The Syracuse University LaunchPad has proudly nominated three campus teams for the Startup Grind global student startup pitch competition. The event offers founders from across the LaunchPad network a chance to pitch for over $50,000 in non-dilutive grant funding. A past Startup Grind global winner was Josh Aviv ’15 G ’17, founder of SparkCharge, a venture he founded as a student at Syracuse University. This year, the LaunchPadhas nominated Sam Hollander ’22 (Whitman and Newhouse), founder of FSCL, Bruno Gonzalez Hauger ’21 (Whitman and Newhouse), co-founder of Ambassadoor and Ben Ford ’23 (Whitman), founder of doNATION to be our university candidates.
Hollander is founder and CEO of FSCL, a financial services startup pioneering the use of alternative finance vehicles to build a more simple, affordable and flexible solution to finance higher education. FSCL is a company that lies at the intersection of FinTech and EdTech, with the main objective of alleviating the burden of the student debt crisis, both on a macro and a micro level through the widespread use of Income Share Agreements. Hollander has been a LaunchPad Global Fellow, LaunchPad Rubin Family Innovation Mentor, Orange Ambassador, and was one of the key organizers of the first Syracuse University LaunchPad Startup Weekend. He is a recent graduate of the LaunchPad & Techstars Fellowship Program.
Gonzalez Hauger is CEO of Ambassadoor Technologies which he co-founded with his brother Marco. The venture has three main goals: connect small brick-and-mortar businesses to nano-influencers; enable anyone on Instagram with engagement to be a paid influencer; and automate the influencer search, compensation, and management process. He is also president of the Syracuse University Entrepreneurship Club as well as president of the TNH Ad Agency at Syracuse University which is one of the country’s largest student-run ad agencies.
Ford is founder of doNATION, an impact funding platform that efficiently and effectively matches people launching a variety of projects with donors who share similar interests. doNATION can also help build a personalized network of like-minded people what want to change the world one donation at a time. Ford is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who is also founder of Jersey Boy Apparel LLC, which he launched in 2019.
The LaunchPad hosted a competition to select three teams to represent Syracuse University in the network challenge. FSCL, Ambassadoor and doNATION were chosen on the basis of investability, business model viability, innovation, market size, traction, founder, pitch quality and active participation in Syracuse LaunchPad programming, as well as the initiative they displayed putting together application materials for the competition.
The three teams will now go on compete for a spot in the semi-final round and potentially move on to become one of five finalist teams competing for a $55,000 prize package in the network event to be held virtually alongside Startup Grind’s Global Conference and Startup Summit from February 22 to 25, 2021. Startup Grind final competition judges include David Cohen, Co-Founder, Managing Partner and Chairman, Techstars.
Startup Grind is the world’s largest community of startups, founders, innovators, and creators. The Startup Grind Global 2021 Conference features over 100 workshops, roundtables, keynotes, and fireside chats focused on helping startups and innovative teams learn, grow, and scale in today’s evolving tech ecosystem.