NYU Dedicates the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab

Leslie eLab Accelerates NYU Entrepreneurs’ Capacity to Turn Ideas and Inventions into Startup Companies

A view looking out onto Green Street and Washington Place from inside the eLab. ©NYU Photo Bureau: Hollenshead

Leslie eLab Accelerates NYU Entrepreneurs’ Capacity to Turn Ideas and Inventions into Startup Companies

NYU today dedicated the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab, which will provide aspiring NYU entrepreneurs—be they students, faculty, or researchers—the essential central hub to connect, collaborate, and tap into the vast array of resources the University offers to help turn their ideas and inventions into startup companies.

The Leslie eLab was made possible by a major gift by Mark and Debra Leslie to support its design, construction, and initial staffing. The 5,900-square-foot facility, located in the heart of NYU’s Washington Square campus, will also serve as the headquarters for the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. Its completion marks the culmination of a four-year effort to accelerate the pace of technology commercialization and startup formation by NYU students, faculty, and researchers, while strengthening ties with the growing New York City entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Its central storefront location at 16 Washington Place (at the corner of Greene Street) sends a clear signal about the University’s commitment to teaching and cultivating entrepreneurship and its recognition of the critical role universities play in helping to bring new technologies and businesses to market.

NYU President John Sexton told those gathered at the dedication, “Students, faculty, and researchers across NYU have been conceiving and undertaking new ideas and ventures for years, and the University has been committed to supporting their efforts through the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and the NYU Innovation Venture Fund. But we recognize that to be truly successful, entrepreneurial ventures require a multidisciplinary team, including scientists, engineers, designers, and business leaders. The Leslie eLab will create a place to bring these teams together from across the University and provide them with the resources to develop and launch their ventures.”

NYU Trustee Mark Leslie, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics and mathematics from NYU in 1966 and was the founding chairman and CEO of VERITAS Software, said, “Debra and I are very proud to contribute to the growing entrepreneurial culture at NYU. The Leslie eLab will be the headquarters for innovation and invention at NYU—a place where students and faculty can come together and use the University’s resources to collaborate and create the companies of the future.”

Frank Rimalovski, executive director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, said, “The Leslie eLab will provide essential space to support entrepreneurs throughout the University. It offers collaborative spaces and technical facilities, as well as access to mentors and partners from our alumni base and the larger New York City startup community. With the Leslie eLab, we will be able to encourage and more deeply engage members of the NYU community in entrepreneurial pursuits and strengthen the University’s culture of creativity and innovation.”

The Leslie eLab will be staffed by a dedicated team of startup experts and offer flexibly configured co-working spaces, meeting rooms, a large event space, video conferencing facilities, a resource library and a fabrication lab with a digitizer, 3D printers, and a laser cutter among other maker tools and resources. These facilities will encourage interaction, prototyping, and collaboration so essential to the development of entrepreneurial ideas. The site also offers the ability to record and live-stream events, a venue for data-driven student art, and computer workstations with essential design and development software.

The Leslie eLab will also serve as the hub for numerous programs, events, and resources offered by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, student clubs, and other entrepreneurship centers at NYU. Regular networking events, meet-ups, and guest speakers will be hosted at the Leslie eLab to encourage community building and cross-pollination between NYU students and faculty, local entrepreneurs, and startup advisors. Experienced entrepreneurs will be on hand for office hours and coaching sessions with students and faculty grappling with the challenges of starting a business. Workshops, boot camps, and other accelerator programs to support emerging NYU startups will also be held at the Leslie eLab, giving startup teams the training and support they need to launch their ventures.

The opening of the Leslie eLab marks the continued growth in NYU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem led by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. The Institute offers a broad array of programs and resources to support NYU entrepreneurs in their startup pursuits, including the annual NYU Entrepreneurs Festival; the NYU Innovation Venture Fund, a seed stage venture capital fund that invests in startups founded by NYU students, faculty, and researchers; the NYU Summer Launchpad, an intensive 10-week startup accelerator program; the NYU Entrepreneurs Network, a collaborative of more than 20 graduate and undergraduate student groups; and the Startup Bootcamps for NYU Scientists & Engineers, among many other programs.

For more information about the Leslie eLab, go to: http://bit.ly/1qHsrB8. For more information about NYU’s entrepreneurial programs, to go: http://bit.ly/NYRMGe.

About Mark Leslie

Mark Leslie is a successful entrepreneur with deep roots in the startup community. He is the managing director of Leslie Ventures, a private investment company, and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He also serves on the boards of numerous public and private companies and nonprofits, including the NYU Board of Trustees.

He was the founding chairman and CEO of VERITAS Software, growing the company over 11 years to a global firm with 6,000 employees and $1.5 billion of annual revenue. Previously, he served as president and CEO of two Silicon Valley high-tech start-up companies.

About the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute

The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute Institute helps startups start up. It leads a university-wide initiative to accelerate the pace of technology commercialization and the launch of successful startups founded by NYU’s more than 60,000 students, faculty, and researchers. The Institute's team of startup experts and thought leaders offers educational programming, events, resources, and funding, via the NYU Innovation Venture Fund, to inspire, educate, connect, and accelerate entrepreneurs across NYU.

Summer launchpad teams presenting thier concepts in one of the eLab's collaborative spaces.

The Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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