Semifinalists Announced for the GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition During GES 2017

November 29, 2017

The 24 semifinalists have been announced for the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Catalyst pitch competition taking place at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The semifinals were chosen based on a combined score that took into account their performance during the public vote portion of the competition, their pitch video, and feedback from expert judges who reviewed each of the over 75 startups that competed.

There are six semifinalists for each of the four GES focus industries, which are Healthcare and Life Sciences, Digital Economy and Financial Technology, Energy and Infrastructure, and Media and Entertainment. One finalist will be chosen by a panel of judges for each focus industry during pitch sessions at the GES. The four finalists will compete in one final pitch session, after which a panel of judges will pick the GIST Catalyst Grand Champion.

The semifinalists are competing for over $400,000 USD in startup resources. Prizes for finalists include Amazon Web Services credits, Cognizant with a cash prize, Dell laptop computers, Google Cloud computing credits, and an interview for Inc. Magazine by Elizabeth Gore, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell and Chairman of the Board of Alice.

Competing finalists cover a wide range of topics from renewable energy to health care solutions using artificial intelligence. More than half of the semifinalist are women and semifinalists are representing 10 countries, including the United States and India.

The GIST Initiative works to empower and strengthen science and technology entrepreneurs around the world through online and in-country programming and partnerships.

A full list of semifinalists, including name, country and description of startup, can be found online at For media inquiries, please contact Tomás Harmon via email at


he GIST Catalyst Semifinalists:

Digital Economy and Financial Technology

Jainesh Sinha – India – Senbonzakura Consultancy Pvt. Ltd

GyanDhan is an education loan marketplace that leverages data science to predict students’ future employability. Launched in April 2016, GyanDhan is currently working with Indian lenders to structure differentiated education loan products that are more accessible to Indian students.

Vivek Kumar – United States – Qlicket Inc.

Qlicket makes it easy to capture employee feedback via quick, micro-pulse surveys taken through an office’s wifi network. The surveys generate response rates of 90 percent of more by making the process of submitting feedback fun, quick and natural.

Evelyn Chilomo – Zambia – Lupiya Circle Ltd.

Lupiya is an online market place created by women that works to financially empower women in Zambia through its branchless banking model. Lupiya works with business owners, low income employees, micro-entrepreneurs and small farmers by providing small lines of credits.

Roger Zoundi – Burkina Faso – ScoringCard LLC

ScoringCard is a credit scoring digital infrastructure that connects women and professional lenders in rural areas. Besides offering credits scoring services, ScoringCard will also install loan kiosks in Burking Faso communities that allow women to manage and re-pay their loans.

Arti Agrawal – India – Anaxee Digital Runners Pvt. Ltd.

Anaxee Digital Runners is building India’s largest, last-mile verification and data collection network of 250,000 “digital runners” to help businesses and consumers reach remote parts of India. Using feet-on-street, tech-enabled runners, Anaxee Digital Runners uses its distributed people network in 650 districts to minimize the digital network barriers that can prevent businesses from connecting with each other and their customers.

Meredith Peng – United States – Humanitree

Humanitree is an app that breaks down the barriers of child sponsorship by simplifying the ways a person can sponsor a child and his or her education. Humanitree setups secure, recurring credit card payments while also providing other service for sponsors, including in-app letter writing and in-app updates that amplify tangible results of sponsorship.

Healthcare and Life Sciences

Satyen Sanghavi – India – Regenerative Medical Services Pvt. Ltd.

Regrow has created a technology platform for autologous and allogenic cell based products. It is currently being used to develop cell-based products that can repair bones and cartilage.

Fiona Edwards Murphy – Ireland – ApisProtect

ApisProtect address the growing health crisis of bee populations around the world through in-hive sensors, retrofitted into existing beehives to monitor the honey bee colonies. Using machine learning techniques, data is gathered and shared through mobile data networks to farmers, providing updates on hive and alerts with insights on how to improve the colony’s health.

Nguyen Thi Kim Mai – Vietnam – CLAS Healthcare

CLAS Healthcare uses enterprise resource planning software to improve the quality of healthcare hospital and doctors can provide by cutting down on wait times and providing healthcare coordination. Since 2016, CLAS Healthcare has been working with hospital and doctors to fill the gaps in healthcare systems by engaging patients, empowering care teams, optimizing clinic effectiveness and improving healthcare systems

Kristi Gorinas – United States – Defendables LLC

Defendables is a wearable self-defense pod. The discreet looking pod is filled with a strong form of pepper spray that can deter an attacker and give victims enough time to escape harm.

Cesar Garcia – United States – Vaccitech Inc.

Vaccitech works to prevent the spread of infectious diseases worldwide through the fast, mass production of vaccines. Using proprietary technology, Vaccitech has been able to mass produce vaccines for diseases like influenza faster and cheaper than current egg-based technologies.

Borthakur Rajlakshmi – India – TerraBlue Exploration Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

TerraBlue XT develops sensor-based, wearables that aid in the prediction, detection and management of various diseases. The devices track brain activities, vital signs, physical movement and sleep, allowing the wearer to monitor his or her own health.

Energy and Infrastructure

Piyush Mathur – India – Simpa Networks Inc.

Simpa provides reliable, clean energy through its proprietary solar technology and special financing plans for customers. Through a financing period of one to three years, Simpa provides solar panels to energy-poor homes in rural India while empowering village level entrepreneurs known as “Urja Mitras (solar buddies)” to deliver Simpa services.

Oscar Espinosa – Mexico – Pellet México: Bioenergía S.A. de C.V.

Pellet Mexico is using residue from the forestry, food and agriculture industries to create solid biofuels that can be used to substitute fossil fuel consumptions. The biofuel created by Pellet Mexico is intended for use by the industrial, tourism and domestic energy sectors.

Reyhan Camalova – Azerbaijan – Rainergy

Rainergy is a rain collecting device that produces and stores electricity. The innovation is a step towards solving energy deficiencies in low income countires.

David Ochi – United States – Convert Coal Inc.

Convert Coal transforms dirty coal into clean briquettes for home use and clean fuel for power plants. Convert Coal’s fuel burns as cleanly as natural gas.

Molly Morse – United States – Mango Materials Inc.

Mango Materials transforms waste greenhouse gas methane into environmentally friendly, affordable materials. These materials can be used to make biodegradable plastics.

Ajaita Shah – India – Frontier Markets

Frontier Markets is a last mile distribution solution for energy products with a focus on solar technology. They empower women by giving them the tools they need to teach their communities about the benefits of the solar products that they sell.

Media and Entertainment

Surinder Sharma – United States – Smart Kidz Club Inc.

Smart Kidz Club is a digital children’s publisher selling educations-in-a-box and digital subscriptions for enhanced eBooks and other educational resources. The interactive educational content encourages reading and learning among children ages 1 through 11.

Helene Berkowitz – Israel – ReceetMe

ReceetMe replaces in-store paper receipts with digital, paperless versions through an app that can be downloaded to a user’s phone. When paying for a purchase, a user simply holds his or her smartphone near the cash register and a digital receipt is instantly downloaded, minimizing the likelihood of losing a receipt.  

Maria Burns Ortiz – United States – 7 Generation Games

7 Generation Games combines educational research, advanced game design and innovative technology to produce games that teach math, history and language arts to children. The games have been designed to meet the technological needs to both urban and rural areas.

Vaishali Neotia – India – Merxius Software Pvt. Ltd.

RED enables anyone with 3D data, not just those with specialized skills or education, to create their own extended reality experience.

Shivaarti Bajaj – India – Go Parties India Pvt. Ltd.

GoParties uses artificial intelligence and automated technologies to resolve the discovery problems faced by entertainment and tourism in India. GoParties uses a.i. to provides users with entertainment options based on the preferences of the user.

Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin – Malaysia – Madcat Zoogleland

Zoogleland is an interactive mobile app for zoos that provides visitors with information on a zoo, the zoo animals and provides weekly updates to users who subscribe to learn more about their favorite animals. Zoogleland hopes to increase zoo engagement and repeat visits through its mobile application.