch by Johnson School MBA students Rebecca Robinson and Derek Mayer) offers a pricing tool platform, which is widely available for hotels, to non-institution short-term property rental host (e.g. Airbnb users), enabling them to set the right price on their rentals

  • Produce Pay (pitch by Johnson School MBA student Pablo Borquez Schwarzbeck) offers a payment platform for farmers, distributors, and banks to ensure faster cash turnover and greater efficiency in fund utilization when harvested produce is en route to the end consumers

After the competition, I also got to talked with the competitors and fellow judges at the Statler Hotel Banfi Restaurant -- a much needed talking space for post-competition relaxation and debriefing. Many thanks to the sponsors and organizers of the event. I look forward to stay in touch and explore further opportunities to work with these bright students and their companies.


I will put the link to event pictures and videos here once the organizer makes them available.