Demo Day: Startup business accelerator program pays off
The Princeton Keller Center's eLab program offers eight groups of students the opportunity to learn how to build a successful business from the ground up, using the "Lean Launchpad" entrepreneurial system. The students presented the results of their efforts at the eLab Demo Day on August 14.
At the start of the eLab program in June, “Team Comet” had a clear vision: to build an electric sport motorcycle that was trim and speedy. But when team members conducted a detailed survey of potential customers, they found that what consumers really wanted was an electric version of a Harley-Davidson cruiser – something big, stable and comfortable.
So the four team members -- three Princeton undergraduates and a master’s student from Clarkson University -- worked long hours over the ensuing 10 weeks to revamp their design. By the time they pitched their startup plan at the eLab Demo Day, the team had lined up potential manufacturers, piqued the interest of a motorcycle dealer and identified a broad demographic of potential customers.
Comet was among nine eLab teams presenting their startup businesses to a crowd of about 200 that included entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Each team included a video pitch in their demonstration (see videos below).
The eLab teams groomed their business plans by following the Lean Launchpad startup system developed by entrepreneur Steve Blank. The system relies on intensive data analysis to guide new businesses and help them focus on customer requirements as a way to refining their products.
Most eLab teams reported conducting 80 to 150 interviews over the summer.
"Lean Launchpad proved to be a great model in that it challenged all of the teams to approach the creation of their venture with an almost scientific rigor," said Cornelia Huellstrunk, the Keller Center's associate director. "The process is extremely challenging and really requires teams to be adaptive, flexible and open for input -- all key traits of successful entrepreneurs."
Sanjeev Kulkarni, a professor of electrical engineering and the director of the Keller Center, said he was impressed by the broad range of startup ideas and team members. “There were some social ventures, some technology companies, both hardware and software, and some businesses developing traditional consumer products," he said. "What they presented, and the progress they made over the summer, was tremendous."
Comet: Nathan Haley, Christine Odabashian, Luke Amber, Leif Amber
The team will introduce a cruiser-style electric motorcycle that features high performance, easy operation and graceful style.
Contact Information: email@example.com
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Ecliptic Industries: Matt Plasek, Pablo Mosteiro, Anthony Kolodzinski, Archie Tantular
Ecliptic uses advanced 3D printing techniques to significantly reduce cost and production time at foundries.
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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FireStop: Charlie Jacobson, James Siderius, Eddie Zhou
The FireStop team offers a fast and reliable cloud-based comprehensive software solution that reduces fire damage and saves lives.
Contact Information: email@example.com
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FitSense: Gabriel Rivera, Mykola Bordyuh, Tim Happnie, Azizbek Babakhanov, Vitalii Kushnirenko
FitSense is a cloud based health and fitness analytics platform that offers a detailed analysis to individuals in order to help them tailor programs to improve their fitness.
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Freestyle Montessori Urban Academy: Jason Warrington, Christian Smutherman
A venture aimed at closing the education gap in underserved areas, Freestyle Montessori plans to offer summer Montessori-based education to students in urban locations.
Contact Information: email@example.com
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GreenRoots Grocery: Danielle Pingue, Russell Dinkins, Sarah Gray, Elizabeth Cook
GreenRoots provides mobile grocery solutions bringing fresh produce to food deserts that lack access to traditional grocery stores.
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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PHOG: Michael Thomas, Andrea Bühler, Jeremy Blair
PHOG harvests water from clouds in the mountains of St. Vincent and bottles the water. The venture includes a pledge to use part of the profits to support humanitarian organizations working on water projects around the world.
Contact Information: PHOGwater@gmail.com
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PhotoRankr Jacob Sniff, Matthew Sniff, Hareesh Nagaraj, Joe Laresca
A rapidly expanding platform that allows photographers to share, rank and comment on work, PhotoRankr also serves as a marketplace for photos and photographic assignments.
Contact Information: email@example.com
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Princeton Beverage Company: Stephanie Sanders, Tsvetelina (Lina) Churalska, Carly Paris
Pearl's Barley Tea, with a simple list of ingredients and nuanced taste, introduces U.S. consumers to a beverage that is widely consumed abroad for its refreshing, unique flavor.
Contact Information: PrincetonBeverage@gmail.com