Join the fourth annual startup competition + conference
on April 13 + 14 in NYC to Create Tomorrow.


Register Now




StartupColumbia is a two-day celebration of innovation
and entrepreneurship. Day 1 is the culmination of the
$250,000 Columbia Venture Competition. Day 2 is the all-day
conference featuring innovators and entrepreneurs examining
future solutions to the world's most vexing problems.

Watch 2016 Recap

Conference Panels and Speakers

Deborah Jackson is an entrepreneur, early-stage investor and former investment banker. As the Founder and CEO of Plum Alley Investments, she is a fierce advocate for women building technology and female founders as an important way to change the world for the better. Learn more.

Nina Tandon SEAS’09, BUS’14 is a Co-Founder of EpiBone, a bone reconstruction company that allows patients to “grow their own bone”. Nina was a post-doctoral researcher in the Columbia Lab for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, where she also completed her PhD in 2009. Learn more.

Hayley Barna is a Venture Partner at First Round Capital based in New York. Prior to joining First Round she co-founded Birchbox, the leading beauty and grooming retailer seed funded by First Round in 2010. Learn more.

Matt Daniel is a senior executive in the health and wellness field whose strengths and experience are in business development, finance and operations. He is currently the CFO and head of business development for WayBetter, an NYC-based software company that's gamifying healthy habit formation. Learn more.

Nina Levinson is co-founder and CEO of Caeden, a wearable technology company based out of NYC that bridges technology and innovation with considered design. Caeden recently launched the new Sona Connected Bracelet, a jewelry-inspired, wrist-based wearable for mind and body health. Learn more.

Peter Kelemen is Arthur D. Storke Professor and Chair of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He studies the chemical and physical processes of reaction between fluids and rocks. Learn more.

Donna See '92MPH, '01BUS is Vice President of Tech Transfer at Allied Minds where she leads sourcing and identification of therapeutic opportunities for Allied-Bristol Life Sciences (ABLS). She most recently served as Director of Licensing as well as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Columbia Technology Ventures. Learn more.

Jacob Weisberg is Chairman of The Slate Group, whose roster includes Slate magazine and Panoply, a full-service podcast network. He is the creator and host of Trumpcast, a near-daily podcast about the Donald Trump phenomenon that kicked off in March 2016. Learn more.

Justin Hendrix is Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. Hendrix connects companies seeking to advance digital media technologies with New York City's economic and intellectual resources. NYU Media Lab is a public-private partnership encompassing the universities of NYC and many of the biggest corporate players in media today. Learn more.

Jeffrey Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics and leader in sustainable development. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders, and was called by the New York Times, "probably the most important economist in the world." Professor Sachs served as the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2002 to 2016. Learn more.

FRI. 1:00-2:30

Columbia Founder's Marketplace

Join us for lunch and shopping at the Columbia Founder's Marketplace, a great place to network during the conference. Columbia-founded startups will cater the conference and hold an innovative pop-up bazaar. Bring your appetites and wallets. See our listing of Columbia founders.

FRI. 2:40-3:30

Women in Entrepreneurship: Investment and Opportunity

Investors often chase the same companies, inflating valuations and producing questionable returns for later investors. One part of the market -- women-led and gender balanced teams -- is still under the radar, but the data shows that this segment outperforms others by producing higher returns with less capital. Indeed, companies that include both women and men in product creation and leadership are best positioned for survival. Hear from both sexes about the value that is created by tapping all brain power and diverse consumer interest.


  • Deborah Jackson: Co-Founder, Plum Alley Investments
  • Nina Tandon: Founder, EpiBone
  • Hayley Bay Barna: Founder, Birchbox

THURS. 7:30-08:30

Keynote: TBA

This year, we're extremely excited to be hosting a rockstar of entrepeneurship. We can hardly wait to announce the star guest we'll be sharing with you later this month.

Featured Panels

Facts, Alternative Facts, and Innovations in the Media in Response to the Post-Truth Era

An old curse said, “May you be born in interesting times.” Well, the world today is certainly interesting, if not outright confounding. When spinning the truth becomes more important than clearly articulating the facts, up becomes down and black becomes white. Regardless of political position, education level, or home state, we’re all losing our ability to distinguish fact from spin. This panel will discuss how some media are innovating in response.

Innovation in the Consumer Health Market

Comprised of the entrepreneurs building products that increase transparency, provide real-time insights, and leverage virtual access, this panel focuses on the application of consumer technology to improve health outcomes.

Climate Change: Fact, Fiction, Innovations and Solutions

One of the most polarizing arguments in today's society is the obstinate refusal to accept man-made climate change. Comprised of world-class climate scientists, technologists, and influencers, this panel first lays out the indisputable facts and then examines product and policy innovations that may just save the world.

We Love

Columbia Venture Competition:

Your Chance to Win a Piece of $250k

The CVC has five tracks or challenges. Each challenge will split $50K among the top three winners. Three of the challenges are open to all students and all recent alumni (within five years of degree) from across the worldwide Columbia community. The Undergraduate Challenge, sponsored by Columbia College, is open to all current Columbia and Barnard College undergrads. CVC judges will come from across Columbia’s worldwide alumni community and will represent diverse backgrounds and a wide-ranging set of expertise.

StartupColumbia Challenge

This challenge is all about customer development and demonstrating product-market fit. Cash grants will be awarded to those teams that best prepare and present compelling and empirical evidence of market acceptance for their value propositions. If you don’t have empirical evidence, this is not the Challenge for you. For second-round submissions and final presentations, documented proof of business model viability must be provided. This proof may come in the form of qualitative and quantitative market surveys, customer development interview summaries, or current customer, revenue, or unit shipment counts.

Eligibility: Open to all Columbia University students and recent alumni (five years or less from their most recent degree).

Technology Challenge, Sponsored by Columbia Engineering

Entries must include business models based on a solid foundation of applied, solution-focused, technology innovation. Submissions must focus on product development, innovative design, and “builder” technologies including data analytics, biomedical solutions, software, or hardware. Cross-disciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.

Eligibility: Open to all Columbia University students and recent alumni (five years or less from their most recent degree).

Global Technology Challenge, Sponsored by Columbia Engineering

With your minds set on Engineering for Humanity, entries must include technology or data-driven solutions to address global challenges. These challenges could represent problems—whether environmental, sustainability, health, disaster relief, or security-related. Cross-disciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.

Eligibility: Open to all Columbia University students and recent alumni (five years or less from their most recent degree).

Columbia Undergraduate Challenge, Sponsored by Columbia College

Prize grants will be awarded to the top teams with the most innovative and viable business model. Winning entries must document the incorporation of customer or user feedback into the design of their business model.

Eligibility: Open only to undergraduate teams from Columbia University and Barnard College. Undergraduates from other universities may enter as members of Columbia- or Barnard-teams but the roles of the founders must be provided and the length of time each founder has been working with the team must also be provided.

SIPA Dean's Public Policy Challenge Grant

The Public Policy Grant Program of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) invites students to form teams to propose student-designed projects and prototypes that use ICTs and/or data analytics to solve urban problems around the world. Solutions may be market-based, public/philanthropic supported, or a mix. The Program encourages the formation of teams that integrate students of public policy, computer science, engineering and other fields across Columbia University. All teams must include at least one SIPA student in a substantive role.

Eligibility: Eligibility: Rules, eligibility and deadlines for this challenge are separate from other challenges. For details, email