Conferences & Competitions

2015  Annual Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network Startup Competition

On Friday, May 29, 2015, at the Friend Center, members of the Princeton University community pitched their startup and business ideas to investors and a wider audience, first at a startup showcase fair, and then in three finalists’ presentations to judges. Prizes worth thousands, in cash and services, were announced: the LivePlan Grand Prize Winner and the FitzRandolph Gateway People’s Choice Prize Winner. More than 40 startups, from a wide variety of sectors, competed; hundreds of Princetonians attended. The keynote took the form of a fireside chat with Andrew Geant ’05, CEO and co-founder of WyzAnt, on the theme of “A Startup Odyssey: Bootstrapping to $100 M revenues.”

2014  Annual PrincetonEN Conference

Princeton Entrepreneurs's Network; Eric Sharret; Mayra Ceja; Brian O'Kelley

2014 PrincetonEN Competition-Mayra Ceja (PEN President), Eric Sharret (Chair), Brian O’Kelly (CEO & Co-Founder of App Nexus)

After a few years in quiet transition, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network returned to campus with new leadership for our 18th Annual PrincetonEN Conference & Startup Competition. Highlights:

  • After 10 years at the helm as PEN President, Sabrina Parsons stepped down as PEN President, continuing to serve PEN as Chair of the Board of Advisors.
  • New PEN PresidentMayra Ceja with Eric Sharret (Chair) and many volunteer tigers, demonstrated a new level of expectation for future PEN events.
  • NO MORE BUSINESS PLANS. Our competition got rid of the tiresome and time-consuming business plan format, substituting the streamlined 1-PAGE Pitch Format for startups (check them out here).
  • $31k in Cash/Prizes. Thanks to incredible sponsors, these packages continue to expand.
  • 40 Princeton Startups. From tech to retail, from ice-cream to cannabis, Princeton startups rocked the house.
  • 200+ Attendees. Princeton alumni, students, and investors.
  • Keynote: Brian O’Kelley ’99, CEO and Co-Founder of App Nexus.


2012 PrincetonEN Conference and Business Plan CompetitionIMG_2440

Ben Lerer, CEO of and Partner at Lerer Ventures was the keynote speaker for this PrincetonEN Annual Conference and Competition. We invited anyone to learn how Ben started and here his insight about how and why Venture Capitalists fund start-ups. Workshops included:

  • Pitch Clinic: Stop Pitching and Moaning and Start Converting Investors: Mayra Ceja will teach you how to really make your pitch count, and bring in the investment your start-up needs
  • Why Community Can Make or Break Your Product: Megan Berry, social media wizard, will teach you how to leverage influencers and community to grow your startup.

2011 PrincetonEN Conference and Business Plan CompetitionIMG_2445 

Paul Berry, CTO of HuffingtonPost was the keynote speaker in 2011. Paul helped build Huffington Post, starting with the company in its early days in 2006. It is due to his leadership and vision, putting together unique content and traffic strategies that HuffingtonPost grew to what it is today, and led to its acquisition by AOL. Come learn how Paul helped grow this unique online content company in a time when online content has been a hard game to be in. Read more about Paul. Workshops included:

  • Pitch Clinic:  Learn how to pitch your idea to investors.
  • Social Enterprises: What they are and why they are relevant

2010 PrincetonEN Conference and Business Plan Competition


This 2010 event featured Princeton alum and keynote speaker, Brian Spaly. Brian is not only a Princeton grad, but also has an MBA from Stanford, has worked in investment banking, management consulting, and then decided to start a pants company –  Bonobos Pants. Read this fascinating article about Brian, Bonobos, and his co-founder in the New York Times. Brian is back in the start-up game, as the new CEO of Trunk Club. Workshops included:

  • The ABC’s of Emerging Growth Companies: Learn the legal issues that come with starting a company. Steve Baglio from Gunderson Dettmer will be running this workshop.
  • Business Plans For the Real World:  You don’t have to settle for writing a business plan that will be used one time. Write one to really help you manage your business. Learn how from business plan expert Tim Berry.
  • Press Panel- How to Land Your Story in Print: PR strategist Kevin McLaughlin ’97 of  Resound Marketing will moderate a panel of reporters, representing various media segments, who will share insight from “their side of the desk” and offer best practices and tips on how to secure stories on your company – which can be applied to just about any press outlet. Panelists include April Joyner, “Elevator Pitch” writer for Inc.; Maisha Walker ’94, “Internet Strategist” blogger for Inc., JP Ruth of NJBiz, and Tony Hagen of The Times of Trenton.