University of Tartu students won two first places at international pitching competition in USA

On Friday evening, University of Tartu teams took the two first places at the final competition of an exclusive NGAL® business development program. Among ten student teams from Estonia and USA, Cody was selected to be the winner and got 3,000 USD to implement their idea. The second place and 2,000 USD went to the Coulomb Sailing Group.

NGAL® (Network Globally, Act Locally) is an intensive business development program for early-stage student teams, engaging five universities and ten student teams from Estonia and USA. After three weeks of business development in Tartu, Tallinn and Charleston, all the ten teams presented their ideas to the jury, local entrepreneurs, at the final pitch competition on 23rd June in Charleston, USA.

Despite the tough competition, University of Tartu teams took the two first places. The code learning mobile app Cody was selected to be the best team of the whole program and got 3,000 USD for their product development. The second place went to the Coulomb Sailing Group – a space technology start-up grown out from EstCube project developing deorbiting services. The third place went to Aude Opus, Tallinn University of Technology team working on a scalable hydrogen based battery.

„The first place surely came as a big surprise for us,“ says the leader of Cody, University of Tartu student Kaspar Kuus. „It took us a while to realize that three Estonian teams actually made it to the TOP 3. All the teams had been working really hard and did a great progress during the program, so it was almost impossible to forecast the winners.“

According to Kuus, NGAL is a great opportunity to find international contacts and friends: „The name of the program says it all: Network Globally, Act Locally. All the teams supported each other and we got lots of good advice from fellow students, so that it was rather an incubator than a competition.“

Although the program itself lasted three weeks, the impact of the program is surely longer. Several teams made mutual plans for the future, couple of  students from USA became Estonian e-residents and planned to continue their studies in Estonia.

This year, NGAL® took place for the third time, being a shared program between two Estonian and three US universities: University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, College of Charleston, The Citadel (Military College of South Carolina) and Nebraska Wesleyan University. University of Tartu was represented by four students: Kaspar Kuus, Reino Zuppur, Iaroslav Iakubivskyi and Triin Teppo.

NGAL® was made possible through the generous support of the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation.

Additional information: Maret Ahonen, manager, 737 4817,

Viivika Eljand-Kärp@ University of Tartu Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5683
Mob: +(372) 5354 0689 E-mail: