Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman) and CLLCTVE – a team of student entrepreneurs from Syracuse University — have been selected to participate in the spring 2020 cohort of LaunchPad Lift. The program takes ten college student business ventures from the U.S. and Ireland to the next level by providing a $10,000 grant, dedicated mentoring, peer networking, and critical education on advanced startup topics like fundraising, growing sales, making executive hires, and formalizing their supply chain. CLLCTVE, a student startup founded by Davis, is part of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at SU Libraries. CLLCTVE is a digital platform connecting college creatives with brands targeting Gen-Z. Team members include Daniel Fatade, Jordan Rose, Kelsey Davis, Anna Khairi, Brendan O’Keeffe, Michelle Morris.
“The Lift program provides a unique opportunity for some of our most successful LaunchPad student entrepreneurs to gain access to unparalleled mentorship from the Blackstone and Techstars networks, which really sets our student founders up for future success,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
“We’re looking forward to having access to specific guidance pertaining to creating sales leads, managing customer relationships, and developing automated workflow systems that enable us to scale effectively on the product side,” according to Davis, who is a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor at the Syracuse University LaunchPad.. “Our team is honored to be working with the Techstars’ mentor network and we’re super excited to participate in this program.”
Companies participating in the LaunchPad Lift program this spring operate in a wide range of industries including financial services, transportation, manufacturing, biotech, professional services, and information technology. Participants were nominated by entrepreneurship center campus directors from 24 LaunchPad network schools. In addition to Syracuse University, LaunchPad Lift students study at schools including Montana State University, Texas A&M, the University of Texas, Austin and Dallas, the University of California, Berkeley and San Diego, the University of Southern California, Trinity College Dublin, and the University College Cork.
This is the second Syracuse University student startup to be selected for the LaunchPad Lift program. Matt Shumer ’22 (Whitman), founder of Visos, completed the summer 2019 LaunchPad Lift cohort. That experience propelled him to be selected as one of six student ventures from the global LaunchPad network to pitch at the Techstars Startup Stage at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in early January in Las Vegas. Shumer is now working with his Techstars mentor, Babak Kia who is a technology faculty member at Boston University’s college of engineering, and a board member and advisor to some of the nation’s innovative technology companies.
“The LaunchPad Lift program enabled Visos to grow faster than we thought possible, and connect with world-class partners, customers, and industry leaders,” said Shumer. The program led to the opportunity to speak at CES 2020 which was pivotal to our company, leading to the next phase of accelerated growth.”
Instructors in the spring 2020 cohort of LaunchPad Lift include Zach Nies, Managing Director, Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, and Amos Schwartzfarb, Managing Director, Techstars Austin, and author of Sell More Faster.
In addition to this programming, once a year, participants from both the spring and summer LaunchPad Lift cohorts come together at a culminating showcase event, where these top collegiate entrepreneurs compete in front of potential investors and Techstars accelerator managing directors for up to $50,000 provided by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Davis won $10,000 second place in this pitch event at LaunchPad Propel, a network-wide gathering this past November in New York City.
About the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries
The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars in Bird Library is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and alumni across disciplines who are interested in innovation, invention, entrepreneurship, venture creation, and taking ideas from concept to commercialization. The program supports a key pillar of Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan to create an innovation ecosystem across the institution that prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.
About Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars
The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship network helps students succeed in entrepreneurship and in their careers. Open to all students and recent alumni in all majors, the campus-based Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars network enables participants to access mentoring, grow their network, and access the resources to accelerate the success of their business. For more information, see www.blackstonelaunchpad.org
About Blackstone Charitable Foundation
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. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For more information, see http://www.blackstone.com/foundation.
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,900 companies with a market cap of $25.2 Billion. www.techstars.com.
Photo: Daniel Fatade, Jordan Rose, Kelsey Davis, Anna Khairi, Brendan O’Keeffe, Michelle Morris