Syracuse University student startup FSCL, founded by Sam Hollander ’22, a Whitman and Newhouse dual major, was accepted by The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse as a new member. Sam is an active member of the LaunchPad where he will be a 2020 – 2021 Rubin Family Innovation Mentor working with other student ventures while building his only company. Sam founded FSCL as a sophomore to solve a problem that he encountered personally, and realized is a looming financial challenge — financing a higher education. In response to student debt that has now climbed to more than $1.76 trillion nationally, FSCL is building a simple, affordable, and flexible alternative finance solution, using the power of Income Share Agreements (ISA’s). Sam’s goal is to become the first company in the country to issue ISA’s at scale to address the student debt crisis.
Sam was mentored this past year by Steve VonDeak, a LaunchPad alumni Entrepreneur in Residence, who is one of the co-founders of Density, an anchor tenant at The Tech Garden. Steve and a number of Syracuse team members launched startups in The Tech Garden as students and recent alumni, and Density scaled to become a business with a footprint in Syracuse, New York City and San Francisco. Density recently closed on a $51 million Series C round of funding, bringing the total raised to about $90 million since the company planted its first seeds at The Tech Garden.
As a new Tech Garden member, Sam will now also have access to business resources, free events, mentors and funding opportunities. Promptous, another Syracuse University student startup, recently received an equity investment through a fund managed by The Tech Garden.
Sam and FSCL will be a virtual tenants at The Tech Garden’s downtown incubator while he continues classes at Syracuse and works out of the Syracuse LaunchPad. He joins three other new Tech Garden members: Tonquin, the “Uber” for auto-parts, which recently moved into a 500 sq. ft. space at The Tech Garden; RF Interconnect, a web-based platform to help engineers in the B2B electronics industry create, select, buy, and protect radio frequency connector technologies from one location; and Salt City Woods, Mill & Kiln, LLC, which offers a variety of products and services from locally sourced kiln dried slabs and dimensional wood.
The Tech Garden is Central New York’s premier tech incubator, supporting over 100 startups in various stages of their entrepreneurial journey, from ideation to expansion. It is part of the innovation and entrepreneurship portfolio of CenterState CEO, a private, not-for-profit organization that serves 12 counties of Central New York as an economic development strategist and business leadership organization.
Before joining Syracuse University, the LaunchPad’s executive director Linda Dickerson Hartsock was VP of Innovation and Technology for CenterState CEO and served concurrently as executive director of The Tech Garden and founding director of its Clean Tech Center, a NYSERDA-funded initiative also operated out of The Tech Garden. The LaunchPad and The Tech Garden have forged a strong working partnership to encourage businesses that start on campus to connect with the community, and leverage resources. The relationship with The Tech Garden expands access to mentors and subject matter experts, professional service providers, beta customers, supply chain partners, pre-seed capital and other specialized expertise to scale potential high-growth companies.
To learn more about becoming a member at The Tech Garden, click here.