Dec 10, 2018

Blackstone and Techstars Create “LaunchPad Lift” Program for Top Performing Student-Led Ventures

- Each venture will receive $10,000 grant; participate in 10-week development program with Techstars mentors and support from Blackstone

- Over 50% of the startups in the 2019 LaunchPad Lift Cohort have diverse founding teams that include women and people of color.


New York, December 10, 2018 – 
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars today announced the creation of LaunchPad Lift.  As part of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars program to support collegiate entrepreneurs, LaunchPad Lift identifies top-performing student teams from across the LaunchPad global network, and pairs them with resources and opportunities to help their ventures succeed.

LaunchPad Lift will help bridge the gap between the programming available on each college campus and the next big steps student-led ventures need for their companies. Whether the ventures are planning to apply to an accelerator program, raise capital, or make their first hire, LaunchPad Lift takes ventures through a personalized 10-week experience with an assigned Techstars mentor to help them succeed. Unlike a traditional accelerator, LaunchPad Lift is built specifically for full-time student entrepreneurs to accommodate their availability and academic schedules.  In addition, ventures will be exposed to experts from Blackstone and from the Techstars network who will share their best practices on building a business.

David Cohen, Co-CEO of Techstars, added: “Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars offers students valuable on-campus support during a critical time in their entrepreneurial journey. LaunchPad Lift will take this a step further – dedicating additional targeted support to a cohort of the most promising ventures. Techstars wants to be a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed from inspiration to IPO and we recognize the importance of early guidance."

Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, commented: “I am inspired by the diversity and potential of these student entrepreneurs.  LaunchPad Lift, leveraging the expertise of Techstars and Blackstone, will provide an additional boost in their development as entrepreneurs.  Over the past decade of helping the next generation of entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses, we know that mentorship and targeted support is crucial at this stage of venture growth.  Through LaunchPad Lift, we will be able to supercharge student-led ventures in a measureable way. ”

LaunchPad Lift ventures will each receive a $10,000 prize from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to support strategic efforts that grow and scale their ventures.  The seven selected ventures for the 2019 cohort were chosen from across the LaunchPad global network, representing seven schools in four states and two countries. Additionally, over 50% of the startups in the 2019 LaunchPad Lift cohort have diverse founding teams.

This new program is a continuation of Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s commitment to supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, a mission that they have invested over $25 million philanthropic dollars in to date.

The ventures accepted to the 2019 LaunchPad Lift Cohort are:

- CALM, Temple University: CALM is a small device that uses pulses of vibrations to de-escalate rising stress and anxiety attacks.

- Combplex, Cornell University: Combplex provides an IoT solution to beekeepers’ number one problem, eliminating the parasites killing their bees.

- Lazarus, Texas A&M University: Lazarus provides a specialty ammunition that penetrates a threat, then minimizes blood loss post-penetration in order to preserve life.

- My WellBeing, New York University: My Wellbeing connects therapy-seekers to compatible therapist and coach matches in NYC.

- Petitas LA, University of Southern California: Petitas LA is a clothing brand by and for petite, professional women. Petitas seeks to empower petite professional women to be #clothedinconfidence through uniquely-tailored, high-end garments.

- Shower Stream, University of Texas at Austin: The Shower Stream is a smart shower head adapter that installs as easily as a light bulb, saves the waste, proves the savings via web and is completely unobtrusive to the user.

- SteriCISION, National University of Ireland Galway: SteriCISION is developing a novel medical device to make caesarean delivery a safer and more superior surgery.

Ventures were selected following the second annual LaunchPad Training Camp, an event hosted by Blackstone and Techstars designed to supercharge top collegiate entrepreneurs from the LaunchPad global network.  Hosted in New York City, the 2018 LaunchPad Training Camp brought together a group of top performing student ventures, who, over the course of two days, heard from experts on entrepreneurship topics, participated in hands-on workshops, and received mentoring from Blackstone employees and members of the Techstars global mentor network.  

These seven ventures were selected based on several factors: live pitches and peer voting at the LaunchPad Training Camp, mentor feedback, and a review process conducted by the Blackstone and Techstars team to assess the strength of each team’s business model and concept, coach-ability, and venture stage, as well as the team’s passion and their ability to fully utilize a mentor to grow.

LaunchPad Lift will run for 10 weeks, from January 28 through April 1, 2019. Upon completion of the program, each participating student-led venture join the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars team at a closing event in New York City.

About the Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For more information, see http://www.blackstone.com/foundation.

About Techstars
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders and their teams connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners who will help their companies grow. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs help founders do more faster and Techstars Startup Programs inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs. Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships helps brands supercharge growth by accelerating innovation and cultural transformation. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,400 companies with a market cap of $15.9 Billion. www.techstars.com

Contact
646.482.6068
Foundation@blackstone.com