On the evening of September 13, students, friends, and faculty involved in Cornell’s entrepreneurial ecosystem gathered at eHub in Kennedy Hall for Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s Fall 2017 Kickoff event. Student startups and entrepreneurship programs  including; eLab, Blackstone Launchpad, Lifechanging Labs, Entrepreneurship at Cornell, the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, and more had tables with displays and information about their programs.

New innovators and familiar faces enjoyed food and refreshments while hearing remarks from Zach Shulman, Director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell, and Ken Rother, Managing Director of eLab and Rev including its Hardware Accelerator program. Then five student startups stood up to pitch for three minutes each. The top prize? One thousand dollars and automatic admission to eLab’s 2017-18 cohort.

Pitches were heard from Petal, Religio, Mintshares, Combplex, and PairCon. Second prize, $500, went to Religio for their enterprise software platform that helps churches to engage with members. First prize went to Combplex, an IoT product for monitoring beehive health and giving beekeepers critical information to avoid colony collapse disorder. Combplex’s product prototype was developed this summer at Rev’s Hardware Accelerator program.

Nathan Oakes of Combplex pitches at E@C Kickoff

Nathan Oakes of Combplex pitches at E@C Kickoff

The founders of Combplex, Hailey Scofield and Nathan Oakes, are both Ph.D. students at Cornell University. Scofield has worked with bees and other insects for almost a decade. She studies development, temperature and honey bee behavior at Cornell, knowledge she applies to her startup. Oakes trained as an electrical engineer and worked for several bio-tech startups before meeting Scofield at Cornell, where he is getting a degree in computational biology.

“I think that what’s actually unique about our product is that it’s really pretty simple. It’s not replacing beekeepers, it’s augmenting information that they [have],” said Hailey Scofield, co-founder of Combplex. “We think of ourselves as a bee science company that is using hardware to solve problems and get more data for bee health research.”

The deadline for eLab applications is September 25. Who will be the teams joining Combplex in the 2017 cohort? Stay tuned for the announcement – and if you think your startup should be on the list, apply today!

Portions of this post originally appeared on the Rev: Ithaca Startup Works blog, written by Glenn Epps.