Startup accelerator Techstars is partnering with Blackstone to support student entrepreneurs globally
The level of entrepreneurial activities is high across American colleges. However, the success is higher in first-tier colleges like MIT and Stanford. Professor Bill Aulet, the Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT and Professor of the Practice at the MIT Sloan School of Management and MIT Sloan Executive Education, attributed the entrepreneurship success at MIT, for instance, to a combination of culture, spirit, skills and the environment. Not many students have access to what it takes to be successful.
Two companies are partnering to change that and increase the likelihood of success among student entrepreneurs. Techstars, an American seed accelerator, founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2006 by David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis, is partnering with Blackstone Charitable Foundation to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and startup activity. Today, the two companies announced at SXSW EDU that they are teaming up to supercharge Blackstone LaunchPad, the preeminent campus-based entrepreneurship program. The program is currently available to over 500,000 students globally. It provides support and mentorship to students, staff and alumni – regardless of major, experience or discipline. Since its foundation, it has successfully supported and created over 8,900 companies and 24,000 jobs, serving as a catalyst for economic growth in regional campus communities.
Beginning in 2018, Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, will provide Blackstone LaunchPad participants access to their network of over 10,000 mentors, invitations to signature events, and access to world-renowned content and startup services. In addition, Techstars will help student entrepreneurs navigate the complex landscape of fundraising, job placement, and recruitment. All of these opportunities and resources are seldom available to collegiate entrepreneurs and campus-based programs, and are crucial to the long term success of ventures.
By joining forces, Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars will enable LaunchPad to scale beyond the campuses in which it is currently present and reach more than a million new students over the next 3 years. Speaking at SXSW EDU, John Hill, Vice President of Network, Techstars, said, “Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed and, by partnering with Blackstone LaunchPad, we are amplifying the number of entrepreneurs that we can help around the world. We’ll apply Techstars’ proven methodology to startups created by amazing university entrepreneurs so they can do more faster. Techstars is excited to play an impactful role in students chasing their dreams.”
The idea for this partnership originated last fall when Blackstone and Techstars teamed up to host its first training camp for student entrepreneurs. During this two day conference, student ventures had the opportunity to access Techstars’ resources and programs, including one-on-one mentor meetings with Techstars’ Managing Directors. Speaking about the experience, Syracuse University student Josh Aviv, who won the Training Camp Demo Day competition, said, “For my company, SparkCharge, the training camp was an unforgettable opportunity to be able to work with and learn from Blackstone and Techstars. This event has been a game-changer for us, and opened up many more opportunities, like attending Techstars Boston. We will take everything we learned to grow and scale our company, and pay it forward to other student entrepreneurs who are also working on their big ideas.”