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eLab Demo Day Recap

eLab Demo Day Recap

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Catherine Huang presents DAKA. PC: Brad Treat

At the Entrepreneurship at Cornell Celebration, held at Cornell University last week, 11 student-run startups presented to an audience of nearly 300 entrepreneurial alumni and students. The companies are made up of Cornell undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students who were selected to grow their companies with the help of mentors and funding provided by the eLab accelerator at Cornell.

This annual Demo Day event is not a competition; it is an opportunity for student-run startups to showcase tremendous progress and make connections as they advance their companies beyond eLab.

Several of this year’s eLab teams leveraged local resources, such as Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and Ithaca-based beta testers, to more rapidly and effectively get their products and services to market.”

-Ken Rother

Ken Rother, Managing Director of eLab and Southern Tier Startup Alliance Entrepreneur-In-Residence, opened the event. He emphasized the diversity of companies in this year’s program, ranging from a craft brewery online service to a cyanide detector to electronic rings that make music. The even more important fact is that some of the companies already have revenue, customers, and clients.

“Once again, Demo Day showcased the enormous amount of work put in by eLab companies to move their businesses from concept to reality. Several of this year’s eLab teams leveraged local resources, such as Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and Ithaca-based beta testers, to more rapidly and effectively get their products and services to market,” said Rother.

PC: Allison Usavage Ken Rother, Managing Director of eLab, opens the event

Ken Rother, Managing Director of eLab, opens the event. PC: Allison Usavage

Jeremiah Cotman, the Project Coordinator for eLab and the Rev Coordinator, worked alongside the teams to facilitate workshops and the Demo Day schedule. “Demo Day was spectacular. To see how much progress these student companies made since last October! While eHub [a collaborative workspace for student entrepreneurs] is still under construction, Rev hosted many of the eLab teams, including Bluejak and ToxiSTAT, when they needed a place to work.”

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Caitlin Parrucci presents her company, Equine Design. PC: Brad Treat

These students aren’t just learning how to start companies–they’re actually growing them. One eLab member, Caitlin Parrucci, participated in Rev’s inaugural Hardware Accelerator last summer to prototype a product that monitors the water intake of horses. She opened this year’s Demo Day event with a presentation about her company, Equine Design. The next day, her company won this year’s Student Business of the Year award, presented by the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year, Lee Pillsbury ‘69.

While eHub [a collaborative workspace for student entrepreneurs] is still under construction, Rev hosted many of the eLab teams, including Bluejak and ToxiSTAT, when they needed a place to work.”

-Jeremiah Cotman

Rev member, Specdrums, showed a demo video of their product onstage. The crowd smiled, laughed, and got excited about the working prototypes that allow people to play music with an electronic ring on their fingers. Co-Founder, Steven Dourmashkin, said, “The event connected us with a lot of supporters who are eager to keep in touch about donating to our future crowdfunding campaign. After our pitch, we were approached by several students who want to join our team. We also met with potential mentors who are willing to have future meetings with us. Demo Day was a great way to find new resources and connect to influential people.”

“The event connected us with a lot of supporters who are eager to keep in touch about donating to our future crowdfunding campaign. After our pitch, we were approached by several students who want to join our team.

-Steven Dourmashkin

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Steven Dourmashkin and Matt Skeels pitch the company they co-founded, Specdrums. PC: Brad Treat

Tom Schryver, Executive Director of the Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) at Cornell University, went up on stage to commend the teams, their mentors, and the entrepreneurial community that continues to grow in Ithaca, NY. Tom’s role involves overseeing the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, which is a collection of incubators in NYS working to build a network of entrepreneurs and strengthen the resources available to them.

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Kristi Krulcik is a Marketing & Communications Associate for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance. To stay up-to-date on new resources from Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, join our email newsletter.