Cornell’s business accelerator for student startups, eLab, recently accepted its 2018-19 cohort of 15 startups. The for-credit program puts startups through a rigorous nine-month process of refining their ideas, while preparing them to launch companies.
Established in 2008 by Student Agencies Foundation and Entrepreneurship at Cornell, eLab provides classroom learning, mentorship and training for teams of students who have advanced startup ideas. The teams enroll in credit-bearing courses and workshops and learn to interview customers to test their market assumptions and hone their business plans. The eLab program also connects students to alumni mentors and other resources.
After completing eLab, many startups go on to launch their businesses and raise funds.
Said Ken Rother, eLab’s managing director: “eLab is unlike any other class. It empowers entrepreneurially minded students to earn credits while preparing to launch a company. It’s a competitive program to get into and many of our alumni have founded companies, raised funding and successfully sold their businesses.”
Program alumni successes include Eversound (2015), which secured $3 million in venture capital for its wireless headphone product; Specdrums (2016), a music technology company, which was acquired by Sphero, a national robotics firm; and Rosie (2013), an online grocery app, which has hired more than 50 employees and partnered with retailers in 31 U.S. states.
This year’s cohort will benefit from a new member to the eLab teaching team – Andrea Ippolito ’06, M.S. ’07. “I am most excited about joining eLab because there’s so much opportunity to take game-changing ideas and bring them to market,” she said. “Startups, if they’re designed well, serve the needs of customers and can have a huge impact on the economy by creating net new job growth.”
Ippolito studied for her Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she became the co-lead of the Hacking Medicine program. Ippolito cofounded a company called Smart Scheduling for medical practices, and she was the first employee of Topera Medical, a medical device company. Through these entrepreneurial experiences, she found her love of startups and has developed a consumer-focused viewpoint. She is launching a new Cornell program, W.E. Cornell, to train women entrepreneurs from STEM fields.
This year’s eLab cohort and their founders:
- ArcAffinity helps internship coordinators at tech companies improve intern success and retention. Noah Kaplan ’18; Kathy Wang, MPS ’19; Chris Fifty, M.S. ’19; Cheyenne Biolsi, M.S. ’18.
- Bright Citizen makes coffee infused with Saffron and returns 50 percent of profits to empower and educate women in developing countries. Elaha Mohammad, MPA ’19.
- Clyde & Rayhan allows commercial insurance agents to streamline brokering. Clyde McKee, MBA ’19; Rahan Kapadia, MBA ’19.
- Ethichain helps large apparel brands adopt an ethical supply chain by assuring their products are child- and slave labor-free. Andre Bordokan, MBA ’19; Sean Swinford, MBA ’19.
- Housekept optimizes hotel housekeeping. Conrad McCarthy ’19; Christophe Gerlach ’20; Pedro Bobrow ’20; Pippa Thomas ’20.
- Incite helps cardiologists analyze patients’ passive smart-technology data. Kyle Johnson, MBA ’19; Sam Leyens, MBA ’19.
- IvyStart is launching a new service to support digital nomads. Chad Fong ’20.
- Liyanga formulates and manufactures natural hair products for afro-textured hair. Christine Mbaye Muchemu, MBA ’19; Veronica Netondo Muchemu.
- Noozit! provides readers with a cheaper way to read news from multiple publishers. Evan Turner ’19; Skye Richardson ’19; Barron DuBois ’20; Constantin Miranda ’20.
- Religio helps churches connect to and manage relationships with their parishioners. Darr Kadlubowski ’18; Albert Caldarelli ’19; Peter Cetale ’19.
- Response helps procurement officers at nonprofits purchase life-saving supplies twice as fast as today’s standards. Kais Baillargeon ’20; Keivan Shahida ’20; Nolan Gray ’20.
- Shipfair helps apparel manufacturers in emerging markets ship their goods cost effectively by matching them to travelers with extra luggage space. Nichole Bestman, MBA ’19.
- Smart Rest prevents pressure ulcers for bedridden and elderly individuals. Neha Navre, MHA ’19; Paulina Villacreces ’19.
- Strauss is an online portal to simplify buying life insurance. Benjamin Rashbaum, ’18, MBA ’19; Rohan Lewis ’21; Sam Brickman ’21; Jordyn Goldzweig ’21.
- University students leverage Timeline to form connections that assist with career development and recruiting. Christian Laftchiev, MBA ’19; Donnie Hampton, MBA ’19; Earl Roach, MBA ’19.
The teams will make mid-program pitches Nov. 8 in New York City. Email Ken Rother to learn more or mentor an eLab team.
Casey Verderosa is a writer for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement.