Blackstone Charitable Foundation Entrepreneurship Initiative
In 2010, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced its Entrepreneurship Initiative, a global commitment to advance entrepreneurial thought and activity in the United States and abroad. Through Blackstone LaunchPad, Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge, and Blackstone Innovation Grants, the Foundation encourages and empowers the entrepreneurs who create jobs and stimulate economic growth. The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University received seed funding from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, and is one of 20 LaunchPads at universities around the world.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally.
Beginning in 2018, Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, will provide Blackstone LaunchPad participants access to their network of over 10,000 mentors, invitations to signature events, and access to world-renowned content and startup services. In addition, Techstars will help student entrepreneurs navigate the complex landscape of fundraising, job placement, and recruitment. All of these opportunities and resources are seldom available to collegiate entrepreneurs and campus-based programs, and are crucial to the long term success of ventures.
The idea for this partnership originated last fall when Blackstone and Techstars teamed up to host its first training camp for student entrepreneurs. Student ventures had the opportunity to access Techstars’ resources and programs, including one-on-one mentor meetings with Techstars’ Managing Directors. Syracuse University student Josh Aviv, founder of SparkCharge, won the Training Camp Demo Day competition and entered Techstars Boston. Other Syracuse University student ventures are also already interacting with Techstars through the Blackstone LaunchPad, about ways to grow and scale their ventures.
Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed. Through the Techstars Worldwide Entrepreneur Network, founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates four divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships, and the Techstars Venture Capital Fund.
Dorm Room Fund
The Dorm Room Fund will provide mentoring to the most promising student startups at Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad, as well as consider seed funding as part of the Dorm Room Fund’s Campus Organization Network (DRFCON), backed by First Round Capital. A San Francisco-based venture capital firm founded in 2002 that provided seed-stage funding to technology companies such as Uber, Square and Warby Parker, First Round provides seed-stage funding and focuses on portfolio companies’ growth during their first 18 months. It has offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York. The company publishes First Round Review, a blog with industry experts on management and operations best practices. Fortune Magazine dubbed it the most connected venture network in the Silicon Valley. In 2012, the firm launched and funded Dorm Room Fund for college startups. Since launching, DRF has invested in 150 startups where at least one person on the founding team is a student (undergraduate or graduate). Those ventures have gone to raise $300 million from partner funds.
DRF will work with the Blackstone LaunchPad to offer:
How To Start A Startup Guide with resources on getting started, starting up, launch and beyond
DRFCON-hosted sessions for Syracuse startups, with a schedule established in conjunction with the Blackstone LaunchPad and its Dorm Room Fund student ambassador. The format will be 20-minute calls with a DRCONF partner to provide feedback.