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Innovation & Job News

InSITE pitch event showcases 6 startups, crowns one winner

The InSITE DC Fellows held their semi-annual startup pitch event, InSITE CONNECT DC, at the new WeWork in Shaw on Thursday. Six D.C. startups pitched to a panel of four VCs, including Alex Pessala of Middleland Capital, Andrew Winslow of Grotech Ventures, Dan Moss of Updata Partners and Rich Nespola of Brand New Matter.

This year, Linked Senior, a platform to engage seniors in assisted living environments, won the day.

The event was the culmination of of a two-year program that pairs top MBA and law students with early-stage tech startups in need of support. D.C.'s first class of InSITE fellows, all based at Georgetown University, have been working with local startups to help them scale.

"The fellows are the best and brightest in each city," InSITE board member Rich Nespola explained. "The program brings the talent from universities and quality companies in a respective city together."

InSITE, founded in New York in 1999 by Paul Tumpowsky, expanded its two-year fellowship program from New York to D.C and Boston in 2012 and Stanford in 2013. According to Nespola, the nonprofit will be launching a pilot fellowship program in the Midwest, possibly in the St. Louis area, next year.

Roughly 15 InSITE fellows at Georgetown joined seven early-stage tech companies in D.C. this academic year. Both fellows and companies must apply and be accepted into the program. Mauhan Zonoozy, outgoing president of D.C.'s InSITE chapter, worked with Cont3nt this year (the company, an online market for photo and video journalists, was unable to pitch at the event ) and worked with dating app Hinge last year. "We helped Hinge with their international growth expansion plan," Zonoozy said.

Also participating in Thursday's pitchfest: NAYTEV, a social media platform for digital strategists; SceneSquid, a cloud-based platform that populates online media calendars for PR personnel; Cared-For, a very early stage company puzzling out retirement planning and long-term care insurance for financial planners; CareLulu, an online platform to help parents choose the best daycare for their children; and Diviner Therapeutics, an early stage startup working on repurposing shelved pharmaceutical compounds.

This article has been updated to better reflect Mauhan Zonoozy's role with Hinge. 

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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