Three Syracuse University startups accepted for prestigious spring fellowships

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Photo supplied by Techstars of previous LaunchPad students in the global network

We are excited to announce that three Syracuse University student startups have been awarded Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars LaunchPad Fellowships for the spring 2021 semester.  They are among an elite group of student ventures that will engage them in a 15-week mentor-driven program with access to industry experts, successful entrepreneurs, exclusive guest speakers, and investors, along with $5,000 in non-dilutive grant funding to support their time working on advancing technology ventures.  The founders are:  Jackson Ensley, founder of Popcycle, Shawn Gaetano, founder of Solace Ventures, and Courtney Jiggetts, founder of Inkdustrial.

More than 150 teams applied to the network-wide competition.  The spring program focuses on technology ventures, including ventures that are either developing new technology to solve existing problems (such as hardware, software, SAAS and mobile applications and computing, AI, VR, machine-learning, blockchain and cybersecurity startups), or applying current technology to solve new problems or in a new way (such as online platforms and marketplaces, leveraging the IoT, remote/cloud computing, electronic communication and entertainment).

The fellowship will run March 1 to April 23, 2021, and Ensley, Gaetano and Jiggetts will work with the global LaunchPad & Techstars network as well as the Syracuse University campus LaunchPad where they are all actively engaged building their ventures.  Ensley (Whitman) is a current student, and Gaetano (iSchool) and Jiggetts (VPA School of Design) both recently graduated.

The selection committee was comprised of Future Founders, Techstars and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

About the organizers:

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative

The Foundation focuses its efforts in targeted regions of interest to the firm, and works closely with local stakeholders to build programs and make grants to support entrepreneurs. These programs foster networks and provide resources like mentorship, content, and events, to help entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses.


Techstars is the global platform for investment and innovation. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships and Techstars Communities. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 2,200 companies with a market cap of more than $27 Billion.

Techstars operates almost 50 accelerators around the world in places like Boulder, New York City, London, Tel Aviv, and Cape Town. Techstars has both industry agnostic “city” programs, and “vertical” industry programs typically operated in partnership with large corporations. Collectively, the companies that have completed these programs have raised over $9.5 Billion.

Future Founders

Future Founders believes every youth can become an entrepreneur. It was created to foster inclusion in the entrepreneurial community and to seed diverse founders into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. For 18 to 30-year-olds across the country, Future Founders offers various business accelerators to help them create and scale ventures across all industries. It brings together educational institutions, community organizations, and businesses to provide a dynamic suite of services for young founders.