What Do Luxury Bedding and Disappearing Tattoos Have in Common?
June 15, 2017
Have you ever wondered how some of the world’s most successful startups came to fruition? We are constantly amazed at the number of new and innovative companies disrupting the market and shaking up old industries who have their roots here at NYU! Some of New York’s most famous startups are tinged with violet—many getting their start through the Summer Launchpad program at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, a 10-week accelerator for teams of NYU student entrepreneurs.
Brooklinen, a direct-to-consumer luxury bedding company, is one of these NYU alumni-founded companies. Founded in 2014, the company has revolutionized the way we buy sheets by cutting out the cost of wholesaling, storefronts, and licensing fees, and providing beautiful bedding at accessible prices.
Ephemeral, another of these violet ventures, is developing a tattoo inks—applied by tattoo artists—that disappear completely on their own. With Ephemeral Ink, people can test-drive a tattoo's design, size, and placement before committing for life and can continuously change their tattoos to reflect their evolving values and tastes.
The Summer Launchpad is now celebrating its fifth year and clearly has some remarkable success stories to its credit. Since 2013, the program has provided grant funding, skills bootcamps, coaching, legal counsel, and more to teams of aspiring student entrepreneurs, fostering innovation across disciplines and encouraging collaboration between NYU schools.
Miriam Altman (WAG ‘13), Co-founder and CEO of Kinvolved, participated in the first NYU Summer Launchpad cohort and says the program was critical to the success of their education technology platform which allows school staff to capture informative attendance data and engage families.
“When Kinvolved participated in the accelerator as part of the first cohort, our business was in its infancy. Five years later, we are proud of the impact that Kinvolved has had on NYC public school student academic performance and graduation rates by helping reduce absenteeism.
“The Launchpad was critical to our early launch and business model development. The resources, mentorship, and the supportive environment were integral benefits to our founding team. We continue to be engaged with the entrepreneurial community at NYU, in part, as a result of our participation in the Launchpad."
One of the most important aspects of the Summer Launchpad is the opportunity for mentorship and the chance for students to be individually coached by successful entrepreneurs and investors. This year’s teams will be paired with one of 43 mentors, 30 of which are either NYU alumni or faculty, including Vince Passione (TANDON ’83), Founder and CEO of LendKey Technologies.
"It is great to see students from so many different NYU schools come together to solve real-world problems that impact many. As a coach, I get to share my experience and help them think through and pressure test their business models. It is so rewarding to see the Summer Launchpad teams benefit from our collective experience as we become committed to their success," he says.
NYU Trustee and NYU Entrepreneurial Institute Executive Board Member Fred Wilson has been involved with the program since its inception, acting in a number of capacities including as a workshop facilitator, speaker, and more.
"I believe that there is no better place in the world to imagine and make the future than right here in New York City. I am glad to support young and hungry entrepreneurs at NYU who are passionate about making the future, and provide the guidance they need to build companies that make an impact,” he says.
We’re expecting great things from this year’s cohort of Summer Launchpad participants. Ten NYU student entrepreneur teams were selected from nearly 100 applications and have developed early prototypes of a patient activity monitor to modernize healthcare and patient safety, a storyboarding tool for virtual reality, an online platform connecting drivers with passengers who are traveling between the same cities, an app that enables the discovery of sample sales in fashion capitals of the world, a neurocognitive analytics and training platform for competitive gamers, and more.
Kyra Durko (STERN ‘19) is working with co-founder Miguel Guerrero (TANDON ’19) on TABu, a mobile payment app that integrates directly with leading point of sale systems to allow venues and customers to process payments more efficiently.
"Our goal is to capture every ounce of growth this opportunity provides and channel it to scale our venture. We are certain that Summer Launchpad can provide us the coaching and support we need to make sure we execute on our business goals properly and effectively,” she says.
"Now in its fifth year, we have a host of successful startups that have come out of the NYU Summer Launchpad and it is so great to see these alumni entrepreneurs come back as mentors, alongside veteran entrepreneurs and investors from the NYC startup community,” says Frank Rimalovski, Executive Director of NYU Entrepreneurial Institute.
“These alumni bring a unique understanding of the challenges the teams face in the early days of their ventures that are invaluable to the Summer Launchpad teams."
Join the NYU community, entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists on Wednesday, August 9 for the NYU Summer Launchpad 2017: Venture Showcase and see the ten participating teams showcase their startups and hear their stories from participating in the program. Light refreshments will be served!