Georgetown’s Bark Tank Competition: MS in Biotechnology Student Takes 1st Prize with Proxy Foods

Since its inception, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Program has provided students with the skills, knowledge and resources to launch their own businesses, tackling current society’s challenges (both large and small) and providing innovative solutions.

The Masters in Biotechnology Program has an affiliation with the well-recognized Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Entrepreneurship Prize “Bark Tank” competition. A competition which is supported through a generous gift from the Leonsis family. These two Georgetown Programs perfectly complement one another and seek to offer students the opportunity to develop, innovate and propel their ideas into the next phase of development. Over the past three years, students from the Biotechnology Program have competed and placed well having won 1st place prizes in two out of the past three years in various competitions managed by the Entrepreneurship Program. 

Mr. Theodore Leonsis, founder and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and a GU alumnus himself, through this prize and entrepreneurship mindset, honors and supports other Georgetown students and helps them turn their ideas into viable entrepreneurial ventures.

Georgetown’s Bark Tank Competition – 1st Place Prize Awarded to: Panos Kostopoulos (MS candidate- BioBusiness Track). Left and Right Ted and Zach Leonsis, respectively; center Panagiotis Kostopoulos.

This year, the 1st place prize was awarded to Panagiotis (Panos) Kostopoulos (MS ‘22), from the GU Biotechnology Program BioBusiness Track, for Proxy Foods. He and his team developed Proxy Foods, a company that takes advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve data collection and synthesis, and help companies create alternative proteins, produced by plants, by way of fermentation, cellular-based proteins and other hybrid products. Panos was ecstatic about the decision and plans to use the money to enrich Proxy Foods by pushing it into the next phase of development.

According to Panos: “It was such a fruitful experience from the beginning until the end. You get to meet and collaborate with amazing people that help you accelerate your initiative. The process of crystalizing your company’s message and presenting it to real investors and other key stakeholders is something that you must do for any start-up. This competition gives you all the right tools and assistance for making this process more effective. I completely recommend all Georgetown students participate in this awesome event and pitch their ideas – they can only gain from this experience”.

The conversation with Panos was an interesting opportunity to learn more about alternative proteins, his journey in food biotechnology, entrepreneurship, and made us think more about sustainability in the food industry. After graduation he would like to focus on cellular agriculture and how the industry can improve production lines and reduce animal suffering. Panos also has an interest in exploring the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve data collection and synthesis.

We are looking forward to hearing about Panos’ future endeavors and the companies that he would like to develop.

Written by: Maria Fe Lanfranco, PhD (BioBusiness Certificate candidate)
Contributions from: Panos Kostopoulos, MS candidate (2022)
Edits by: Kyle DiVito, PhD
Published: November 2022