eLab: An Entrepreneur’s Dream House

How much can $5,000 contribute to the growth and development of a company? For the student entrepreneurs of Cornell who are eager to take this very first step, this may be the prize they have their eyes set on. However, the monetary reward is only a small part of the package.

Ken Rother, Managing Director of eLab, speaks at the 2016 Entrepreneurship at Cornell Celebration: eLab Demo Day.

Ken Rother, Managing Director of eLab, introduces eLab Demo Day 2016

Welcome to eLab—a student entrepreneur’s dream house at Cornell. For students who have a business concept that they aspire to transform into a running startup, eLab will serve as the perfect platform for this take-off. The recruitment process for 2016-2017 eLab teams recently began with interviews from September 27-29 in which prospective startup teams competed for a limited number of spots. Once teams are chosen, they enter rigorous bootcamp training that focuses on customer analysis and general business development of their startup companies; with this strong foundation, teams will then participate in the eLab Pitch Competition in New York City. This signature event does more than just officially introduce the companies to professionals, mentors, and advisors—it initiates pressure on the teams to exemplify that their company is viable and more importantly, that it boasts a comparative advantage in its industry.

Sam Kramer '18, founder of InvestMend, with his check from eLab after winning this year's eLab Pitch Competition to be the first team to enter this year's eLab program

Sam Kramer ’18, founder of InvestMend, with his check from eLab after winning the eLab Pitch Competition to be the first team to enter this year’s eLab program

The teams that make it to the Spring Semester after the pitch competition then begin to see the fruits of their labor—they receive a $5,000 investment from eLab, and experienced entrepreneurs and personalized mentors are then assigned to each team to help the companies find the type of investment they need. With new resources such as the new eHub space, legal consultation, and the grasping of pitch skills, the teams culminate their year-long efforts into eLab Demo Day: the day where the startups have the opportunity to pitch in front of hundreds of investors and venture capital firms.

The eLab journey is certainly not easy, but the outcome is absolutely incredible. Think about it: a business concept turns into a startup that is backed up by investment capital—all in the time span of one year. Yet, it is the teams’ passion and commitment that really propels this transformation, and such a mentality will need to be maintained as the companies seek further growth and expansion.

For more information about the eLab program, please visit www.elabstartup.com.