Applications now open for LaunchPad Summer Startup Fellowships

Group of students wearing LaunchPad - Techstars t-shirts

As LaunchPad students approach graduation and the first summer during/following the COVID-19 crisis and following economic downturn, their attention and concerns have increasingly turned to lost and more challenging job and internship prospects. In an effort to both distribute financial assistance and to encourage continued work on some of the most promising LaunchPad startups in a remote setting, The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars network will host a unique, new opportunity for a LaunchPad Summer Startup Fellowship. The Summer Startup Fellowship program is funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and administered through Techstars.  It is open to all students in the network.

Applications open April 27, 2020 on line here with an application deadline of May 18, 2020.  The virtual program will run June 8 through July 27, 2020.  Accepted applicants will be notified by the first week of June.

In this eight-week Fellowship, participants will be awarded $5,000 in grant funding to support their time working on advancing their startup companies. The Fellowship is largely self-driven, but will include weekly reporting requirements, a number of webinars to support the program, and a final report. The Fellowship is open to all current students and recent graduates in the LaunchPad Network, and will accept 50 participants.

Selection Criteria: Applicants will be judged based on the quality of their 30 second video pitch, articulation of realistic goals and milestones, quality and detail of the proposal narrative, description of next steps following the Fellowship, and need statement. Special consideration will also be given to ensure selected companies represent the diversity of the LaunchPad Network.

Fellowship Grant: $5,000 will be awarded to fellowship participants to support financial needs during the program period. It should be noted that grants are issued after proper paperwork is received by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Grant processing often takes a number of weeks, so participants should plan accordingly.

Fellowship Structure: As with a typical Fellowship, this initiative is largely self-directed and independent of a strict curriculum. Because of this, it is critical that applicants have demonstrated the ability to work independently with little guidance or structure. The Fellowship will include a number of programmatic elements:

  • Program kickoff call
  • Two “Founder Story Fireside Chats” with Techstars founders
  • Program wrap-up call, introduction to Techstars pipeline manager
  • Weekly reporting and final report
  • Access to Techstars mentor request form for ad-hoc assistance

Fellowship Requirements: All participants must clearly define goals and objectives for the Fellowship and also:

  • Track progress towards these goals on weekly basis using a progress tracking spreadsheet and submit the progress tracker at the end of the program
  • Participate in program kickoff / conclusion calls
  • Complete a final report and survey detailing their work in the Fellowship, results and next steps.
  • Work with Campus Ambassadors to review their final report

Campus Connections: LaunchPad campus directors will actively participate with teams accepted into the Fellowship in their programs in the following areas:

  • Review weekly progress trackers and ensure progress
  • Facilitate introductions to Campus ambassadors / mentors as needed to support progress
  • Ensure student participation and final reporting
  • Help students with planning for next steps
  • Connect students to pipeline opportunities

Applicants must:

  • Be a current student (undergraduate level, graduate-level) or a recent graduate (2019 or 2020) and active participant in LaunchPad programming on campus
  • Have an existing startup company
  • Be self-motivated and driven to complete work independently and with minimal oversight
  • Have well-defined goals and milestones to be completed within the eight-week period of the fellowship
  • Be past the idea-stage and already have a pitch deck, executive summary, a logo, a website, LinkedIn account, Twitter account, and ideally, a prototype
  • Have traction such as early sales, MOUs, funding raised, customer interest, etc.
  • Have demonstrated leadership in both executing the business and galvanizing support
  • Have experience working with mentors, integrating feedback into their venture, and show coachability

It is strong advised that you reach out to the LaunchPad at Syracuse University to discuss this opportunity before applying on line. Contact us by at