Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman) and CLLCTVE, a team of student entrepreneurs from Syracuse University, havebeen selected to participate in the spring 2020 cohort of LaunchPad Lift. The program takes ten college student business ventures from the U.S. and Ireland to the next level by providing a $10,000 grant, dedicated mentoring, peer networking, and critical education on advanced startup topics like fundraising, growing sales, hiring executives, and formalizing their supply chain. CLLCTVE, a student startup founded by Davis, is part of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at SU libraries and is a digital platform connecting college creatives with brands targeting Gen-Z.
“The Lift program provides a unique opportunity for some of our most successful LaunchPad student entrepreneurs to gain access to unparalleled mentorship from the Blackstone and Techstars networks, which really sets our student founders up for future success,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
“We’re primarily looking forward to having access to specific guidance pertaining to creating sales leads, managing customer relationships, and developing automated workflow systems that enable us to scale effectively on the product side. Our team is honored to be working with Techstars’ mentor network and we’re super excited to participate in this program,” said Davis, who is a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor at the Syracuse University LaunchPad.
Companies participating in the LaunchPad Lift program this spring operate in a wide range of industries, including financial services, transportation, manufacturing, biotech, professional services, and information technology. Participants were nominated by entrepreneurship center campus directors from 24 LaunchPad network schools. In addition to Syracuse University, students selected study at schools including Montana State University, Texas A&M, the University of Texas, Austin and Dallas, the University of California, Berkeley and San Diego, the University of Southern California, Trinity College Dublin, and the University College Cork.
This is the second Syracuse University student startup to be selected for the LaunchPad Lift program. Matt Shumer ’22 (Whitman), founder of Visos, completed the summer 2019 LaunchPad Lift cohort. That experience propelled him to be selected as one of six student ventures from the global LaunchPad network to be sponsored to pitch at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in early January in Las Vegas. Shumer is now working with Babak Kia, his Techstars mentor, who is a senior lecturer at Boston University’s college of engineering and a board member and advisor to some of the nation’s innovative technology companies.
“The LaunchPad Lift program enabled Visos to grow faster than we thought possible, and connect with world-class partners, customers, and industry leaders,” said Shumer. The program led to the opportunity to speak at CES 2020 which was pivotal to the company, leading to the next phase of our growth.”
“Our partnership with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Techstars and our generous donors has enabled us to not only support our student and campus startups, like CLLCTVE and Visos, to advance their ideas within the greater University community, but it’s given them access to world-class resources,” said David Seaman, Dean of Syracuse University Libraries.
Instructors in the spring 2020 cohort of LaunchPad Lift include Zach Nies, Managing Director, Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, and Amos Schwartzfarb, Managing Director, Techstars Austin, and author of Sell More Faster.
In addition to this programming, once a year, participants from both the spring and summer LaunchPad Lift cohorts come together at a culminating showcase event, where the top collegiate entrepreneurs compete in front of potential investors and Techstars accelerator managing directors for up to $50,000, provided by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Davis won $10,000 second place in a pitch event at LaunchPad Propel, a network-wide gathering this past November in New York City.
About the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries
The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars in Bird Library is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and alumni across disciplines who are interested in innovation, invention, entrepreneurship, venture creation, and taking ideas from concept to commercialization. The program supports a key pillar of Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan to create an innovation ecosystem across the institution that prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.