On Monday, June 2nd, NYU will kick off the second annual NYU Summer Launchpad—its pioneering 10-week startup accelerator program that provides graduating NYU student-entrepreneurs with the skills, space, funding, and mentoring needed to help them build commercially viable startup ventures.

NYU Kicks Off Second Annual NYU Summer Launchpad—a 10-week Accelerator Program for Graduating Entrepreneurs
On Monday, June 2nd, NYU will kick off the second annual NYU Summer Launchpad—its pioneering 10-week startup accelerator program that provides graduating NYU student-entrepreneurs with the skills, space, funding, and mentoring needed to help them build commercially viable startup ventures.

On Monday, June 2nd, NYU will kick off the second annual NYU Summer Launchpad—its pioneering 10-week startup accelerator program that provides graduating NYU student-entrepreneurs with the skills, space, funding, and mentoring needed to help them build commercially viable startup ventures.

Summer Launchpad is an intensive program that guides startup ventures through the very difficult stage of early customer development. It provides startup teams with resources, personalized instruction, guidance, and connections to increase the likelihood of success. Participating teams learn about lean startup principles using techniques for testing hypotheses and experimentation as they develop their business models.

“The NYU Summer Lauchpad provides emerging entrepreneurs with the critical support they need to help build successful startups,” said Frank Rimalovski, executive director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and managing director of the NYU Innovation Venture Fund. “Once again, we have attracted an amazing group of successful entrepreneur and early-stage investor mentors from our alumni base and the broader New York City startup community. The mentors provide critical guidance for entrepreneurs as they get out of the building to talk with customer and test their ideas in the marketplace.”

The Summer Launchpad will take place at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s Varick Street incubator at 137 Varick St. in Lower Manhattan, which was created five years ago in collaboration with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to help emerging companies become thriving businesses.

“We’re thrilled to host Summer Launchpad.” said Micah Kotch, director of innovation and entrepreneurship at the School of Engineering. “This is what entrepreneurial education looks like.  Connecting these teams to the startups in our incubator and members of the NYC tech community is an incredible opportunity that benefits everyone involved.”

Ten multidisciplinary teams of graduating students from five different schools at NYU (Leonard N. Stern School of Business; School of Engineering; Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and the School of Medicine) have been accepted into the 2014 Launchpad class. Each startup team will receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $7,500.

The selected teams are building businesses that range from consumer web and mobile applications, to e-commerce, apparel, and connected hardware devices. Among the teams participating this year include three prior winners of the $200,000 NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge, an annual venture competition that rewards the University’s most promising innovators.

Each Launchpad team will be paired with entrepreneur and venture investor mentors who will work closely with the teams over the course of the summer to help guide them on the path to achieving their own individual milestones. Mentors are drawn from NYU’s alumni base, as well as from the booming New York City startup community.

Among the entrepreneurs and investors who will participate as mentors are: David Aronoff, general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners; Alexandre Douzet, SCPS ’99, co-founder and CEO of TheLadders; John Elton, Stern ’00, partner at Greycroft Partners; Kim Armor, Stern ’08, CFO and head of business development at Comcast Ventures; and Rob Fassino, Tisch ’88, co-founder and chief product officer at XO Group Inc.

Launchpad also features bi-weekly guest lectures by successful entrepreneurs, investors, and startup experts who will share lessons from their past successes and failures. Among the speakers at the Launchpad will be Giff Constable, CEO of Neo; Peter Flint, general partner at Polaris Partners; Chris Milne, senior designer at IDEO; and Fred Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures. The program culminates with an expo-style demonstration day in August, where teams will showcase their startups to potential collaborators, investors, and partners.

Several teams that participated in last year’s Launchpad program are already moving forward with their development. One, Datavisual, was selected by the Daily News Innovation Lab to help the newspaper develop web-based charts and graphs. A second, Kinvolved, is now partnering with the New York City school system to deploy its attendance management platform. And several others continue building their businesses at NYU’s incubator in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn.

“Each year that we run this program we strengthen our network of NYU alumni entrepreneurs,” said Lindsey Gray, program director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. “This year, the teams will benefit from the mentorship and support of last year’s participants who have a unique understanding of the challenges the teams face in the early days of their ventures.”

The NYU Summer Launchpad is one of a growing number of entrepreneurship programs offered at New York University. NYU already offers a wide range of classes and extra-curricular resources aimed at inspiring, educating, connecting, and funding student and faculty entrepreneurs. The Summer Launchpad builds on the foundational skills provided in the classroom and in programs such as the recently completed NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge, and will help drive the success of NYU’s student entrepreneurs long after graduation day.

The 10 teams that have been selected for the 2014 Launchpad program, and their NYU student founders, are:

  • HireCanvas--Improves campus recruiting for students, recruiters, and universities by managing data developed at events.  Scott Holland, Stern ‘14
  • Democrateyes--A website to offer personalized cosmetic recommendations.  Rebecca Hillegass, Engineering ‘14; Jason Schapiro, Engineering ‘13
  • Brooklinen--An e-commerce brand offering high quality bed sheets at accessible prices.  David Fortune, Stern ‘14; Richard Fulop, Stern ‘14
  • Speech Empowered--A mobile app, video site, and online lesson center to help people learn to speak more effectively and powerfully.  Katrina Degel, Steinhardt ‘14; Brian Gill, Steinhardt Faculty
  • Sensory Percussion--The next generation e-drum using state-of-the-art machine learning for expressive control of electronic sounds on stage.  Tlacael Esparza, Steinhardt ‘14
  • Smart Vision Labs--A mobile-based technology that allows users to check their vision by taking a picture of their eyes using a smartphone.  Yaopeng Zhou, Stern ‘14; Marc Albanese, Stern ‘08
  • Sparkbox Toys--An online toy rental business offering the best learning toys for children ages 0-4.  Yasmine Kooros, GSAS ‘14
  • PeekBite--A mobile application that allows restaurant customers to visually savor their food, order remotely, and pay seamlessly.  Riccardo Vittoria, Engineering ‘14; Felicia Schneiderhan, GSAS ‘14
  • Limbr Activewear--Functional fitness apparel designed to resist body movement to help conveniently tone muscle and burn calories.  Franklin Yao, Medicine ‘17
  • Somaware--Eyes-free, ears-free, hands-free navigation using a neck band that provides directional prompts through vibration.  Mike Karlesky, Engineering ‘16; Xiaochang Li, Steinhardt ‘16

 

 

 

 

 

The NYU Summer Launchpad is made possible by the generous support of our participating sponsor partners, including Lowenstein Sandler LLP, EisnerAmper LLP, Silicon Valley Bank, Amazon Web Services, and Pivotal Labs.

About the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute

The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute leads a campus-wide initiative to inspire, educate, connect, accelerate, and fund aspiring NYU entrepreneurs and help the university community translate great ideas and inventions into successful commercial ventures. The Institute offers a series of programs, events and resources, including the NYU Innovation Venture Fund, a $20 million investment fund that provides seed capital to help launch startups founded by and/or commercializing technologies and intellectual property developed by NYU students, faculty, and researchers.

 

Press Contact

Phil Lentz
Phil Lentz
(212) 998-6833