The Blackstone LaunchPad will host a ribbon-cutting reception for its expansion in Bird Library at noon, September 6. The event will also celebrate an expanded partnership between the Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars.
Joining Dean of the Syracuse University Libraries David Seaman to cut the ribbon will be the first Syracuse University entrepreneurs to be accepted into the prestigious Techstars program — Josh Aviv, founder of SparkCharge, and Angelo (AJ) Damiano and Michael Paris, co-founders of PowerSpike.
Josh Aviv and AJ Damiano at Techstars training camp in NYC
Following the fun ribbon cutting, Aviv, Damiano and Paris will host a “Meet the Techstars” event to inspire new students who are interested in exploring innovation and entrepreneurship. They will share their perspective from the “dorm room to the boardroom,” collectively raising more than $1.5 million in equity investment, and their experiences in the prestigious Techstars program. Techstars is a highy competitive program, reviewing 1,000 applications for each 10 accepted into the accelerator cohort. Aviv and Damiano will be flying in from Boston and Atlanta for the event, where they have been part of Techstars accelerators in those cities. Paris is a student in the VPA program.
Blackstone LaunchPad executive director Linda Dickerson Hartsock will also announce a new Blackstone LaunchPad – Techstars opportunity that will be open to Syracuse University students this fall.
The LaunchPad doubled in size over summer 2018, and now offers new co-working space for up to 35 more entrepreneurs, with the capacity to host technical workshops, guest speakers, and networking events. It connects to the original glass cube with its cozy “nooks” with couches, meeting tables and smaller, private workspaces.
A new feature of the expanded space is the “Bird Nest,” a meeting room with video and audio conferencing capacity. The space will enable student ventures to have a more private setting to work with subject matter experts and investors who are in remote locations. It will allow LaunchPad staff to stay connected and serve Syracuse University alumni who have “launched” from the program.
A new workstation will enable the program to bring in resource providers on a regular basis for “Launch Hours” to work with students on topics related to patent landscaping, industry and market research, business incorporation, accounting and finance, getting investment ready, and creating social impact.
Expanding the LaunchPad enables it to host special programs. This summer it hosted 47 high school students from nine countries for a summer boot camp in entrepreneurship. It also hosted visiting students from five universities in the United Arab Emirates, and visiting Fulbright Scholars from around the world. This fall it will host a “Call for Code” hackathon on September 14-15, and a NSF iCorps regional course on September 28 and 29, and October 12.
The LaunchPad is also the location for courses such as EEE’s “LaunchPad,” taught by John Torrens, and the IDS “Sandbox,” taught by John Liddy. It hosts a new EEE course, “Venture Creation” taught by Linda Dickerson Hartsock this fall.
The Blackstone LaunchPad opened in April 2016 in Bird Library. Its goal is to provide faculty, staff, students, and alumni with a welcoming innovation hub to connect participants with Syracuse’s rich innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
More than 2,500 program participants come from all academic disciplines and 89 countries. They have worked on nearly 425 venture ideas, and legally incorporated more than 50 ventures. Working with partners like Invent@SU, the Innovation Law Center, and patent attorneys, Syracuse University students have filed 50 provisional patents, seven non-provisional patents and been granted three utility patents.
Collectively, Syracuse University startups have raised nearly $5 million in external funding, and won almost $750,000 in business plan competitions in the past two years.
Additionally, 4,000 members of the campus community attended Blackstone LaunchPad events last year.
Not all come to the program to start ventures. They come to be part of a creative community, and to explore innovation in an experiential program that compliments their curricular programs. The program focuses on skill development that will prepare them to bring innovation skills like agility, opportunity identification, team building, problem solving and project management, and gain critical thinking experience through research and discovery. The program outcome is preparing students who are global citizens better prepared to be change- makers in an entrepreneurial world.
The LaunchPad is home of the “Entrepreneurship Roundtable,” a coalition of campus faculty and staff engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship. It works closely with Syracuse University resource providers like the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship (Couri Hatchery, WISE Women’s Business Center, South Side Innovation Center), the Newhouse Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, the Syracuse Center of Excellence, the Innovation Law Center, Invent@SU, and many other campus partners.
The LaunchPad also hosts student entrepreneurship clubs such as Vision, a cross campus organization promoting tech and tools to help startups, PANGEA, a global student entrepreneurship club, the Women’s Network of leaders and founders, and Thrive@SU, a social impact student organization.
The LaunchPad closely collaborates with regional resource providers such as the CNY Biotechnology Accelerator, The Tech Garden, U.S. Small Business Administration, and the New York State Small Business Development Center, SCORE, CNY Technology Development Organization (TDO), Insourcing, Launch NY, Manufacturer’s Association of Central New York (MACNY), MedTech, Syracuse CoWorks, and Upstate Venture Connect.
The goal is an aligned and connected campus and community ecosystem.
The event is free of charge and open to all. Reservations are requested to help planning for refreshments: LaunchPad@syr.edu