There is a long history of students founding startups while still in school. Microsoft, Facebook and Google are perhaps the best known, but NYU has its own history of new ventures founded by its students while completing their studies. Notable examples include Branch, Diaspora, Dodgeball (acquired by Google), Etsy, Hotlist, Project NOAH, Pinterest, SkillSlate (acquired by TaskRabbit), and many others.
NYU faculty has been equally successful in launching startups while still tending to their research and teaching responsibilities. A few noteworthy examples include Atreaon, AdSafe Media, Anaderm (acquired by Pfizer), Area/Code (acquired by Zynga), Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Media6Degrees, Smart Therapeutics (acquired by Boston Scientific), Sugen (acquired by Pfizer), Tagasauris, among others.