Blackstone LaunchPad Hosts Techstars StartUp Weekend at Syracuse University

The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad) will be hosting a Techstars Startup Weekend in partnership with Google for Startups on September 20 and 21, 2019 at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management (Whitman School) and Bird Library. This event is open to any Syracuse University student interested in learning more about innovation, entrepreneurship, testing ideas, meeting new people, and engaging with a campus and global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs. The marketing partner for the event is the Syracuse University Entrepreneurship Club.

Startup Weekend participants will have an opportunity to pitch an idea, solution, problem or product to the other attendees. All participants will vote on the best ideas, then self-selected teams will be formed to further develop the top concepts with volunteer mentors. The weekend will include market research, presentation building, and creating a pitch that will be delivered to peer judges on Saturday evening. Winning teams will compete for $1,000 in cash prizes, provided by Whitman School. Peer judges include student founders who have competed in state and national competitions, launched companies, and won a Syracuse University business plan competition, such as ‘Cuse Tank, the Impact Prize, Hult Prize, ACC InVenture Prize, Panasci Business Plan Competition, RvD/iPrize, and the HBW Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award.

The event is being organized by four current LaunchPad members: Emma Rothman ’21, Matt Shumer ’22, Sam Hollander ’22, and Alexandra Cianfarani ’22. The four Syracuse University students attended a similar inaugural, exclusive, multi-campus event in Los Angeles in April 2019 hosted by Techstars and Google for Startups. Participants at the event in Los Angeles were asked to create a comparable experience for students at their home colleges and universities.

Jackie Ros,Techstars regional director of the Americas, will be a featured presenter at Startup Weekend at Syracuse University. An alumna of the Techstars accelerator program, Ros led her company, Revolar, as CEO and raised over $5 million from investors, such as Foundry Group. Now she is a well-known entrepreneur, mentor and author. AJ Damiano ‘18, LaunchPad alumnus and founder of PowerSpike, will be the weekend’s master of ceremonies. A Whitman graduate, and graduate of the Techstars accelerator program, Damiano has raised $1.35 million from investors, such as The Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, Techstars Atlanta – in partnership with Cox Enterprises, Dorm Room Fund, and others.

Blackstone LaunchPad Startup Weekend is designed for students who want to gain entrepreneurial experience, even if they have little to no previous background in starting a company. Participants do not need a business idea to attend but should have a passion for problem solving and an interest in meeting like-minded innovators. Participation in the event is free and includes all meals. The first 100 registrants will also receive a t-shirt and premium items, along with door prizes that include books by Techstars authors.

All in attendance will also receive a free meal loaded right into their Good Uncle accounts. “The LaunchPad was a major part of Good Uncle’s original launch, and the partnership has continued as Good Uncle returns for its fourth year,” said Dylan Gans ’18 (Whitman), director of Business Development at Good Uncle and former Dorm Room Fund campus ambassador at the LaunchPad. “We’re excited to partner on this event to fuel new startups at Syracuse University.”

To register for the event, visit:

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.

Cristina Hatem