The New York Angels Announce the First New York City OPEL Award Winner at the New York Tech Meetup

Recognizing Outstanding Professionals For Their Entrepreneurial Leadership

Aug 30, 2011, 19:22 ET from New York Angels

NEW YORK, Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The first OPEL Award is a tribute to the NYU Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Leadership Team, a group of extraordinarily hard working administrators and faculty who have consistently given their time, talent, intellectual expertise and good warm counsel to over 8,000 aspiring NYU students, including undergraduate, graduate and alumni entrepreneurs while building an expansive NYU network of dedicated mentors.

Supporting entrepreneurs and teaching entrepreneurial skills necessary to start new businesses has been central to the Center. The competition was first started in 1983 and ran as a one-day event with five competing teams. In 1999 with the growing interest in entrepreneurship, the competition expanded to an eight month program with workshops, mentoring, networking and expert advice. Over the last 11 years, 1200 teams entered the competition with 37 winners. In total more than $1.5M has been awarded.

The first annual 2011 OPEL Award recognizes the leadership and altruistic giving of the New York startup community and will be presented by Brian S. Cohen, Vice Chairman, New York Angels, at the September 6, 2011 New York Tech Meetup, to be held at the NYU Skirball Center For The Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, NY, NY, commencing at 7:00 p.m.

"I am so honored on behalf of all my seventy-five colleagues at the New York Angels, and the rest of the wonderful NYC startup community, to be presenting this award to Dr. Jeffrey Carr and his team," said Brian Cohen. "This first OPEL Award actually glows in their presence."

"The word OPEL means 'jewel,' and according to mythology, the gemstone enhances one's innate characteristics, leading to personal creativity and true spontaneous action which best describes the talented faculty at NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation," Cohen continued.

The 2011 OPEL Award is befittingly given to the Venture Competition Team at New York University Stern School of Business that manages one of the country's largest competitions. Dr. Jeffrey A. Carr, Clinical Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship and Executive Director of the Berkley Center heads the talented group that includes, Professor Cynthia Franklin, Senior Associate Director, Loretta Poole, Associate Director, Professor Jill R. Kickul, Director of Social Entrepreneurship, and Patricia Miller-Edwards, Administrative Aide.

In the words of Professor Carr: "We have a very simple mission at the Berkley Center: to help our students and alumni start their ventures.  Whatever their interests may be, from technology to restaurants and everything in between, we are here to help.  The competitions are a wonderful format that provides a disciplined process to help entrepreneurs think through the myriad of challenges they will face.  We offer a rapidly expanding set of resources -- a deep and growing mentor network, functional and industry based workshops and seminars, legal and accounting help desks, and of course, access to our wonderful staff and faculty who are always willing to share their expertise."

These inspirational NYU "super" mentors helped bring to fruition many of the visions, dreams and success stories of both the commercial and social entrepreneurial community, such as:

  •, a location-based platform that makes it easy for friends to coordinate and find out what's going on today, tomorrow and throughout the week at millions of venues worldwide, and was the first undergraduate team in history to win an award from the NYU Stern Business Plan Competition;
  • comiXology, the pioneering and world's leading technology company for comic book digital creation and distribution;
  • Pinterest (formerly Tote), a site where you can create collections of things you "love and follow" for people with impeccable taste;
  • Socialbomb, a company who is creating unique "Social TV" user experiences;
  • Madecasse, the only chocolate produced bean-to-bar on the island of Madagascar. Named one of the "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World" by Fast Company;
  • CourseHorse, an aggregator of classes, from yoga to languages, in the New York City area;
  • Butter Beans, Inc., providing healthy meals, as well as education about food and nutrition, to school-aged children and faculty;
  • Profits for People Profits, aims to create an opportunity for the rural poor to participate in the growing Indian economy, by creating community-owned and operated enterprises; and
  • GKIDS, Inc. (formerly NYCIFF), bringing cutting edge independent and international films that the New York International Children's Film Festival champions to a national audience through theatrical distribution, home entertainment, broadband/mobile, consumer product licensing and TV/VOD programming.

These companies are just a few of the many winners that have been showcased at the NYU Berkley Center Venture Competitions over the years.  To view past winners please connect to:

"It's simple, comiXology would not exist without the NYU Berkley Center.  They connected us to invaluable advisors that have helped comiXology from the ground-up in all facets of our business," said David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology, and 2008 competition winner.

"The coaching and mentoring was unbelievable…the passion and conviction evident in their efforts was inspiring. We owe a great deal of thanks to all our mentors…" - CourseHorse, 2011 competition winner.

"Winning the competition inspired us to quite our jobs, raise capital and build the team that would transform our business plan into one of the 'top 100 Websites of 2010', according to PC Magazine," said Chris Mirabile and Gianni Martire, Co-Founders of, 2008 competition winner.

"The faculty at NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation gave us the tenacity to go into the world, take risks and get things done," said Scott Varland, CEO of Socialbomb, 2007 competition winner.

About the New York Angels

(Logo: )

The New York Angels is a member led organization that is committed to finding, funding and mentoring great young companies from pitch through a successful exit. The New York Angels are comprised of over seventy members. Our members are entrepreneurs, CEO's, venture capitalists and business leaders who have founded, funded and build world-class companies. They come from a wide array of industry expertise and together create an extensive network of entrepreneurial support. They mentor and coach the entrepreneurs' in whom they invest, serve on their boards, provide contacts and assist with team building, strategic planning and fundraising.

The mission of the New York Angels is to foster an engaged and smart New York City angel investment environment in an effort to enhance the opportunities for entrepreneurs to be financed and succeed through exit. They lead deals ranging from $100,000 to $1M. They leverage a broad syndicate of angel groups and venture capital firms to do deals up to $2M. The New York Angels have been the leading seed investment organization in NYC for almost a decade, having invested over $40M in more than 70 venture companies.

SOURCE New York Angels