Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, a program of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship network.

This story was originally publishing on the Techstars blog. View here.

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When Mike Broughton, a student at USC, was $10,000 short on tuition his freshman year, he learned that getting a loan usually requires a credit score. Unfortunately, getting that first credit card requires the healthy credit history of either the primary or a secondary (guarantor) account holder — something many low-income and nontraditional college students lack. His solution when faced with this hurdle? …


Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, a program of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship network.

This piece was originally posted on the TechStars blog. View here.

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How many 13 and 14 year olds found companies? Not many. But thankfully, that is just what sisters Kate and Annie Madden did in 2015 after winning an award at the largest science fair in Ireland, the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The sisters came up with the idea of developing the only totally natural product for stomach problems in horses after noticing the gap in the market. FenuHealth provides a range of products for horses with stomach problems. …


Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, a program of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship network.

This piece was originally posted on the TechStars blog. View here.

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During the summer of 2017, ElecTrip co-founder and CEO, Mandeep Patel recognized an opportunity to more efficiently and effectively serve the city-to-city travel needs of large corporate employers. …


This piece was originally published on the Techstars blog. View here.

Joshua Pierce knows the impact one opportunity or one mentor can have on a young person’s trajectory. As a Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars alum, he is living the “give first” mantra by building a nonprofit organization to educate underserved students about how to acquire economic success. Learn more about his journey and where he hopes to take the Diversity Org in the future.

A 2018 graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and former participant in NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute (Leslie eLab) LaunchPad program, Joshua is the founder of The Diversity Org. The Diversity Org provides underserved high school students career education, college preparedness training, professional mentoring, and corporate internship opportunities. …


What elements are necessary for successful college-based entrepreneurship education? The annual ranking by Entrepreneur Magazine and the Princeton Review is based on a survey that includes more than 60 metrics, including the number and reach of mentorship, scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies, and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.

To help universities expand beyond the traditional classroom-based curriculum, the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars network runs LaunchPad Lift, a 10-week, biannual, virtual mentoring program for student entrepreneurs.

Nominated by LaunchPad network campus directors, Lift participants are selected based on the stage of company, funding and revenue generated to date, need and interest for mentoring, and quality of the student teams. In addition to Q&A video calls with Techstars subject matter experts on a variety of topics critical to the success of startups, including key performance indicators and goal setting, fundraising, product development, and sales and marketing, each student team also receives a $10,000 grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. …


What elements are necessary for successful college-based entrepreneurship education? The annual ranking by Entrepreneur Magazine and the Princeton Review is based on a survey that includes more than 60 metrics, including the number and reach of mentorship, scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies, and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.

To help universities expand beyond the traditional classroom-based curriculum, the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars network runs LaunchPad Lift, a 10-week, biannual, virtual mentoring program for student entrepreneurs.

Nominated by LaunchPad network campus directors, Lift participants are selected based on the stage of company, funding and revenue generated to date, need and interest for mentoring, and quality of the student teams. In addition to Q&A video calls with Techstars subject matter experts on a variety of topics critical to the success of startups, including key performance indicators and goal setting, fundraising, product development, and sales and marketing, each student team also receives a $10,000 grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. …


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Out of nearly 100 student entrepreneurial teams from schools across the U.S. and Ireland, Credit Starter, Cllctve, and Eat Makhana rose above the rest and won in the 2019 Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars pitch competition. Judges from organizations including Blackstone, Techstars and Shutterstock evaluated ventures on business model/viability, team strength, and presentation quality.

“Of course innovation, resilience, and drive are important characteristics of the student founders we want to support and cultivate,” said Blackstone Charitable Foundation executive director Amy Stursberg, “But what really impressed us this year, was the ingenious solutions these young entrepreneurs are developing to address problems their own fellow students struggle with!” …


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In 2014 AJ Damiano was a freshman at Syracuse University and an avid gamer. He started PowerSpike with cofounder and fellow students Michael Paris and Eric Rice based on an opportunity he’d observed working for another startup focused on Twitch-hosted, esports competitions. The issue he identified was fluctuating (and insufficient) revenue generation for gaming users and content creators based on inconsistent donations, advertising, and sponsorships. Looking at more traditional brands and advertising models, AJ believed he could develop a technology solution to this problem.

Early Competition Winnings

With a team of developers experienced in gaming and esports, AJ and his team created PowerSpike, a media buying and analytics solution for esports communities and gaming influencers. While making some early progress, the business was initially totally funded off of winnings from business plan competitions. (Over four years, PowerSpike won nearly $50,000 in these competitions!) …


Today, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars announced leading entrepreneurs from Shutterstock, Upsie, M.M.LaFleur and more will participate as mentors, presenters, and judges at LaunchPad Propel this November. Newly announced LaunchPad Propel mentors, presenters, and judges include:

● Clarence Bethea, founder and CEO of Upsie and Techstars Accelerator Alum (Presenter and Pitch Competition Judge)

● Narie Foster, co-founder of M.M.LaFleur, and Entrepreneur in Residence at the MIT NYC Startup Studio (Presenter)

● Dan Fradin, founder of Impact Wrap and operating partner of Whitecap Enterprises (Presenter)

● Kelly Fryer, program director of the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in New York (Pitch Competition…


Leading Student Entrepreneurs to Pitch and Meet Founder Mentors at 3rd Annual Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Convening

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars have announced headline speakers for its annual convening called Propel, an innovative program that brings together more than 200 exceptional student entrepreneurs from across the LaunchPad network. Student participants at the event will hear from world-class speakers including Jon Gray, Blackstone president and chief operating officer, Josh Hix, Plated co-founder, Kathryn Minshew, co-founder of The Muse, and Neil Blumenthal, who co-founded Warby Parker while in school.

During the two-day event, student teams will have a chance to pitch their business before a panel of judges in order to win $20,000 in cash and prizes to accelerate their ventures’ growth. Attendees will also learn critical lessons, build technical skills and grow their networks as they hear from notable speakers, including a live Give First podcast recording with Techstars co-founder and Managing Partner David Cohen. …

Blackstone Charitable Foundation

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