Kelsey Davis ’19 (NEW), G’20 (Whitman School) and CLLCTVE, a team of student entrepreneurs from Syracuse University, have been selected to participate in the spring 2020 cohort of LaunchPad Lift. The program takes 10 college student business ventures from the United States 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 Syracuse University 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,” says 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,” says Davis, who is a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor at the Syracuse University LaunchPad. “Our team is honored to be working with Techstars’ mentor network, and we’re super excited to participate in this program.”
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 institutions. In addition to Syracuse University, students selected for the Lift program are from Montana State University, Texas A&M University, the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Southern California; the University of Texas at Austin; the University of Texas at Dallas; Trinity College Dublin; and University College Cork.
This is the second Syracuse University student startup to be selected for the LaunchPad Lift program. Matt Shumer ’22, 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,” Shumer says. “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,” says David Seaman, dean of Syracuse University Libraries.
Instructors in the spring 2020 cohort of LaunchPad Lift include Zach Nies, managing director of the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, and Amos Schwartzfarb, managing director of Techstars Austin and author of “Sell More Faster: The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Startups” (Wiley, 2019).
In addition to this programming, participants from both the spring and summer LaunchPad Lift cohorts come together once a year 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 the $10,000 second-place prize in a pitch event at LaunchPad Propel, a network-wide gathering this past November in New York City.
Learn more about the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University.