2022 Columbia Venture Competition Winners – StartupColumbia Challenge

Every Spring, the Columbia Venture Competition gives out $350,000 dollars in cash prizes to the next generation of Columbia entrepreneurs.

Alumni judges from Brooklyn to Bordeaux to Beijing evaluate and advise competitors until three winners are chosen for each challenge track, which this year includes: the BlocPower Columbia Climate Challenge; Columbia-CareOne Healthcare All-Stars Challenge; Brown Institute Innovation Challenge in Journalism, Media, and Technology; the StartupColumbia Challenge; the SIPA Dean’s Public Policy Challenge Grant; the Technology Challenge; and the Undergraduate Challenge. 

Congratulations to the winners of the Columbia Venture Competition – StartupColumbia Challenge, sponsored by Columbia Entrepreneurship!


First Place, $20,000 prize, tied


Sortile is changing the landscape of textile recycling by developing AI-driven and data analytics solution for textile waste.

Founders: Agustina Mir ’21SIPA, Constanza Gomez ’22SIPA


First Place, $20,000 prize, tied

Sharper Sense

Sharper Sense is wearable neurotechnology that improves sensory acuity by enhancing the brain’s ability to clearly process sensory information.

Founder: Charles Rodenkirch PhD, ’19SEAS


Third Place, $10,000 prize

Brainwek Education

Brainwek Education is an Edtech and Education Consulting social enterprise that is building innovative solutions to help African schools, companies and organizations to run full-fledged virtual learning, training and certification programs during this pandemic and beyond.

Founder: John Kotey ’17SEAS



The StartupColumbia Challenge is the largest of the six challenges. Traditional metrics will drive the judges’ decisions. They will be looking for the talent on the team, the size of the opportunity, the impact of the innovations, and the ability of the team to execute. In other words, investment worthiness will be weighted heavily in the scoring. Judges will be looking for empirical evidence that the product actually works, is accepted by the market, and is properly priced and positioned.

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