The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars welcomed 33 new Founders Circle graduating seniors who launched 18 ventures as Syracuse University students at an induction ceremony, May 3 at Bird Library.
The Founders Circle includes graduating seniors and recent alumni who significantly contributed to building the Blackstone LaunchPad since it opened in April 2016. Founders Circle members serve as alumni role models for future student entrepreneurs who exemplify a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Founders Circle Class of 2019 and their ventures include:
- Art Inspires You, Geena Matuson (Newhouse G’19)
- Blackstone Global Fellow, Bridget McDonough (Engineering and Computer Science ’19)
- Bowtie Blvd, Jake deHahn (VPA ’19)
- Broad Brothers Productions, Kaelan and Aja Selbach-Broad (VPA ’19)
- CLLCTVE, Kelsey Davis, (Newhouse ’19) Ryan Williams
- Creator’s Institute, Randy Ginsburg (Whitman ’19)
- Fibre Free, Charles Keppler (Engineering and Computer Science ’18 and G’19)
- 410 Pictures. Daniel Simoni VPA ’19), Peter Hartsock (VPA ’19), Justina Hnatowicz (Newhouse ’19)
- Gamercraft, Jose Garcia (Whitman ’19)
- Globalists, Saniya More (Newhouse ’19), Divya Murthy (Newhouse ’19)
- HALO, Jaclyn Higre (Engineering and Computer Science ’19)
- Indulo, Attila Melegh (Engineering and Computer Science ’19)
- In-Spire, Kayla Simon (Engineering and Computer Science ‘19, Elizabeth Tarangelo (Engineering and Computer Science ’19)
- Justin Case, David Fox (iSchool ’19)
- MCM, Marcus Cook (Whitman ’19)
- Prioritage, Angelica O’Hare (Engineering and Computer Science ’19), Samantha Santoni (Engineering and Computer Science ’19), Brooke Walden (Engineering and Computer Science ’19), McKenna Murthy (Newhouse ’19)
- Promptous, Josh Jackson (iSchool G’19), Chris Chomicki (iSchool ’19), Phil McKnight
- RAVLE – Kevin Rieck (University College ’19), Tay Lotte (University College ’19)
- SWIP, Daniel McMurray (Maxwell ’19)
- TEDx Syracuse, Chris Sekerak (iSchool ’19)
- Ambrosia LSZ, Zeus Rocancourt (Whitman ’19)
The group was inducted by entrepreneurial alumni who started the Founders Circle, along with Dean of the SU Libraries David Seaman and Quentin Rosso (Whitman ’18), who chairs the Founders Circle. Rosso is director of Innovation and Transformational Initiatives, North America, for Credit Agricole CIB, the world’s largest cooperative financial institution. Rosso was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 by the Whitman School of Management. He founded four ventures as a Syracuse University student, and also created the Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellows program.
“Beyond pursuing an academic path, these innovators worked incredibly hard to build a venture as part of our community at Bird Library,” said Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the LaunchPad. “These founders had a special experience together, and want to stay connected through a circle of big thinkers and innovators that will grow each year with the addition of some of the best and brightest on the SU campus. The Founders Circle ecognizes those who helped build this special place, and will continue to inspire those who follow.”
“Being inducted into the Founders Circle gives Promptous access to a wide support network of entrepreneurs across different industries,” said its founder Josh Jackson. “Likewise, the LaunchPad does a fantastic job accelerating startups through mentorship and incubation space, both of which enable student-run ventures to build a strong team, acquire financing, and connect with strategic partners and customers.” Jackson will be working on Promptous full-time after graduation, and has built a diverse team to launch his innovative self-funding dental benefits solution for employers powered by blockchain technology.
“Through my nearly three years at the LaunchPad, I’ve had the opportunity to grow into anything I want to be,” said David Fox, founder of Justin Case, and a Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow. “I walked into the LaunchPad to learn more about entrepreneurship, but I’ve come out learning more about myself. I could not have imagined the impact the LaunchPad would have on my life, and it is my favorite memory of my undergraduate career. The LaunchPad made me a better entrepreneur, landed me jobs, and got me into Law School. I am beyond grateful for all of the people I’ve met through this experience, and all the places I will go because of what I’ve accomplished here.” Fox starts classes in fall 2019 at Syracuse University’s College of Law, where he will specialize in innovation law.
“Working here, I grew as a person, student and entrepreneur,” added Kayla Simon, co-founder of In-Spire, LaunchPad Global Media Fellow and LaunchPad Watson Scholar. “Creating In-Spire has not only been a highlight, but it led me to the Blackstone LaunchPad which became one of the best parts of my college experience. I became empowered here and confident, and made friends I’ll have forever.” Simon’s experiences are helping her launch a career with innovation leader Virgin Orbit.
About the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries
The Blackstone LaunchPad 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 venture creation and taking ideas for products, services or technologies from concept to commercialization. The program prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.