Foundry Invests $35,000 in Fordham Entrepreneurs

Fordham Foundry
A clever idea to develop an app moviegoers can use to find discounted tickets earned one Fordham student $15,000 to grow his venture when he was chosen as the first recipient of the Fordham Foundry’s Angel Fund, a newly established investment fund designed to support student and alumni entrepreneurs.

In March, more than 140 promising entrepreneurs competed for $20,000 in prizes in the Foundry’s Annual Pitch Challenge. It was the highest number of entrants since the competition began in 2017, with applicants representing all of Fordham’s nine schools and colleges.

Executive Director Albert Bartosic, BS ’84, said that the Angel Fund and Pitch Challenge are integral to The Foundry’s mission to support student entrepreneurs beyond the classroom.

“We believe that everyone is an entrepreneur,” he said, adding that the most successful are creative problem-solvers. “Understanding what the problem is, having a passion for solving that problem, and really wanting to dig in and do the hard work are what we’re there to help with”

Ethan Manning, FCLC ’21, will use his award from the Fordham Angel Fund to grow the movie app “Cinesave” and for legal services, licensing, and software development. Run by a board of venture capitalists and angel investors, the fund makes investments of up to $25,000 for Fordham student and alumni business founders. As Manning achieves certain milestones, he could potentially earn an additional $10,000 for his new business.

Angel Fund Fellows and business analysts Qi Li, BS ’21, and Jennifer PoChue, GSS ’22, consulted with Manning to build his pitch and company, and he appreciated their guidance.

“The idea that these are real people within the industry that believe in my vision was very rewarding for me,” he said. “It motivated me to work harder and take it from a dream idea to building it into reality.”

Over three days of Zoom conferences, a panel of judges, including Fordham alumni, evaluated three-minute pitches from 58 teams in the fifth annual Pitch Challenge. Ravelle Worthington, FCRH ’09, won the grand prize of $8,000 for her presentation on the suite of services her digital wellness platform, Mommy Brain, provides for new moms.

“This competition was a full-circle moment for me, being a Fordham graduate and now winning first place in the Foundry’s Pitch Challenge. I felt a lot of pride,” Worthington said. She added that award funds will be used to grow Mommy Brain as the company works to “democratize maternal healthcare, making mental and physical wellness accessible and affordable for moms and birthing people.”

The other Pitch Challenge winners are all Gabelli School students and alumni: Ingrid He, MBA ’22, won second place for her idea for a symptom-tracking app for chronic medical conditions; Maura Sheedy, BS ’20, took third for her modern sewing machine concept; and Kevin Stoltenborg, BS ’21, took fourth place for his idea for a job-training resource for students.

Albert Bartosic wearing green glasses and smiling
Albert Bartosic, BS ’84
Executive Director, Fordham Foundry