The 2023-24 eLab cohort poses for a photo following its bootcamp on Sept. 23, 2023 the in Sage Atrium in Ithaca, New York.

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eLab welcomes record cohort of student entrepreneurs 

Twenty-eight student teams have been selected to participate in the fall cohort of eLab, Cornell’s student startup accelerator. This marked the accelerator’s most competitive application cycle to date, with 75 student founders vying for a place in the program.

Welcoming its 10th credit-bearing cohort, eLab accepts student founders from any field of study across Cornell and trains them to launch real businesses. Established in 2008 by the Student Agencies Foundation and Entrepreneurship at Cornell, many eLab alumni have flourished following their graduation from the program, including Eversound, which recently announced its acquisition by digital engagement technology leader Uniguest. eLab is administered by the Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA), a division of Cornell Research and Innovation.

eLab teams undergo intensive entrepreneurship bootcamps, conduct customer discovery interviews, fine tune their business plans and connect with a network of successful Cornell alumni, all while earning college credit from the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

“The goal of eLab is to help student founders determine if their business idea fits a market need, and to give them the skills to be successful entrepreneurs going forward,” said Ken Rother, managing director of eLab and lecturer at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “This was an incredibly competitive selection process, not just in the quantity of teams, but the quality.”

Throughout the program, student entrepreneurs learn to effectively pitch their business to venture capitalists and investors. They’ll have the opportunity to bring those skills to life at several pitch events throughout the year, including the annual NYC Networking Night on Nov. 2.

Following the fall semester, the cohort will be evaluated based on a pre-determined rubric assessing performance and business model viability. The top teams will be invited to return for the spring semester, where they’ll receive a $5,000 investment in their business and continue to work closely with mentors and instructors.

“Once again, the makeup of the eLab cohort reflects the diversity of entrepreneurs across Cornell’s campus,” Rother said. “We’re excited to watch how they progress throughout the semester and see which teams make the cut to continue on in the spring.”

The eLab teaching team is composed of faculty members and entrepreneurs-in-residence from CREA. The instructors lead bootcamps, impart advice from their own entrepreneurial journeys and provide teams with one-on-one mentorship.

Teams also gain the support of an advisory board. Nearly 50 seasoned entrepreneurs — many of whom are Cornell and eLab alumni themselves — volunteer to be advisory board members, working one on one with the teams to share advice and help shape their business ideas. In addition to the mentorship, this gives the student founders an inside look into what it’s like working with a board of advisors.

“We are extremely excited to have the mentorship and guidance of eLab’s advisors. Additionally, we are eager to learn and grow alongside other Cornell student founders,” said Rachel Bonnet of TEKS. “Through eLab, we hope to launch a revenue producing company.”

The teams taking part in eLab 2023-24 include:

  • AREA, Calvin Lee ’24
  • Aunt Flo's Kitchen, Armita Jamshidi ’25
  • Fork, Logan Knapp ’24 and Arunabh Sarkar, M.Eng. student
  • Fremen Space Inc., Sofia Etlin ’26 and Luca Bielski '25
  • GradeWiz, Max Bohun ’25
  • GreeneAcres Processing, MBA students Hailee Greene and Danielle Falcon
  • Harmony's Room, Harmony Prado ’24, Richlove Nkansah ’26, JJ Bai ’25, Jepthah Mensah ’26 and Wen Li ’24
  • HealthShades, Joseph Agaba ’24, Sayo Ajagbe ’24 and Chrisley Alexis ’24
  • JUJI Foods, Allison Chhay ’24 and Kaylee Yin ’25
  • JunkBoys, Sebastian Alvarez ’24
  • Let Divvy, MBA student Derby Elizabeth
  • LoveRoots, MBA student Alexis Miller
  • MAC Distraction Systems, M.D./M.Eng. students Kyle Zappi and Myles Wood
  • Map Ctown, Peyton Johnson ’24
  • MeOH, MBA student Sharon Lau
  • Mr. EzPz, Alsa Khan ’25 and Muhammad Jee ’25
  • North Garden, M.P.S. student Kristina Mikhailov
  • of Atlas, Anthony Zheng ’25
  • Olux, MBA student Ryan Collins
  • PhytoFlock, MBA student Albert Charles
  • smpl, Jean Salamoun ’25, Karim Pareja ’24 and Talal Alhusayni ’25
  • spekld, Jonah Gershon ’24
  • SwiftXR, MBA student Chukwujindu Juwah
  • TacticZ, Anthony Reaves ’24
  • TEKS, Rachel Bonnet ’24, Jeff Yang ’25 and M.Eng. student David Bruk-Rodriguez
  • Teral, Sokhnadiarra Ndiaye ’24
  • The Right to Warmth, MBA student Shao (Justin) Chen
  • Thera, MBA student Marco Zaghi

“We are excited to learn about the customer discovery process and innovate a creative and efficient solution,” said M.Eng. student Arunabh Sarkar of Fork. “We don't necessarily know that this is our final product, but even if we fail, we're thrilled to learn now so we can succeed in future ventures.”

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