Highlights of student-led ventures participating in the LaunchPad Lift Cohort, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program
Early in the morning, you wander into the bathroom and turn on the shower to full hot. While you’re sipping coffee and waiting for the water to warm, gallons of wasted water are flowing down the drain.
In a recent study by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, 70 percent of bathers leave their showers unattended after it’s warm, resulting in $100 “water warm-up waste” per shower per year. For hotel franchises, this waste equals $30M in expenses per year. Across the U.S., this problem could waste two trillion gallons of water, one trillion kWh of energy and $50B annually.
In response to this “shower water warm-up waste,” a student-led venture from UT Austin’s Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program developed Shower Stream, a smart shower head adapter that uses motion sensors to release warm water when the person enters the shower. The company aims to reduce water and energy waste without disturbing the customer’s experience and provide analytics on the savings.
Shower Stream’s motion-activated shower head adapter simply screws on behind the existing shower head without disrupting the bathing experience. Through their dashboard, hotel owners can review analytics about their water and energy savings in real-time. Shower Stream states customers receive a one year breakeven and 400 percent, five-year ROI by using their device.
Shower Stream was selected for the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Cohort, a 10-week personalized mentorship-driven program for student-led ventures from the United States and Ireland, as well as a $10,000 grant to help move their business forward.
“Being a part of the LaunchPad Lift Cohort is a very exciting achievement for Shower Stream. Working with world-class mentors from Techstars and gaining access to their impeccable network of successful entrepreneurs and investors will be a huge boon for us,” said Ian Howard and Greg Floyd, Co-founders of Shower Stream. “During the program, we will levy the huge amount of resources provided by Blackstone and Techstars to improve our customer value proposition and secure new partnerships that will allow us to expand quickly in the future.”
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Follow our LaunchPad Lift Cohort series where we will be highlighting each student-led venture, stay tuned!
Being a student entrepreneur comes with a unique set of challenges. Student founders need guidance from a community that understands not just what it takes to build a company, but how to balance—and get the most out of—being both a full-time student and a full-time entrepreneur. As part of their mission to help student entrepreneurs succeed, Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars is launching the inaugural 2019 LaunchPad Lift Cohort, a personalized mentorship-driven program for LaunchPad student-led ventures from the United States and Ireland.
“The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program offers students valuable on-campus support through content and mentors. Through this program, Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, is dedicated to supporting those students through the entrepreneurial journey from inspiration to IPO,” said David Cohen, Co-CEO of Techstars.
LaunchPad Lift will help bridge the gap between the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars 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, the LaunchPad Lift Cohort takes ventures through a personalized experience with an assigned Techstars mentor to help them succeed. In addition, ventures will be exposed to experts from the Techstars network who will share their best practices on building a business.
We asked some of our LaunchPad student-led venture founders to tell us about the impact of the program. Here’s what one wrote: “Our Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars mentors have been critical to our success. Between mentorship and connections, we have grown and accelerated our progress tenfold by being a part of this community!”
We’re excited to announce that seven student-led ventures, who presented at the 2018 LaunchPad Training Camp, were selected to join the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Cohort. These seven ventures are from the LaunchPad Global Network and the founders represent seven schools in four states and two countries, with ventures in seven distinct industries. Additionally, over 50% of the startups in the 2019 LaunchPad Lift Cohort have diverse founding teams that include women and people of color.
Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars selected these ventures 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.
“Over the course of the 2018 LaunchPad Training Camp, I had the opportunity to meet with ventures from over twenty universities, hear their pitches, and get to know the entrepreneurs. I was incredibly impressed by these student ventures—the diversity of ideas, the commitment to entrepreneurship, and the potential for scalable impact were all exceptional,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
LaunchPad Lift will run for 10 weeks, from January 28 through April 1, 2019. Each participating student-led venture will receive a $10,000 grant upon program completion, and join the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars team at a closing event in New York City.
Meet the Seven Ventures:
CALM (Temple): CALM is a small device that uses pulses of vibrations to influence the brain and de-escalate rising stress and anxiety attacks.
Combplex (Cornell): Combplex is an innovative solution to beekeepers’ number one problem, eliminating the parasites killing their bees.
Lazarus (Texas A&M): Lazarus provides a unique degree of lethality by designing projectiles that penetrate a threat, then minimize blood loss post-penetration in order to preserve life.
My Wellbeing (NYU): My Wellbeing connects therapy-seekers to compatible therapist and coach matches in NYC.
Petitas (USC): Petitas LA is a clothing brand by and for petite, professional women.
Shower Stream (UT Austin): The Shower Stream is a smart shower head adapter that installs as easily as a light bulb, saves water waste, proves the savings via the web, and is completely unobtrusive to the user.
NUA Surgical (NUI Galway): NUA Surgical is developing a novel medical device to make caesarean delivery a safer and more superior surgery.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars partnership increases the chances for collegiate ventures to succeed by ensuring they have the resources they need to thrive. The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program is accessible by over 500,000 college students globally and designed to support and mentor students, staff, and alumni entrepreneurs regardless of major, experience, or discipline.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation invites you to join us for a reception celebrating student entrepreneurship in Texas. Event will include a pitch competition featuring student entrepreneurs from Texas A&M, UT Austin, and UT Dallas.
To learn more about our program supporting student entrepreneurs, please visit www.blackstonelaunchpad.org
Today’s students are more entrepreneurial than their parents. Generation Z’s teens are less likely to get jobs in restaurants or retail stores; they’re creating their own sites and using digital media to build small businesses from babysitting and tutoring services to food and beverage and fashion businesses. As students look to university and beyond university, they are not aspiring to traditional corporate jobs.
As David Cohen often says, “Entrepreneurship is not just a life choice, but it’s also a career choice.”
– David Cohen Co-Founder and Co-CEO Techstars
Being an entrepreneur is hard: it gets easier if you have a strong network, work with mentors and learn best practices. That’s exactly how Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed — at every stage of their journey.
Techstars and Blackstone Charitable Foundation Partnership
With a shared purpose in being catalysts in innovation and sparking entrepreneurship in students, Techstars and Blackstone Charitable Foundation are partnering to expand the capabilities of Blackstone LaunchPad programs to accelerate the chances of success for these collegiate entrepreneurs.
This innovative partnership will enable Blackstone LaunchPad to scale beyond the existing current campus network of 20 universities to reach more than one million new students during the next three years.
Accelerating Collegiate Entrepreneurs
Beginning in 2018, Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, will provide Blackstone LaunchPad participants:
- Access to the Techstars network of more than 10,000 mentors
- Invitations to signature events
- Education through Techstars’ world-renowned content and startup services
In addition, the Techstars network will help student entrepreneurs with:
- Investment fundraising
- Job placement
All of these opportunities and resources are seldom available to campus-based entrepreneurship programs, yet are crucial to the long term success of ventures
“Over the past 10 years, the collegiate entrepreneurship landscape has changed dramatically. I am proud of the robust network we have built across the Blackstone LaunchPad global network. As we look to the future, Techstars is a perfect partner for Blackstone. Their expertise in supporting entrepreneurs and their robust network will meaningfully expand our support for student entrepreneurs on a global scale. I am thrilled that we have found a like-minded organization to work with us in support of a shared goal of increasing global economic impact through entrepreneurship.”
– Amy Stursberg, Executive Director, Blackstone Charitable Foundation
What is Blackstone LaunchPad?
Blackstone LaunchPad is a campus-based experiential entrepreneurship program open to students, alumni, staff and faculty offering coaching, ideation and venture creation support. It is modeled on a successful program originated at the University of Miami and was further developed and expanded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. For more information, see www.blackstonelaunchpad.org
UP Global is fortunate once again to have received the backing of The Blackstone Charitable Trust. This year’s Annual Innovation Grant Program awards $3M to support entrepreneurship and innovation.
It’s an honor to be recognized as one of 20 “game changing” organizations. In addition to vital partner support, our organization could not accomplish any magnitude of change without the passion and energy of our communities, their leaders, and the entrepreneurs we serve.
This 200K grant from The Blackstone Charitable Foundation will allow UP Global to continue to provide access to entrepreneurship for people through ecosystems that bridge geographies, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds.
More about the grants: http://goo.gl/lbFpxN