December 1st marked a significant milestone for participants in the 2017-2018 Cornell eLab program. eLab provides teams of students with an intensive environment to grow their early-stage startups, all while gaining access to various mentorship and financial resources at Cornell. The fifteen teams this year are now about one-third of the way through the program, and have spent the past semester focusing on market research and finding their target customer. This focus on research is reflective of Cornell’s evidence-based entrepreneurship style, taught at eLab.
On September 13, Cornell hosted its annual entrepreneurship kickoff event in Kennedy Hall eHub. The event drew current students, alumni, and faculty to explore the different facets of Cornell entrepreneurship.
On April 27, 11 of the 15 eLab teams gathered at the Statler Auditorium at Cornell for the event that cemented their hard work over the past year: eLab Demo Day. Demo Day isn’t any ordinary pitch—all the teams have done pitches of their startups countless times. At Demo Day, the teams pitch what problem they are looking to solve, how their idea meets that problem, and how their business turns that idea into reality. But this time, it’s a pitch in front of a crowd that includes students, faculty, and alumni passionate about entrepreneurship along with investors and venture capitalists who can provide key funding to take these startups to the next level.
If you were to think of an entrepreneur’s qualities as tools in a builder’s toolbox, flexibility would likely be the level; just as a good builder needs a level to adjust measurements and designs, every serious entrepreneur needs flexibility to adapt his or her business. Cornell Environmental and Sustainability Studies student Sam Kramer (’18) recognizes this; in fact, he has lived it through his renewable energy investment company, InvestMend. From an online marketplace highlighting renewable energy investments, InvestMend has evolved to focus on more personal intereactions with investors. For more on Sam and InvestMend, click below:
Have you ever felt like the world of startup investment is unreachable outside your weekly episode of Shark Tank? Mike Annunziata, a student at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, hopes to change that. Annunziata is Cornell’s new partner for Dorm Room Fund: a student venture fund backed by First Round Capital. Click below for more:
First-time entrepreneurs tend to see it as counterproductive; we think we already know who our customer is, and we think the first step should be building our idea (app, website, product, etc.) as quickly and as best as we can. The truth is you’re probably wrong about who your customer is if you haven’t done customer discovery, and if you don’t truly understand the person who will be using your thing, you won’t be able to make your thing the thing they want to use.
Commonly labeled as America’s “favorite leafy green,” spinach has always been very popular; still, many people can only access West Coast grown spinach in the supermarket or purchase the vegetable during the limited months it is available in farmers’ markets. To solve this problem, two MBA Cornell students, Serdar Mizrakci and Ziad Jarjouhi, founded PureSpinach. PureSpinach provides people with the fresh spinach through local, hydroponic growing methods.
The concept of 3D printing is rapidly growing in the manufacturing industry, but there is still significant room for growth in the consumer market (learn more about industry trends here). To leverage this opportunity, Valerie Mack (Master of Professional Studies, ’17), Khalil Hajji (Master of Engineering, 2017), Mutahir Kazmi (Master of Engineering, ‘17), and Leo Jingyang Liu (Master of Architecture, ‘18) founded Dimitri: a startup that aims to bring autonomy and consumer centricity to the world using 3D printing.
Why can’t a fresh cut vegetable last longer? Can we offer an alternative to frozen vegetables that provides comparable shelf-life yet still retains the fresh qualities of vegetables in the natural produce aisle? These questions led to the research for a solution and after months of hard work, Vipul Saran (Masters in Food Science, ‘17) and his Advisor, Dr. Syed Rizvi, discovered a new innovative process to achieve this with fresh cut peeled potato French fries. This novel processing methodology extends the shelf-life of fresh cut potato for at least 60 days, without refrigeration, something never achieved before in the space. They believe for this to potentially work on other vegetables and fruits too and are constantly working to prove it.
According to Cornell entrepreneur Shaibyaa Rajbhandari (‘18), “College is the best time to take a risk.” Rajbhandari believes this so strongly that she has embraced the risk of starting not one, but two social ventures during her time as a student at Cornell University. The resources that Cornell has provided her and many other entrepreneurs has helped grow businesses and drive the world economy forward. Click below to read about how Cornell’s entrepreneurs have used the school’s resources to help achieve success:
After a competitive round of interviews that took place from September 27-29, Cornell’s eLab program has announced the teams it will be moving into the program. With the start of Bootcamp 1 on October 15, the momentum has only been growing.
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.
Do you ever wish you could play the drums but don’t have space to store them or time for lessons? Spectrums is revolutionizing the way you think about playing music. The eLab graduate company has developed a ring that detects the color of objects it touches. The ring sends a signal to your mobile device and plays a corresponding sound for hours of musical exploration. Sounds range from traditional drum sounds to animal calls to your own recordings.
Applications for eLab are due this Friday April 25th! If your team is serious about pursuing your business beyond a class project context, consider submitting your application to eLab and join the eLab family!
16) Your value in society is solely determined by your ability to clearly communicate your ideas to other people: If you want to accomplish anything, you have to first be able to communicate what that thing is. To me now this means concise (5 lines or less) emails, one-pagers, and simple PowerPoint slides but you should decide what this means for you and your aspirations.