Blackstone LaunchPad SU adds mentors and resources through the Dorm Room Fund

Photo of Dylan Gans at the LaunchPad

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University is pleased to announce that Dorm Room Fund will now also provide mentoring to the most promising student startups launched at Syracuse University, as well as consider seed funding.

The SU LaunchPad has been accepted into the Dorm Room Fund 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.

Campus ambassador at Syracuse will be Dylan Gans ’18, who is president of the Blackstone LaunchPad Syracuse University student advisory council.  Gans is a dual student of the Whitman School of Management and Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, majoring in finance and minoring in public communications.  He will graduate this May, and he is working with the LaunchPad to build an organizational framework to launch, grow and sustain the program.  His experience with data analytics, building strategies for startups, founding organizations, putting philanthropy and community service events together, financial modeling, will add value to this program.

In his LaunchPad role, he has taken lean startup techniques and advised dozens of student startups on methods to test their concepts, build go-to market strategies, create financial models, and identify competitive advantages and more.

Gans also helped launch Good Uncle in Syracuse, working in a business development role, and he will be joining Good Uncle’s management team after graduation, to help the company scale nationally.

Gans has tremendous skill sets at community building, and had his first entrepreneurial experience in high school.  After Hurricane Sandy, he created ASAP Construction and ran it for two years in Hudson County, New Jersey to help the community after the massive destruction created by the storm, managing small teams of workers on job-sites.  With roots in grassroots community building, he also has a global perspective from Syracuse’s Hong Kong study abroad program where he took courses, traveled, and conducted research, learning about international relations in Asia, the entrepreneurial ecosystem in China, business practices, and more.  This combination of skills and experience at BNY Mellon and Good Uncle makes him will suited for his DRFCON role.

Dorm Room Fund has already been extremely helpful in improving the ecosystem in Syracuse and is working on closing its first investment in a campus startup. David Ongchoco, who leads DRF Frontier Strategy, said, “We’re really excited to have Syracuse Blackstone Launchpad as part of our DRF Campus Organization Network pilot program this semester. I’m excited to see how DRF can support student founders in Syracuse.”

“I am extremely excited to be able to foster the relationship between Syracuse, The Blackstone LaunchPad, and Dorm Room Fund,” added Gans.  “There are so many great Syracuse University student startups. It is really great to be able to give them the opportunity to receive funding.”

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 Dylan Gans. The format will be 20-minute calls with a DRCONF partner to provide feedback
  • Mentorship for Syracuse’s most promising companies

To learn more or make an appointment, e-mail

Photo caption: Dylan Gans announces the Dorm Room Fund partnership with the Blackstone LaunchPad