YU Innovation Lab and Shevet Glaubach Center Announce Winner of Annual Innovation Challenge

Winning Pitch Brings Home $1,000 Grand Prize – Company Concept Aims to Improve Medication Management for Mental Health Patients Through AI 

Yeshiva University’s Innovation Lab and Shevet Glaubach Center for Career Strategy and Professional Development recently hosted the final round of their annual Innovation Challenge, where YU students showcased a diverse array of entrepreneurial concepts. Six student teams competed in the challenge, each presenting unique start-up concepts addressing various needs across industries including healthcare, fashion, urban congestion, and human capital. The goal of the program is to help students build entrepreneurial skills that can help them succeed in business and beyond. 

Susan Bauer, Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of The Shevet Glaubach Center shared “participating in a pitch competition is a valuable learning opportunity on many levels. Not only are the students able to receive feedback to further refine their ideas, but the experience can also help them with building confidence and developing communication skills, which are valuable in many aspects of life.” 

Winning group AI-ccuracy receives $1,000 grand prize for 2023 Innovation Challenge – L-R Lynn Dahan, Naomi Fried, Raphi Singer

Challenge participants devised new business concepts and were then assessed on six criteria: market potential, innovation, feasibility, execution plan, presentation, and ethical impact. In the lead-up to the grand pitch competition, teams received guidance through a series of workshops led by successful entrepreneurs and executives and learned the process of turning their business concepts into pitch-ready ideas. 

The winning team, AI-ccuracy, received a grand prize of $1,000 to fund their company concept aimed at improving medication management for mental health patients. The team’s goal is to improve success rates of first-round medication treatment plans for mental health patients, citing data that while 70% of people with depression respond to antidepressants, two-thirds do not respond to the first antidepressant prescribed. 

To address this discrepancy, team AI-ccuracy proposed the creation of an AI assistant tool to support healthcare providers identify appropriate medications and treatment plans for patients with a higher probability of success. The AI tool would analyze patient medical history, pharmacogenetics, physiology, and environmental factors. This information will be fed into a database engine which will render suggested medication options to help pinpoint the best-suited treatment plan. 

AI-ccuracy’s three-member squad of Lynn Dahan, Naomi Fried, and Raphi Singer initially met through a YU Tamid event and have built a strong chemistry through their various areas of study which include bio tech, strategy & entrepreneurship, and marketing. Lynn Dahan whose background is in marketing noted, “working together on this Innovation Challenge has been incredibly meaningful and rewarding. The diversity of expertise of this team has fostered a special creative dynamic as we look up to each other for our different set of skills that we collectively bring to the table.” 

“The goal of AI-ccuracy is to enable healthcare providers to offer more informed and personalized treatment plans for mental health patients. Currently, similar solutions of suggesting specific drugs based on biomarkers, are only offered by pharma companies who maintain their own drug pipelines,” said Naomi Fried. “Our approach on the other hand is very much patient centered, where our engine will present practitioners and patients a more complete spectrum of tailored medication options based on the entire available market.” 

The team is excited to advance this project from the concept phase and is currently coordinating with Dr. Blekher, Director of YU Innovation Lab as well as outside experts to best strategize next steps. Raphi Singer reflected “The Innovation Challenge provided our team with excellent foundational resources to help refine our ideation phase, whether that be through the mentorship pairing program, seminars, and networking events, and we are looking forward to continuing to utilize all that the Innovation Lab has to offer as we pursue the next steps in this journey. 

Student presents lawn care solution pitch to judges

The runner up pitches were VIOLET – a fashion app that allows users to create custom designs for clothes using AI technology, and Park Share – a peer-to-peer parking space rental app aimed at alleviating urban congestion.  

Dr. Maria Blekher, Founding Director of YU Innovation Lab reflected “the groups in this year’s competition came up with impressive, practical, and relevant startup ideas that have the potential to make a broad impact. I couldn’t be prouder that the Innovation Challenge has become the go-to destination for students from all majors, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, demonstrating that entrepreneurship is for EVERYONE who has the drive and ambition to make their mark.”