News

November 2021 – LaunchPad in the News

From student startups winning big prizes to campuses opening up exciting new entrepreneurship facilities, November was an exciting month across the Blackstone LaunchPad network. Read this month's new below.

Three early startups with big goals at UAlbany

November 02, 2021 

University of Albany is a thriving place for new research and ideas. One of three early startups working on industry changing ideas at the University at Albany is Blackstone LaunchPad fellow Tatyana Tarasevich. A UAlbany doctoral student in chemistry and recent participant in the SUNY Startup Summer School program, Tatyana founded SFluor to sell a new heat-resistant polymer that hardens under regular light and is three time stronger than similar types. 

Read more on Albany Inno. 


UTEP Hosts First Border FinTech Conference 

November 03, 2021  

 Whether it’s mobile banking, automated payments or buying and selling cryptocurrency, fintech has disrupted the financial industry by creating new and more efficient ways for commercial institutions to deliver financial services to consumers. In response to the growing trends, the University of Texas at El Paso Blackstone LaunchPad co-hosted the first Border FinTech 2021 Conference to prepare students for future careers in the financial and insurance technology sectors. The event was geared toward preparing students for future careers in the financial and insurance technology sectors.  

Read more on UTEP Campus Newsfeed


Entrepreneurs from Blackstone LaunchPad’s Largest Fellowship Cohort Develop Skills and Grow Businesses 

November 08, 2021 

55 student entrepreneurs from 28 campuses in the Blackstone LaunchPad network completed the Summer 2021 Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship designed to provide founders with opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills and competencies. According to one fellow, London Swift, a student at University of California, Berkeley and Founder of Et al, Inc., “The Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship – including the connections to fellow entrepreneurs and mentors, structure provided by the program, and insights into our business – has been transformational for our work on Et al, Inc.. As a queer woman of color, it is challenging to find mentors and entrepreneurs who share my life experience. Through the Fellowship programing, our team has connected with entrepreneurs and mentors who we trust and whose insights are helping to shape our vision for our company.” 

Read more about the fellows on Blackstone LaunchPad


UTD Big Idea Competition Awards $415K to Innovative North Texas Startups 

November 11, 2021 

UTD students, faculty, and alumni pitched their big ideas for a chance to win cash and push their ventures forward. Winner of the student track was Blackstone LaunchPad participant Shashank Vinay Kumar (BS’22 ECS), founder of Bonsai, a company that is redefining the future of customer engagement through personalized, lightning-fast AI ticket resolution and accelerated lead generation for all sales and customer support teams. Erica Lock, Vice President at the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, presented the student award category which included a $25k prize. 

Read more on Dallas Innovates. 


Comets Find Right Ingredients, Win Business Hall of Fame Scholarships 

November 12, 2021 

Two Blackstone LaunchPad students from the University of Texas at Dallas each have been awarded $15,000 Mitchell Family Foundation Scholar Awards from the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation. Both students built their new-venture experience through food startups. 

Mercedes Johnson BA’19, an MBA student in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, created Food Magnet, an app that helps customers find food trucks and food trucks find business. Rohit K. Shenoy BS’21, an alumnus of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, was a co-founder of CampusOven, a catered meal delivery service that focused on bringing fresh, healthy dining alternatives to students. 

Read more about Mercedes and Rohit on UTD News 


Announcing the 2021 Syracuse Impact Prize winners 

November 15, 2021 

This year’s Syracuse University $20,000 Impact Prize Competition showcased 35 student teams pitching ideas. Sponsored by the Syracuse Blackstone LaunchPad, the event featured student ventures from across campus working on products, services or technologies that are innovative and sustainable solutions to societal problems. This year’s competition also included teams in the Intelligence ++ program presenting ideas from an inclusive entrepreneurship program jointly offered by VPA, InclusiveU and the LaunchPad.  

Read more about the winners on Syracuse News


Startup Profile: Hopscotch 

November 17, 2021 

2021 Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competition Marla Beyer estimates that up to 80% of children with behavioral diagnoses like anxiety or ADHD go without care due to provider shortages. Those children who are able to see a clinician often don’t follow through with the full treatment protocol because clinicians have few tools to engage the children and their families outside of the office visit. To solve this proble, she founded Hopscotch, a platform that aims to make pediatric behavioral health more engaging and accessible for children.  

“We’re addressing the pediatric mental health crisis facing children and adolescents in America,” says Marla.  

Read the full story here: Blackstone LaunchPad. 


UC San Diego Opens the Design and Innovation Building 

November 18, 2021 

Erica Lock, Vice President at the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, joined the team at University of California, San Diego as they opened a building that would bring the school’s entrepreneurship programming to the next level. The new Design and Innovation building, a 74,000-square-foot space, will be dedicated to sparking disruptive ideas, products and services.  

“The Design and Innovation Building will shape a new generation of diverse students, building a critical mass of creativity, experimentation and invention, and The Basement continues to fuel this journey,” said Jacques Chirazi, director of Student Entrepreneurship and the Blackstone Launchpad. “We are excited to launch this new space where students, industry and investors can work collaboratively on inclusive solutions to address market and societal challenges that positively impact the world around us.” 

Read more on UCSD News


Startup Profile: HelioSucrose 

November 22, 2021 

While the benefits of solar energy are widely known, access to solar is not. Blackstone LaunchPad Fellow Connor Gallagher-Moore is looking to change that. A student at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Connor is the founder of HelioSucrose, a startup that solves the current solar energy supply and demand mismatch by increasing the Net Present Value (NPV) proposition for low-income community solar projects.  

Read more on Blackstone LaunchPad


Winners named in 2021 Erie Hack water innovation competition 

November 23, 2021  

The University at Buffalo Blackstone LaunchPad recently worked with partners to help deliver Erie Hack, a months-long water-innovation competition from the Great Lakes region, hosted by Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA). Other partners include TechTown Detroit, Midstory, and WETech Allianch. The competition culminated with the naming of two winning teams and awarding over $60,000. 

Read about the winners on WaterWorld. 


MSU student entrepreneurs earn awards, secure business funding at annual startup challenge 

November 24, 2021 

Two Montana State University student venture teams recently won funding through the 32nd annual John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge, after receiving coaching and support from the MSU Blackstone LaunchPad. Posted!, founded by Michael Mawn, took first place and also snagged the People’s Choice Award and the Intent to Launch Award, earning the startup $19,500 in prize money. The Aizy Tech team includes students Morteza Hosseinnejad, Jordan Gibbs, Yoni Shchemelinin, and Tyler Myhre. The startup received $2,000 for being a finalist and also won the Early Stage Mentorship Prize, provided by Early Stage Montana and valued at $5,000. The teams received support from the MSU Blackstone LaunchPad, which offers coaching, ideation and venture creation support for students, alumni and faculty, as well as from the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. 

Read more on MSU News. 


SU junior’s start-up Fundwurx wins 2nd-place prize at regional competition 

November 30, 2021 

Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad student Ben Ford and his startup Fundwurx took home the second-place prize at the Western New York Global Student Entrepreneur Awards regional competition on Nov. 11 in Buffalo, New York. Fundwurx is a machine learning platform that optimizes the crowdfunding experience for donors and causes, and its software uses algorithms to discover the interests of donors to match the fundraising goals of specific causes.  

Read more about Ben, Fundwurx, and the Syracuse Blackstone LaunchPad on the Daily Orange