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Syracuse Blackstone LaunchPad alumni headline Black Tech Panel as part of the country’s largest Juneteenth Festival in Tulsa

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The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is joining forces with the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University to host Tulsa Juneteenth Festival’s Black Tech Panel on Friday June 17. Powered by CLLCTVE, a Syracuse University alumni company founded by Kelsey Davis ’19 G’20, the event will be hosted by Atento Capital, an investment firm focused on underrepresented minorities and women, funded through a deep relationship with the George Kaiser Family Foundation.  

The Black Tech Panel will feature three renowned Black business owners who are alumni of Syracuse University and the Blackstone LaunchPad + Techstars networks. Together, they have raised more than $25 million in venture capital to commercialize the venture ideas they launched as students.

Along with Davis, panelists will include Josh Aviv ’15 G’17, Founder and CEO of SparkCharge and Shawn Gaetano ’21, Founder and CEO of Solace Vision. Serving as moderator will be SU alum Dayanna Torres ’06 G’09, Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

Separately, the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University is sponsoring College of Law student Zebedayo Masongo L ’23, founder of the Grnwood, a digital media platform inspired by the historic Greenwood district, to participate in Black Media programming as part of Tulsa’s Juneteenth Festival.

Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad, curated the Black Tech Panel event and will also attend. “The LaunchPad is excited to support this event showcasing inspiring Syracuse University Black founders who are alumni of our program,” said Dickerson Hartsock. “It will be an engaging conversation with actionable ideas about how to leverage resources to catalyze innovation in life, career, and community. Kudos to CLLCTVE for driving partnerships, empowerment and entrepreneurial spirit that are at the heart of a new economic boom in Tulsa.”

“‘The legacy of Black Wall Street presented opportunities for entrepreneurs 100 years ago in the name of freedom. They had an ecosystem. Belonging. Economy. My mission is to reignite that alongside the work that’s already happening here,” said Davis.

 “Quite simply being a Black leader in clean tech, means you must hustle harder, and do so with ten times the tenacity of those around you,” said Aviv. “That tenacity creates a path for others to follow. The more of us that push through the hurdles in front of us, the wider that path becomes for those that follow us. It’s an honor to be a part of the Tulsa Juneteenth Festival Black Tech Panel. To take the stage with other leaders of color and share our stories, will help us all blaze more paths forward.”

“I’m ecstatic to be speaking on the Black Tech Panel,” added Gaetano. “As a Black founder of a technology startup, I know first-hand how difficult it is to build a company in a space where I look different from my counterparts. My goal for the panel is to motivate and assist other Black entrepreneurs breaking into the technology industry by sharing my personal insights, experiences, and resources that have helped me navigate the space and build a venture-backed, Black-led technology company. Tulsa’s minority-led startup ecosystem is growing at an unprecedented rate, and I’m grateful to take part in this pivotal moment in history.”

The panel will be part of a larger Tulsa Juneteenth Festival, from June 16-19, designed to help identify systems, structures, policies, and gaps that are in place that widen the economic gap for Black Americans. The largest Juneteenth celebration in the nation, it is expected to attract more than 50,000 people to Tulsa.

Juneteenth was established in 2021 as a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery and celebrating African American culture. It originated in Galveston, Texas and was informally celebrated in various communities until the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was enacted into law. This program will be a signature event at a national level.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Greenwood district in Tulsa, Oklahoma was a Black economic and cultural mecca, proudly known as Black Wall Street. In 1921, a 40 square block area of the destroyed in what is considered one of the most horrific acts of racial violence in American history. After the massacre, Black business owners focused on education and entrepreneurship as tools for recovery and resilience, as they rebuilt the 1,000 homes and businesses that had been destroyed. A 2021 Forbes feature story describes the “revival of Black entrepreneurial spirit” as part of Tulsa’s New Black Wall Street.

About the Moderator:  Dayanna Torres, Director of Blackstone Charitable Foundation

Dayanna Torres is a Director at the Blackstone Charitable Foundation where she serves as the Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad Network. She brings over thirteen years of experience in higher education, nonprofit, and the public sector. In her role at the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, she helps empower entrepreneurs and bring entrepreneurial skill-building to students who need it most through the Blackstone LaunchPad program. In 2020, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced a $40 million expansion of LaunchPad to exclusively support colleges and universities that have a majority diverse population or are serving under-resourced communities. In doing so, it will increase its program from 46 to 75 campuses over the next five years.

Prior to Blackstone Dayanna held roles as a consultant and worked with communities to develop new partnerships and investment solutions that are responsive to unique needs of underserved neighborhoods. Dayanna holds her bachelor’s and a dual master’s degrees from Syracuse University.

About the panelists who launched their businesses from the Blackstone LaunchPad at SU Libraries

Joshua Aviv, Founder and CEO of SparkCharge

Joshua is a certified Data Scientist and the Founder & CEO of SparkCharge, with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in information management. He is a dynamic figure in the cleantech community and was named to Insider’s 100 Business Transformers list and AfroTech’s Future 50. Joshua was featured on Shark Tank, winning a $1 million investment and partnerships with both Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. He is a graduate of Techstars Boston and Greentown Labs in Boston, and previously won the New York State Business Plan Competition, 43 North and numerous other competitions. He is frequently mentioned in leading business and technology publications, including two articles this past month in Inc. He was just named EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year, New England. Spark Charge is the world’s first mobile EV charging network and has seen record-breaking growth and is on track to deliver millions of miles of charge to electric vehicles this year, which will prevent over 85 tons of CO2 pollution from being created. A recent round of funding will help expand its delivery system, powered by its Currently mobile app, to more than 20 additional markets and enable the organization to develop new mobile charging products.

Kelsey Davis, Founder and CEO of CLLCTVE

Kelsey Davis is the Founder/CEO of CLLCTVE, a portfolio platform connecting creators to their next opportunity. Based in Los Angeles, CA, and Tulsa, OK, her technology startup is fueled by partners like Google and Techstars. Prior to CLLCTVE, Davis produced visual content for global consumer brands like Coca Cola, Land Rover, and Puma, and worked for Conde Nast Entertainment and Uniworld Group in NYC in ATL. Since graduating from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in television, radio, and film and a master’s degree in entrepreneurship, Davis has already been featured as a next-gen leader in Forbes 30 Under 30, Adweek, and the NYTimes. She is a graduate of the Techstars LA program.

Shawn Gaetano, Founder and CEO of Solace Vision

Shawn Gaetano is the founder and CEO of Solace Vision, a no-code Metaverse creation tool. Shawn graduated from Syracuse University in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in information technology, which he accredits to helping him achieve his current success. While at Syracuse, Shawn was the Director of the NEXIS Technology Lab, where he created Solace Vision during his sophomore year. He was also heavily involved with the Blackstone Launchpad at Syracuse, which helped him turn Solace Vision from an idea into a venture-backed technology company. Solace Vision has recently graduated from the Techstars Music Los Angeles 2022 cohort and is currently developing their technology which enables everyone to become a creator in the virtual world.‍

About the Blackstone Charitable Foundation

Founded in 2007, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation creates programs that enhance entrepreneurial ecosystems. By leveraging the resources and intellectual capital of Blackstone, we empower entrepreneurs, create an environment where careers can flourish and support the communities in which we live and work.

About the Blackstone LaunchPad at SU Libraries

The Blackstone LaunchPad is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the campus resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors, and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and recent alumni across all disciplines who are interested in entrepreneurship, venture creation, and innovation careers. The program supports a key pillar of Syracuse University’s academic strategic plan to give students experiential opportunities that help prepare them to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.

Blackstone LaunchPad to host Arts Entrepreneurship Accelerator for creatives this summer

Peter DePasquale ’12

Creative business coach Peter DePasquale ’12 (dual BFA in arts education and printmaking from Syracuse University), as well as an MFA (printmaking from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) will be leading a four week intensive “bootcamp” accelerator to help students and recent alumni learn how to commercialize their creative endeavors. Space is limited and will be open on a competitive basis to those pursuing professional pathways in all aspects of the visual and performing arts, writers, musicians, designers, and aspiring NFT producers, as well as creatives who are fabricators and makers.

Fortunately, DePasquale is an expert in this arena. He is eager to share that expertise with fledgling artistic professionals across all disciplines, sole proprietors and small business startups, and creative arts students alike via this program which he will be virtually hosting at the Blackstone Launchpad over this upcoming July and August. The four-week program starts on Monday July 11 and runs until Wednesday August 3, with sessions held each week on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:00 p.m. EST to 8:30 p.m. EST via Zoom. The program is open to a maximum of 14 people, so apply early before seats fill up.

DePasquale is the co-owner and production director of MINIMA-MAXIMA, a gender inclusive “wearables” company that specializes in crafting bolo ties and ear jackets which incorporate stunning geometrical patterns in their design philosophy. He serves as the primary technician for small batch manufacturing of in-house merchandise — creating, editing, and producing laser cut components for their handcrafted wooden and acrylic products. He also trains the studio assistants on production methods and manages the day-to-day operations, including accounting and tax preparations, client correspondence, shipping and receiving, and e-commerce maintenance and expansion.

He has also been a professional printmaker, visual artist, jewelry maker and expert NFT artist. Additionally, he provides creative business consulting services out of Pittsburgh, PA, where he now resides, and has been supporting creative businesses in this way for nearly five years.

DePasquale’s program, like his consulting work, is designed to educate and coach artistic entrepreneurs on the core essentials of starting, running, and maintaining a successful art-based business that sells to both retail and wholesale clients — in spaces both physical and digital. This program will help create a community of support for artist business-owners moving forward — aiming to foster collaboration and local assistance in tackling the daunting task of launching and maintaining a professional artistic endeavor.

Participants in DePasquale’s program will learn the principles of creating thoughtful work; selling it in-person events and through an E-commerce platform; managing the production of items and keeping an inventory system; managing customer service; ordering sustainable materials and supplies; customizing shipping procedures and operating on a shipping platform; meeting legal requirements of state and federal standards; social media account management; fundamentals of bookkeeping and financial management for creatives and artists.

The Blackstone LaunchPad is pleased to support this intensive summer accelerator. Nearly 40% of LaunchPad participants are creatives such as artists, photographers, filmmakers, animators, illustrators, authors, illustrators, fashion designers, graphic designers, musicians, and makers.  “Creatives are the quintessential entrepreneurs,” says Linda Dickerson Hartsock, director of the LaunchPad, who is also an arts entrepreneur, as one of the co-founders of the Center for the Arts of Homer. “Creative economies help build strong communities, and these professions are increasingly primary career paths and side-gigs for many members of GenZ.”

Serving as peer mentor and program support for the accelerator will be John (Jack) Rose ‘24, a writer and entrepreneurship student at Syracuse University. Rose is founder of Bladepoint Media and a passionate storyteller who is working on his first book. His goal is to combine his love of writing and creativity, combined with his knowledge of the business world, in a meaningful way to bring positive impact and value to others. He will be available to work with students throughout the program.

The cost to participate is $125 per individual for the entire four week virtual program, paid directly to DePasquale. Interested parties should email Peter DePasquale directly at peter@minima-maxima.com.

He asks that you please include the following:

  • Full Name
  • Contact Information (name, e-mail, phone)
  • Student/Alumni
  • Employment Status
  • Primary Artistic or Creative Medium
  • History of Owning/Running a Business (if applicable)

Story by Jack Rose ’24

Ben Ford ’23 named Summer Analyst at the Blackstone Charitable Foundation

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Ben Ford ’23, founder of Fundwurx, a data science driven giving platform that uses state of the art machine learning technology to better connect a younger generation of donors with non-profits, has been selected for a prestigious Blackstone Charitable Foundation Summer Analyst role, starting in June. 

The program awards two positions to dynamic, motivated, and industrious summer interns to support BX Connects and Blackstone LaunchPad programs as well as other Foundation initiatives.

Ford has been an active member of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University where he is Rubin Family Innovation Mentor and has won numerous impact entrepreneurship competitions.

Ford is pursuing a dual BS in Marketing & Data Analytics at Whitman and the iSchool and a passionate social entrepreneur combining interests in finance and marketing through his startup venture, Fundwurx.

In his role he will support the Blackstone LaunchPad program operations, ranging from weekly strategy and planning meetings with program partners to facilitating new school onboarding meetings over the summer. He will collaborate with external partners on student entrepreneurship programming and perform research as needed around corporate philanthropy or the entrepreneurship sector.

He was selected for the role for his strong interest in social impact, the nonprofit sector, and the field of entrepreneurship.

Founded in 2007, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation (BXCF) leads all charitable initiatives throughout the firm. By leveraging the resources and intellectual capital of Blackstone, it empowers entrepreneurs, creates an environment where careers can flourish and supports the communities in which employees live and work.

Syracuse student startup Secwins selected for prestigious Griffiss Institute first cohort of HUSTLE Defense Accelerator

catherine forrest in a graduation gown
Secwins CEO Catherine Forrest ’22

Griffiss Institute President & CEO Heather Hage has announced the first-ever cohort of the HUSTLE Defense Accelerator. The program is an elite and immersive 12-week training academy for seed-stage startups developing artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, quantum science, and unmanned aircraft system solutions.

Secwins, a cyber security tech startup co-founded by Catherine Forrest ’22 and Abdullah Naimzadeh G’22 was one of the five ventures accepted into the inaugural cohort. Forrest, CEO of the company, recently graduated summa cum laude from the iSchool. She was co-founder and President of CryptoCuse and President of WiTec, both student organizations that provides students with information and connections around blockchain, cryptocurrency, DeFi, cybersecurity, technology policy standards, and other related areas.

Secwins aims to develop a SaaS solution, utilizing digital twin technology and machine learning/artificial intelligence to more accurately model the socio-technical complexities of the cyber strategic environment. The solution will be delivered via a web hosted data dashboard and API. Secwins will simulate cyber scenarios that generate anticipatory insights about the complexities and nuances of the digital landscape, thereby enabling more effective data-driven strategic cybersecurity decision-making.

“The Griffiss Institute is incredibly excited to host these innovative startup leaders at the Innovare Advancement Center and provide them access to all of the amazing talent and technology resources we offer,” said Hage. “Creating the HUSTLE Defense Accelerator was a natural next step forward in our commitment to elevate the next generation of STEM students, professionals, and technologies. I’m confident one of these teams will emerge as the next big idea for national security.”

Throughout 12 weeks – beginning on May 23, 2022, at the Innovare Advancement Center in Rome, New York – select startup leaders will have the opportunity to sharpen their skills in running a business. They will be provided with daily education and mentoring through a group of highly talented professionals. In addition, participants can partake in a track unique to the HUSTLE accelerator, where they will learn how to work with government, opening the door to countless opportunities for their small businesses to grow.

The final day of the program will feature a “Pitch Day” where teams will present their businesses for a chance to win a $300,000 cash prize.

Other participants chosen because of their potential to elevate U.S. national security and economic competitiveness include:

  • McGuirk USA
  • CyberSpara
  • Neuromorphic Intelligent Computing
  • ThermoAI

In addition to the comprehensive HUSTLE curriculum, these participants will gain access to many Innovare events, including guest speakers, networking, community engagement, and more.

The Griffiss Institute is an independent non-for-profit entity established in 2002. It aims to develop the next generation of STEM talent and defense technologies that will strengthen U.S. national security and create economic opportunity for our region, state, and nation. Learn more about the HUSTLE Defense Accelerator and how to participate in future cohorts here.

SparkCharge Raises $23 Million to Scale

Headshot of Josh Aviv in a blue SparkCharge jacket

SparkCharge, the world’s first mobile EV charging network, announced today it is continuing its journey to scale the first mobile and intelligent EV charging network in the U.S. with a Series A funding investment of $23 million co-led by Tale Venture Partners and Pendulum. SparkCharge has also received additional investments from a diverse group, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, the Mark Cuban Companies, and Silicon Valley Bank. Pusha-T and Summer Watson make up some of the high-profile celebrities joining the round, signaling a shift to meet consumer demand for more accessible EV charging solutions.

Josh Aviv ’15 ‘G17, first developed SparkCharge as a student at Syracuse University working with the Blackstone LaunchPad and Syracuse Center of Excellence (CoE), as well as Techstars and Greentown Labs.

“The opportunity to lead SparkCharge’s Series A fits squarely within what we want to do at Tale – continue backing underrepresented founders building compelling businesses and investing in compelling and novel businesses that can generate outsized returns and outcomes, while showing the two aren’t mutually exclusive,” Ed Jean-Louis, Co-founder and Managing Director at Tale Venture Partners. “We saw the makings in 2019 when we made our initial investment in SparkCharge, and the data is even more apparent today. We couldn’t be more excited to continue partnering with Josh and the entire team as we revolutionize electric vehicle charging and help accelerate EV adoption.”

“At Pendulum, we exclusively invest in founders and leaders of color, especially those we believe are set to transform their industry. The burgeoning demand for SparkCharge’s products is a clear indicator of how critical the company’s next phase of growth is,” said Rish Sinha, Managing Director at Pendulum. “SparkCharge has the opportunity to play an important role as the EV industry continues to evolve, making SparkCharge a natural alignment for Pendulum. We are looking forward to working with SparkCharge to deliver this essential, accessible solution to the market.”

SparkCharge has seen record-breaking growth over the past few months with Currently quickly surpassing over 100,000 miles of range delivered to EV owners. The Currently app is now on track to deliver millions of miles of charge to electric vehicles this year, which will prevent over 85 tons of CO2 pollution from being created. More solutions will be deployed throughout the year on the Currently App, all focused on making EV adoption more seamless.

The funding will bolster SparkCharge’s expansion, with goals to scale Currently, SparkCharge’s on-demand mobile charging app that allows users to schedule a charge to be delivered to their EVs. The funding will help Currently expand to over 20 additional markets and enable the organization to develop new mobile charging products. In addition, as fuel prices continue to rise, SparkCharge is primed to help drivers make the easy decision to switch to an EV and rely less on gas-fueled cars by eliminating charging accessibility issues.

“We are honored that our new and existing investors believe in and want to be part of our journey to continue revolutionizing the mobile charging industry,” said Josh Aviv, CEO and Founder of SparkCharge. “With the growth of the EV industry and the major gaps in charging access, we will be better able to scale our EV network regardless of the infrastructures in place. The investments will also allow our team to serve markets where no one else can to meet the needs of EV owners and fleets across the country, in major cities and suburbs.”

The funding comes on the heels of SparkCharge’s significant successes in 2022 thus far. Since the start of the year, SparkCharge has secured several partnerships and programs with global brands leveraging its mobile charging technology, including Kia Motors, Hertz, Uber, and others. SparkCharge’s Currently app has also been launched in four cities with plans to roll out in additional markets.

“SparkCharge is thriving by offering a unique concierge service, while everyone else is pushing the same old, same old self serves,” Mark Cuban, the founder of Mark Cuban Companies, added. “Currently makes charging convenient and accessible to a booming industry, reinvesting in them was an easy decision.”

SparkCharge will be revealing several new products and major updates at its annual showcase SparkDay, the company’s annual event being held this August at its headquarters in Somerville, MA, which will have a huge impact on EV charging.

Founder and CEO Joshua Aviv continues, “The products we reveal on SparkDay are really going to allow for a fundamental shift in the way people perceive EV charging. We are going to disrupt the traditional way EV charging is done at its core and open the world’s eyes to a seamless, connected way of EV charging, effectively removing the EV owner from the EV charging equation. This has never been seen before but it will open the door to the mass adoption of electric vehicles across the globe.”

For more information, please visit www.SparkCharge.io.

ABOUT SPARKCHARGE
SparkCharge has created the world’s largest mobile electric vehicle charging network. This network is now a reality due to three key factors: hardware, software, and brilliant customers. The Roadie Charging System is a portable, powerful, modular charging solution that makes DC fast charging possible anywhere regardless of infrastructure. The app and EV power delivery service Currently, allows EV drivers to have their EV charged wherever and whenever they want. To learn more about SparkCharge go to: www.SparkCharge.io.

SOURCE: SparkCharge

Justin Monaco ’21 G’22 selected for prestigious Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship

headshot of Justin Monaco

Justin Monaco ’21 (biology) and G ’21 (biotechnology) was selected for the prestigious Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship, a 7-week immersive program designed to support student entrepreneurs across the 46-university network. Run in partnership with Future Founders, the 2022 Summer Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship will empower student startups with entrepreneurial resources, mentorship, education, and financial assistance. Student participants will benefit from a community of fellow student entrepreneurs that will motivate them to explore and build on their ideas, and further develop their skills as founders.

Participating student founders will receive a grant to support their time working on advancing their entrepreneurial ventures, as well as other resources and support, including weekly workshops, community-building activities, and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and executives in the LaunchPad network. The program also includes intensive LaunchPad campus director coaching sessions.

The LaunchPad Fellowship program has grown into a signature program of the Blackstone LaunchPad network.  It is funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and coordinated through the Blackstone LaunchPad network and Future Founders.  Helping manage the Fellowship is Syracuse LaunchPad alum Nick Barba who is Program Manager, Startup, for the Chicago-based national organization, Future Founders. Reporting to the Senior Director of Startups and working in close partnership with the President & CEO of Future Founders, Nick is responsible for supporting the Future Founders Fellowship and alumni programming for diverse 18 to 30-year-old founders from across the country. A 2020 graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, Nick was previously the university’s program manager for the Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad.

Monaco will be working on the started he founded as a student at Syracuse University. Illumenar is a teledentistry solution for patients, dentists, insurance companies and employers. It combines imaging, saliva pre-diagnostics and AI to produce a full oral profile right on your phone. Illumenar uses revolutionary technology to see within the internal structure of your teeth, creating 3D X-ray like images of without ionizing rays and radiation. Saliva strips offer a look at micro-organisms living within the oral microbiome to give a better picture of oral and overall health conditions. Machine learning helps Illumenar compile data and cross-reference it within a database to provide behavioral recommendations to help improve oral health.

Monaco developed the idea as part of summer accelerator program, Invent@SU, then worked with his co-founder Bruno Gonzalez-Hauger ’21 (Whitman/Newhouse) G’22 (entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises) through the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University.  Together, they have created a detailed product and business development roadmap and are now actively raising pre-seed investment. There were also active peer mentors with the Syracuse LaunchPad, as well as successful student founders who won multiple business plan competitions.

With a long interest in oral health, startups, and entrepreneurship, Monaco has worked as a dental assistance and learned what it takes to deliver top quality dental care. His goal is now to integrate technology, teledentistry and trends in personalized health in a digital solution to enhance preventative care.

Senior social + graduation cake party on May 13

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It’s a cake party! Stop by the Blackstone LaunchPad with your family on Friday, May 13 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for a “Senior Launch Party” celebrating Syracuse innovators who are graduating. Seniors, their friends and families, as well as all LaunchPad program participants, are invited to come enjoy festive cake, and share memories, and plans for the future.

We have loved working with you through the Blackstone LaunchPad program, and wish you all the best as you start the exciting next chapter of your journey. We know that you will be innovation leaders wherever you go!

Come say farewell and good luck, and enjoy some friendship and good spirit before graduation day.  Please bring family and friends.

Congratulations, Class of 2022!

The LaunchPad is open this summer!

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Summer is headed our way and the LaunchPad will be open for business.  If you’re on campus, drop by Bird Library and feel free to work here.  If you’re working from a remote location, we are also available by phone or video chat all summer.  This is our last newsletter of the semester, but follow us on LinkedIn to stay in the loop on programs, people, activities, events and resources.  Summer is a great way to work on your venture idea. 

Here are some fun ways to stay engaged:

Kick around ideas with us.  Been noodling an idea around in your head but don’t have anyone to talk to about it?  We’re here for you.  Reach out to LaunchPad@syr.edu for a chat. 

Get coaching.  Summer is the time to double down on coaching.  E-mail us at LaunchPad@syr.edu to get coaching.  Our mentor list rapidly expanding through alumni and industry connections who are happy to help provide feedback and guidance.  Learn more about our mentorship program here.

Build your roadmap. We have a roadmap process that will get you from idea to launch.  It’s a surefire recipe for success.  Check it out, and access tons of other free resources on our website.  Summer is the time to build that venture that you didn’t have time for during the academic year – and also a great time to make traction on what you’re already started.

Work on your pitch.  There are so many exciting competitions coming up this academic year.  Get a head start on them by building your pitch deck or refining the one you have.  Get feedback.  Practice.  It could also be time to try that pitch out on some investors.  We can help get you ready.

Catch up on summer reading. The Blackstone Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Book Collection continues to grow, with many titles available in electronic editions.  This award-winning collection, crowdsourced with the help of faculty, staff and students, is one of the most widely circulated categories of books at SU Libraries. Entrepreneurship starts with exploration, and there is no time like summer to kick back and read.  Here’s a link to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship book collection.

Summer is headed our way and the LaunchPad will be open for business.  If you’re on campus, drop by Bird Library and feel free to work here.  If you’re working from a remote location, we are also available by phone or video chat all summer.  This is our last newsletter of the semester, but follow us on LinkedIn to stay in the loop on programs, people, activities, events and resources.  Keep up on your summer innovation reading too!

Summer is a great way to work on your venture idea.  Here are some fun ways to stay engaged:

Kick around ideas with us.  Been noodling an idea around in your head but don’t have anyone to talk to about it?  We’re here for you.  Reach out to LaunchPad@syr.edu for a chat. 

Get coaching.  Summer is the time to double down on coaching.  E-mail us at LaunchPad@syr.edu to get coaching.  Our mentor list rapidly expanding through alumni and industry connections who are happy to help provide feedback and guidance.  Learn more about our mentorship program here.

Build your roadmap. We have a roadmap process that will get you from idea to launch.  It’s a surefire recipe for success.  Check it out, and access tons of other free resources on our website.  Summer is the time to build that venture that you didn’t have time for during the academic year – and also a great time to make traction on what you’re already started.

Work on your pitch.  There are so many exciting competitions coming up this academic year.  Get a head start on them by building your pitch deck or refining the one you have.  Get feedback.  Practice.  It could also be time to try that pitch out on some investors.  We can help get you ready.

Catch up on summer reading. The Blackstone Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Book Collection continues to grow, with many titles available in electronic editions.  This award-winning collection, crowdsourced with the help of faculty, staff and students, is one of the most widely circulated categories of books at SU Libraries. Entrepreneurship starts with exploration, and there is no time like summer to kick back and read.  Here’s a link to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship book collection.

Catch up on summer innovation reading

photo of book and tea

There is no better time to enjoy a good book than summer. Browse the e-versions of The LaunchPad’s collection of entrepreneurship and innovation books available via Syracuse University Libraries.  To explore the titles on a dynamic guide featuring book covers, book descriptions, subject lists, and links to each book’s catalog record and eBook version (when available), visit this link.

The collection continues to grow every year, and certain titles have been adopted as suggested reading by faculty teaching entrepreneurship and related subjects.

If you have recommendations for books that could added to the collection, feel free to e-mail those suggestions for consideration, along with titles and authors, to LaunchPad@syr.edu

You can easily browse the most current version of Blackstone LaunchPad book collection titles here at https://researchguides.library.syr.edu/launchpadbooklist.

The subject lists include both the print and eBook versions (if available) of each title.

Here are some quick links to the most current collection:

Links organized by topic area:

Entrepreneurship and innovation books beyond the ones listed here may be found by searching in Summon and the Classic Catalog.

PS – Summer reading goes great with iced tea!

Congratulations to Noah Mechnig-Giordano 22 G’23 on winning first place in the NYBPC and appearing twice in April on PBS

The New York Business Plan (NYBPC) held its Grand Prize finals last week at Venture NY, the marquee early-stage event hosted at WCNY – PBS. Grand Prize winner was Photonect from the University of Rochester, a fiber-to-chip attachment. First place in the Ag & Food Tech division went to Syracuse University student Noah Mechnig-Giordano, founder of Happy Loose Leaf Tea. This is the second time in a month that Noah was featured on a PBS broadcast, appearing earlier in April in the ACC InVenture Prize, televised by PBS Atlanta. Noah is an Engineering and Computer Science & MBA student in the 3/2 program.

Noah at the Venture NY WCNY-PBS broadcast
Noah at the ACC InVenture Prize PBS Atlanta broadcast production

Upstate Capital has been leading the statewide intercollegiate entrepreneurship competition for the past 5 years to support New York’s next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. The NYBPC has 3 goals: to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and skills, to build personal networks connecting students to organizations in New York, and to launch new ventures. The program started in 2010 and has served more than 6,000 students and helped launch 100s of ventures.

The NYBPC is supported by over 100 people and organizations with personal donations and corporate sponsorships, including NYSTAR, the SUNY Research Foundation, NY Ventures and the Techstars Foundation.

Upstate Capital’s President and CEO, Noa Conger-Simons says, “This program has impacted more than 6,000 students since its inception in 2010, with more than $150M of economic impact that can be attributed to student-led ventures that have gone through the program, and hundreds of innovations that have led to commercialization over the past decade.”

Since March, student teams from across the state competed first at the regional level and next through two rounds of competition at the state level. Every team competed in one of six industry tracks: Food & Agtech, Safety, Power & Mobility, Health & Wellbeing, Media, Art & Entertainment, Software & Services, and Products & Hardware. On April 27, the top team from each of the six tracks competed for the Grand Prize.

Five special prizes were awarded, three of which supported under-represented founders, sponsored by organizations that helped to establish the criteria for the award. In total, the NYBPC awarded $50,000 in cash prizes to more than 20 teams from more than 200 teams that competed.

About Upstate Capital: The Upstate Capital Association of New York connects investors across the capital stack to opportunities across New York. The member-driven organization increases access to capital for companies and deal flow for investors by maintaining a robust, statewide network of capital providers, professional advisors and supporting organizations. Through regular events and educational content, Upstate Capital facilitates the development of relationships and knowledge to support the PE + M&A community and the VC + Growth ecosystem.