Cornell Engineering Entrepreneurship Information Session

Friday, September 17 from Noon to 1:30 in Upson 116.

Interested in learning more about Cornell entrepreneurship opportunities in Engineering and beyond? This event is for you! Stop by this tabling showcase to learn about a variety of programs and ask questions all in one place. The following programs will be in attendance:

UNY NSF I-Corps

UNY I-Corps offers local and national training courses with NSF funding to help researchers get out of the lab and explore the market potential of their discoveries. The Upstate New York I-Corps Node combines the experience of the nation’s top university R&D region with the entrepreneurial knowledge of experienced mentors and faculty. Our teams work together to connect skilled researchers to valuable resources through national and regional I-Corps programming.

BioEntrepreneurship Initiative

Cornell’s BioEntrepreneurship initiative offers Johnson MBA students and doctoral life scientists from across Cornell’s campuses the opportunity to immerse themselves in real-world startup creation. Participants receive the tools, training, and connections they need to launch their own life science startups through a certificate program offered by the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Black Entrepreneurs in Training (BET)

BET is dedicated to inspiring, informing, and initiating the next wave of Black student entrepreneurs. It was found that Black students either weren’t aware of the entrepreneurship resources at Cornell, or they were aware but not confident enough to participate. BET empowers Black students to take advantage of the vast portfolio of entrepreneurial resources Cornell has to offer with a year-long introduction to entrepreneurship, a close-knit community, and tailored support.

eLab Student Accelerator

eLab is a student accelerator that launches 10-15 real businesses each year. Teams spend one year evolving their business plan, speaking with potential customers, pitching to investors, and preparing for launch. The cohort graduates with the experience, skills, and connections to launch a successful business.

Kessler Fellows

The Kessler Fellows program is open to all juniors at Cornell University that have a strong interest in entrepreneurship. Students engage in a semester-long immersion aimed to help them cultivate their entrepreneurial readiness before their fully-funded summer experience with a startup.

Rev Hardware Accelerators

Rev supports three hardware programs, Prototyping Hardware Accelerator, Manufacturing Hardware Accelerator, and the ClimateTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator. Rev hosts a series of speakers and workshops for entrepreneurs to grow their network with thought leaders, industry experts, and successful startups. The incubator also has a state-of-the-art prototyping lab that is open to all hardware program participants as well as Rev member companies.

W.E. Cornell

The W.E. Cornell program helps STEM women commercialize their innovations and overcome the challenges of leading a growing technology-based business. Combining a proven entrepreneurship curriculum with a focus on leadership development and empowerment, participants will finish the program prepared to take the next steps in their entrepreneurship journey.

 

Accessibility:

Please contact Monika Crosby (mlc258@cornell.edu) at least three days prior to the event with any accessibility needs.

Black Entrepreneurs in Training Recruitment Event

Did you know that Black startup founders receive less than 1% of venture capital funding annually and less than 30 Black women have ever raised more than $1 million dollars in venture capital funding?

Space is limited , so please RSVP to attend.

Black Entrepreneurs in Training (BET) at Cornell University, a community dedicated to inspiring, informing, and initiating the next wave of Black entrepreneurs at Cornell University, is working to change that narrative. Through a series of community events, BET aims to connect Black student entrepreneurs and introduce them to Cornell’s robust portfolio of entrepreneurship programs, opportunities, and resources.

BET is currently recruiting for Fall 2021 and invites you to join them for a Recruitment Event on September 10 (6:00 p.m. ET) at Upson Lounge (Room 116) to learn more about BET and to connect with like-minded Black entrepreneurs.

A Call to Action: New Climate Tech Track

Black student entrepreneurs with innovations in ALL FIELDS are encouraged join BET. Yet, as we review the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and its more precise forecasts for the 21st Century warning of increased severe weather devastation, we strongly encourage diverse leaders to respond to this “call to action” and apply their innovations to help solve our local, national, and global climate challenges. Tied to this, we are excited to announce a climate tech “track” focused on empowering founders in this arena with additional mentorship, coaching, and resources.

Register here.

Accessibility:

Please contact Monika Crosby (mlc258@cornell.edu) at least three days prior to the event with any accessibility needs.

Entrepreneurship Kickoff this Thursday

4:30pm at eHub Collegetown

An event open to all members of the Cornell community during which you will:

  • Receive an overview of the rapidly growing Entrepreneurship at Cornell ecosystem
  • Watch select eLab applicants’ pitches
  • Interact with live representatives from over 20 academic and entrepreneurship programs
  • Connect with other students interested in developing entrepreneurial skills and doing eship
  • Registration for this event is optional but encouraged if you’re interested in connecting with other attendees pre and post event.

September 2021 Entrepreneurship events

September is jam-packed with events and opportunities for Cornell entrepreneurs!

 

Tuesday, September 7 (11:00 a.m. ET) – Manufacturing Hardware Accelerator Information Session

Register for the virtual information session.

Tune in to a virtual information session to learn more about Rev: Ithaca Startup Works’ Manufacturing Hardware Accelerator. The Manufacturing Hardware Accelerator is a cohort-based program open to startups based anywhere in the U.S. that have a fully functional prototype and have identified their customer market. The second cohort of the 60-week program will begin in October 2021. Applications are being accepted through September 20.

Wednesday, September 8 (1:00 p.m. ET) – Scientist to CEO: Turning Life Science Innovations into Startup Success
Register for the virtual keynote.

Most of our modern life science innovations are born from the efforts of talented research scientists. The journey these innovations take to get into the hands of the public is quite complex. Meanwhile, the researchers behind the innovations also undergo a significant journey to adopt new skills and transition from biologist to businessperson. In this webcast, hosted by the SC Johnson College of Business’ BioEntrepreneurship Initiative and the Cornell Engineering, you’ll gain hard-earned advice from leading scientists who overcame industry challenges and who have collectively raised over $275M to launch and scale successful health tech startups.

 

 

Thursday, September 9 (11:00 a.m. ET) – SBIR Workshop: Application Funding Process & Funding for Startups
Register for the virtual information session.

Join Kirk Macolini, President of InteliSpark, LLC for this workshop as he shares insight on the SBIR application process and how to find other non-dilutive funding sources. Macolini will discuss and answer questions related to strategies for writing and submitting a successful proposal and the SBIR/STTR Assistance Program, which can help eligible companies, based in upstate New York, hire a qualified grant writing consultant to help them develop a proposal. After you register, you will receive access to the SBIR / STTR video series, a set of short videos that we encourage you to view prior to the workshop with valuable background information.

 

 

Friday, September 17 (12:00 p.m. ET), Upson Lounge (Room 116) – Cornell Engineering Entrepreneurship Information Session

Register for this in-person event.

Drop into the Upson Lounge (Room 116) on Friday, September 17 (12 – 1:30 p.m. ET) to learn more about entrepreneurship opportunities at Cornell Engineering and beyond. Representatives from the following programs will be on hand to share information and answer questions: Black Entrepreneurs in Training (BET)Cornell Engineering Commercialization FellowshipeLabKessler FellowsRev: Ithaca Startup Works’ Hardware AcceleratorsW.E. Cornell, and more.

 

 

Wednesday, September 22 (4:30 p.m. ET), Sage Hall – BioEntrepreneurship Information Session
Register for this in-person event.

Cornell’s BioEntrepreneurship Fellowship offers Johnson MBA students and life science researchers from across Cornell’s campuses the opportunity to immerse themselves in real-world startup creation. Participants receive the tools, training, and connections they need to launch their own life science startups through a certificate program offered by the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Attend an information session on Wednesday, September 22 (4:30 p.m. ET) at Sage Hall to learn more about the program and hear from Cornell alumna, Marla Beyer MBA/MHA ’20.

Beyer is the CEO and Founder of Hopscotch, a software company designed to support the unique needs of pediatric behavioral health professionals. Hopscotch competed against over more than 60 student teams from the U.S. and Ireland to win the $25,000 first prize at this year’s Blackstone LaunchPad’s Startup Grind Pitch Competition and a week after launching the company, Beyer garnered over a thousand active users.

 

 

Thursday, September 23 (12:00 p.m. ET), Upson Lounge (Room 116) – Cornell Engineering Faculty and Graduate Student Luncheon: Lessons Learned from SBIR Awardees
Register for this in-person event.
 

Interested in learning more about Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding? Join us on Thursday, September 23 (12:00 p.m. ET) at Upson Lounge (Room 116) for a complimentary luncheon (take-away lunches will be provided) hosted by Cornell Engineering’s Entrepreneurs in Residence. A panel of successful Cornell Engineering alumni and SBIR awardees will be present to share their experiences with SBIR funding, including best practices for applying and challenges faced during the application process, as well as updates on the progress they have been able to make on their innovations since being awarded an SBIR grant.

 

 

Thursday, September 23 (6:00 – 8:30 p.m. ET) – Networking@Rev: Former Student Startups Take Flight
Register for this in-person event.

Based in a college town, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works has been a touchpoint for many student startups over the years. Some of those students stepped away from their original pursuits, some pivoted and changed directions, and others took flight. Join Rev: Ithaca Startup Works on Thursday, September 23 (6:00 – 8:30 p.m. ET) to catch up with several former students about their startup journeys and see where they have landed. All are welcome and admission is free. Because space is limited, you must RSVP in advance to attend.

Student entrepreneurs selected as 2021 Kessler Fellows

This year, the program expanded to include Cornell juniors from all disciplines interested in entrepreneurship – it was previously limited to STEM students – bringing a myriad of academic perspectives to the 2021 Kessler Fellows cohort.

“I want to challenge myself to think outside of the box – not only of my career, but also of the value that I could bring to society,” said Anna Hu ’22, a College Scholar in the College of Arts and Sciences, and an alumni of student startup accelerator, eLab. “It’s rare to see a group of people so genuinely passionate about some ideas. I love being close to this kind of energy.”

During the spring semester students complete a one-credit entrepreneurial course and begin researching companies that match their skills and interests. Once the fellows have identified the startup where they will intern, they develop individual learning goals and conduct a business analysis, before embarking on their summer startup experience. During this phase of the program – fully funded through the generosity of Andrew J. Kessler ’80 – students receive a weekly stipend.

“Being a Kessler Fellow allows us to get hands-on experience from current entrepreneurs in ways that we otherwise wouldn’t in a more traditional internship experience,” said Chloe Elise Young ’22, who plans to attend medical school and believes the fellowship will assist her in the health care startup world. “I hope to target issues surrounding health disparities such as maternal mortality in the United States.”

Another benefit of the program is access to a team of experienced Entrepreneurs in Residence through Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, which provides guidance on patents, funding, branding and prototyping – all of which student entrepreneurs need in their toolkit.

The 2021 Kessler Fellows are:

  • Alex LoCicero ’22, mechanical engineering;
  • Anna Hu ’22, psychology and College Scholar;
  • Austin Stasko ’22, mechanical engineering;
  • Candice Mahadeo, ’22, applied economics and management;
  • Chendan Luo, ’22, mechanical engineering;
  • Chloe Elise Young, ’22, biology and society;
  • Cole DeMeulemeester, ’22, computer science;
  • Connor Reinhold, ’22, computer science and mathematics;
  • Emile Bouriez, ’22, mechanical engineering;
  • Emma Kranich, ’22, electrical and computer engineering;
  • Gary Wang, ’22, materials science and engineering;
  • Jackson Bauer, ’22, biomedical engineering;
  • Jueun (Jen) Yi, ’22, operations research and information engineering;
  • Maxwell Beck, ’22; ILR, information science and business;
  • Melissa Louie, ’22, chemical engineering;
  • Melody Yu, ’22, mechanical engineering;
  • Michael Grossman, ’22, urban and regional studies;
  • Payton Hunter, ‘22, mechanical engineering;
  • Rishitha Thambireddy ‘22, computer science;
  • Tiffany Chui, ’22, materials science and engineering.

Many past Kessler Fellows have completed internships with successful Cornell-affiliated startups, including Combplex, the $500,000 winner in the 2020 76West Clean Energy Competition; Dimensional Energy, a finalist in the ongoing $20 million Carbon X Prize competition; and Iterate Labs, which recently announced $1 million raised in seed funding.

“We’re very excited to welcome a new Kessler Fellows cohort to the entrepreneurship ecosystem at Cornell,” said the program’s director, Nate Cook, who also serves as a Cornell Engineering entrepreneur in residence and visiting lecturer at the SC Johnson College of Business. “We look forward to helping each fellow build a solid entrepreneurial mindset so they are able to make the most of the real-world experience they will obtain in their summer internships.”

The Kessler Fellows program is participating in this year’s Cornell Giving DayDonations made to the program through the end of the day on March 11 will provide more students with the opportunity to complete this hands-on entrepreneurial experience.

Bridget Bright is a writer for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

SBIR Workshop: Application Process & Funding Options for Startups

Join Kirk Macolini, President of InteliSpark, LLC for this workshop as he shares insight on the SBIR application process and how to find other dilutive funding sources.

The Small Business Innovation Research program funds a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets to stimulate technological innovation, meet Federal research and development (R&D) needs, and increase commercialization to transition R&D into impact.

Attendees will also learn about the SBIR/STTR Assistance Program which can help eligible companies, based in upstate New York, hire a qualified grant writing consultant to help them develop a proposal. There will be a Q&A session at the conclusion of the event.

 

To register, follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sbir-workshop-application-process-funding-options-for-startups-tickets-159494679881

Accessibility:

Please contact Monika Crosby (mlc258@cornell.edu) at least three days prior to the event with any accessibility needs.

 

The Entrepreneurship at Cornell Podcast

Ever wonder how a young Cornell entrepreneur got their first idea? Or when they decided to just go after it?

Wonder what they do first thing in the morning? Or if there’s a book they read that changed their life?

Listen to Startup Cornell, the new podcast from Entrepreneurship at Cornell that explores the bold entrepreneurial ideas coming from our students, faculty, staff and young alumni.

In each segment, you’ll hear a Cornell entrepreneur tell their story of success, failure, wins and losses. They’ll also offer actionable advice for building and growing your own business.

Find episodes here: https://eship.cornell.edu/news/startup-cornell/

One on one with Dean Lynden Archer, chemical engineer and entrepreneur

(This interview originally appeared in the Chemical and Engineering News on feb. 22, 2021)

Postdoc Simone Douglas-Green talks to this chemical engineer and entrepreneur about the serendipity of opportunity

By Simone A. Douglas-Green, Special To C&EN
FEBRUARY 22, 2021 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 99, ISSUE 6

Lynden Archer is known for his work with “hairy” nanoparticles. He studies structure, dynamics, and transport at liquid-solid interfaces using polymer and hybrid materials with applications in energy storage technologies. He cofounded NOHMs Technologies to commercialize novel battery materials developed in his Cornell University lab. NOHMs, which stands for nanoscale organic hybrid materials, was named one of C&EN’s 10 Start-Ups to Watch in 2015. Archer is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Physical Society. Simone A. Douglas-Green spoke with Archer about how he chose his research focus and what it takes to start a successful company. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Lynden Archer: I was about 9 or 10 years old. My mom bought me a science book, and one of the chapters extolled the wonders of brewer’s yeast, which affects metabolism. My mom was entrepreneurial and raised broiler chickens as an income supplement, and she allowed me to experiment with metabolism by adding brewer’s yeast to a small portion of her flock. I had some chickens as controls even though I didn’t know what controls were at the time. I felt like a real scientist using the essential tools of science and discovery to answer a question, and that ultimately gave me more confidence.

SDG: As an aspiring professor, I am trying to figure out what the research focus of the Douglas-Green lab would look like one day. How did you figure out the research focus of the Archer Research Group?

LA: I think this is something aspiring professors stress themselves out too much over—the thought of coming out on day 1 with a career-defining research direction that they’re going to follow faithfully throughout a career. An essential part of growing and becoming successful as a scientist is understanding your core skill set and the things that excite you and working to develop those fully. Successful professors must be able to see change coming and have the tools ready to adapt. That means you’re reading the literature, you’re sitting in talks at conferences that aren’t in your area, and you’re hearing what other communities are thinking. The graduate student and postdoc years are excellent times to identify and burnish these core skills.

SDG: This is fantastic advice to hear, especially as a new postdoc in a chemical engineering lab coming from a biomedical engineering background looking to expand my skill set in drug delivery design. Can you talk about the design process of your nanoparticles?

Click here to read the full interview on the C&EN website

Cornell Commercialization fellows help bring innovation to market

(This story was written by Casey Verderosa and appeared originally in the Cornell Chronicle on Feb. 18, 2021)

After completing high school in Côte d’Ivoire, the West African nation where he grew up, Yehou Michel Davy Gnopo, M.S. ’18, Ph.D. ’20, took a gap period to construct roads throughout West Africa.

“The story was always the same – we would stay in a town or village for two to four weeks and during that time attend funerals for five to six kids under the age of five,” he said. “Up to that point, I never had an interest in the pharmaceutical industry. Later, when I went back to school, I discovered that the infectious diseases killing these kids could be prevented, or even eradicated with appropriate vaccines.”

Leveraging guidance from Cornell Engineering’s Ph.D. Commercialization Fellowship program, Gnopo is endeavoring to build a pharmaceutical business in Africa based on a mucosally delivered vaccine system, administered inside the cheek via cotton swab. He wants to be part of the development of African pharma, which he envisions as a self-sufficient industry responding to the continent’s specific health care needs and relieving Africans from reliance on western or Chinese pharmaceutical companies.

The Commercialization Fellowship, which wrapped up its fifth cohort in December 2020, introduces engineers to the process of turning their academic research into businesses that solve real-world problems. During a fully funded summer and semester, fellows work one-on-one with a mentor, complete National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Teams training and collaborate with a team of Johnson MBA students to create a business strategy.

“Before applying to the program, I lacked both practical entrepreneurship experience and fundamental business knowledge. I think most engineering graduate students find themselves in this boat,” said Gnopo, who earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

Fellows learn about intellectual property, marketing, product development, fundraising and other skills from entrepreneurship experts. Gnopo’s favorite part of the program was working with MBA students.

“While the fellowship does a great job closing the business knowledge gap before the MBAs join the fray, nothing beats having a dedicated team of business students forming a plan for my venture,” he said.

Because the fellowship is fully funded, fellows are able to focus entirely on commercializing their innovations. Hedan Bai, a mechanical and aerospace engineering doctoral student, used the experience to work toward commercialization of stretchable sensors that are incorporated into garments and can be used to measure athletes’ movement and force, technology she developed with Organic Robotics Corporation, a Cornell startup that recently took top prize at the NFL 1st and Future Competition.

The I-Corps Teams experience, an intensive national training program through which academics explore commercialization opportunities for their research with an emphasis on the customer discovery process, was the most valuable component of the fellowship, Bai said.

There, she and her teammates became a “dream team,” she said. “While performing customer discovery, we discovered some real opportunities and market insights to pursue the commercialization of this technology.”

Another 2020 fellow, mechanical engineering doctoral student Jane Shin, cited the program’s highly individualized mentorship as an “enormous help” in crafting the direction to take in applying her tech to solve real-world problems. Shin is exploring using her intelligent sensor path planning algorithm as a solution for decision making in autonomous driving trucks. Fellowship mentors are entrepreneurship experts in industry and academia.

The 2020 Commercialization Fellowship cohort presented their final business plans on December 10, 2020 to a panel of entrepreneurial leaders from the region including: Frank DeCosta, partner, Finnegan Henderson; Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO, Launch NY; Chris Lee, chairman and CEO, Huxley Medical; Eric Young, partner and co-founder, Canaan Partners; and Todd Zion, co-founder, president, and CEO of Akston Biosciences Corporation.

Applications for the 2021 Commercialization Fellowship are open through February 22, 2021.

Casey Verderosa is a writer for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

Praxis Center and engineering startups grow together

(This story appeared originally in the Cornell Chronicle on Feb. 12, 2021. It was written by David Nutt.)

Nearly two years after launching, the Praxis Center for Venture Development is reconfiguring its structure to reflect the growth of engineering startups at Cornell and their specialized needs.

The center is differentiating into two thematically focused branches, with the Praxis Center for Engineering and Physical Sciences remaining in the current space in Duffield Hall, and the Praxis Center for Enterprise Software now based in nearby Rhodes Hall.

The space in Rhodes Hall was renovated last year and is now occupied by a pair of software startups: Ava Labs and Exotanium. The success of both companies has demonstrated the effectiveness of the center’s model as it helps Cornell researchers turn their innovative ideas into thriving businesses.

Cornell impacting New York State

The expansion allows the center’s five startups that have an engineering and physical sciences bent to remain in close proximity to the technical resources offered by Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) and Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) in Duffield Hall.

“Rhodes Hall is an office environment, so it really fits the sort of analytical things that don’t require any testing or laboratories,” said Robert Scharf ’77, Praxis’ director. “This lets us keep the physical and engineering sciences teams in Duffield, where the laboratories, model shops and testing facilities are concentrated. It has no effect on the productivity or the effectiveness of the facility for the software teams.”

The Praxis Center opened in March 2019 with the goal of supporting engineering and physical science startups through mentorship while also boosting business development in New York state. The new structure will allow Praxis to better connect these companies with more specialized mentors and advisory groups who can help them later on to focus their products, perfect their pitches and plot their next steps.

“There are different business models and advisory roles that fit each specific kind of venture,” Scharf said. “We certainly wouldn’t want a software company talking to someone with deep experience in chemical manufacturing, where there’s really a low level of relevance of the possible interactions. This will help us attract the right kind of advisors, mentors and guides to each branch, because now they’ll have a much more distinctive identity and a clear reason for participating.”

That mentorship was instrumental for helping get Exotanium off the ground, said CEO Hakim Weatherspoon, associate professor of computer science, who founded the company in 2018 with Robbert van Renesse, professor of computer science; and postdoctoral researcher Zhiming Shen, Ph.D. ’17.

Exotanium’s software enables businesses to reliably run their applications on servers in the cloud at low-cost using cheap unreliable servers. When these “spot” servers become unavailable, Exotanium’s technology automatically migrates these application servers to stable environments without any interruption, a kind of high-tech game of Whac-A-Mole that can slash a company’s cloud-computing costs by an order of magnitude.

The startup joined the Praxis Center in fall 2019, and last year raised more than $1 million in pre-seed funding, with another round of seed funding planned for this year. Last fall, Exotanium conducted a successful pilot demonstration for software company Autodesk, Inc., and they are now working on establishing a commercial relationship.

“Praxis has been critical for us to evolve from three people who are professors and a Ph.D. to three people and a company that is very successful in the market,” Weatherspoon said. “And Praxis is critical to Cornell. Cornell is a great idea generator, but a lot of scientists are not trained in business. To have a successful business, you need a place like the Praxis Center. I don’t know where we’d be without something like that.”

Exotanium has grown to include five full-time employees – four of whom are based in Ithaca – as well as three part-time employees and several interns and consultants.

The Praxis Center has also helped provide a “center of gravity” to keep businesses like Exotanium in New York state, when so many software companies are lured to big tech meccas like Silicon Valley, Seattle and Boston.

Exotanium’s neighbor in Rhodes Hall, Ava Labs, was one of the Praxis Center’s first clients and is now the largest. The company has grown to be an international operation, with a total of 72 employees, the majority of whom work in the company headquarters in Brooklyn, which opened in July 2019.

“We went from being a nascent company that just had one idea, which was mostly undefined, to a small seed company that receives funding from the giants of Silicon Valley, all the way to being a company that has launched a network that has billions of dollars’ worth of value in it,” said Ava Labs co-founder and CEO Emin Gün Sirer, associate professor of computer science and co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts.

Ava Labs’ flagship technology is Avalanche, an open-source platform for verifying and securing blockchain networks. In July, the company sold 72 million AVAX tokens, its form of digital currency, raising $42 million in its first public sale.

The company now has a system that is storing $2.2 billion worth of value from thousands of users on five continents.

Ava Lab has eight employees in Ithaca. While the company is nearing the day it will move out of Rhodes Hall to make room for new startups – five developing companies are currently in the pipeline, according to Scharf – Ava Labs will always have a deep connection with the Praxis Center, Sirer said.

“Every relationship changes. I feel like we spent our infancy at Praxis. And when we were in our teenage years and needed to prove ourselves, we went down to where the big folks are in New York City,” Sirer said. “Now, I would like to retain our connection to Praxis and pay forward our dues. I would love to help them in the future, whether it’s in the form of advising other financial technology startups or helping others connect with people, whatever it might take.”

To that end, Scharf is looking to develop a new mentorship model for companies that are no longer tenants at the center but maintain a relationship with the university.

The Praxis Center is also strengthening its ties with CNF. Both groups now share the same director of operations, Ron Olson, and program safety officer, Phil Infante, consolidating the technical support on which so many engineering startups depend.

“We’re centralizing the administrative functions, and that’s going to be a productive thing for everyone,” Scharf said. “The synergies of all these things are beginning to become evident.”