When Forbes released its list of the fifteen most innovative college startups earlier this year, two startups from Cornell made the list: Yorango and Maidbot. What else do these two businesses share besides the university where their teammates met? They both are graduates from Life Changing Labs’ summer incubator.
The incubator is open to student startups across the world and offers tremendous opportunities for startups to grow during an intensive eight weeks during the summer. LCL offers its businesses mentorship, legal assistance, networking through dinners with local investors and businesspeople, and more. These resources come free of charge, as LCL take no equity in the businesses in its incubator. Each year, LCL accepts ten to fifteen startups to the summer program.
At an information session last Wednesday, Michael Raspuzzi shared these tips for entrepreneurs applying to the incubator:
- Make an effort to pursue your idea.
Although some entrepreneurs come into the program without any experience, demonstrating you have already put some effort into developing or sharing your business idea goes a long way. Pitch your idea at a local pitch contest, go talk to someone at Blackstone LaunchPad about your plans, or talk to your potential customers about their tastes and preferences. A little initiative now shows you will make the most of the resources LCL offers during the summer.
- Build a team.
Having more minds fueling your project means you have more input and you can get more done in the incubator. Some individual entrepreneurs come into the incubator, but strong teams typically include two to four people. This collection of minds is typically focused and thrive in the programming LCL offers. That said, LCL welcomes teams of all sizes and looks forward to reviewing applications.
- Be open to adding new members.
In addition to accepting startups to the incubator, Life Changing Labs accepts some individuals that are interested in entrepreneurship but do not have business ideas. Also, some high school students get involved through Life Changing Summer, now in its second year. Some of these interns help develop LCL’s programming, while others work directly for the startups. The startups ultimately have final control whether to include interns into their teams, but be open to the talent LCL recruits and potential additions that would be mutually beneficial.