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NYU 'Launchpad' Graduates First Class of Budding Entrepreneurs

By Andrea Swalec | August 6, 2013 8:35am
 Ten teams of students have spent summer 2013 developing plans to get their startups off the ground.
NYU Summer Launchpad Projects
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MANHATTAN — From managing diabetes to keeping track of your child's school attendance — there may soon be a new app for that.

Ten teams of New York University students have spent the summer honing their startup ideas, and this week they'll present their plans to investors on the lookout for the next big thing.

The NYU Summer Launchpad program gave current NYU and NYU-Poly students a rigorous 10-week crash course on how to create a company and get it off the ground, participants and organizers said Monday.

"The goal has been to try to figure out what the essential elements of a sustainable company would be," said entrepreneur Jasmin Hume, a doctoral candidate in chemistry at NYU-Poly. "We had a great idea and are getting the business knowledge as we go."

Hume, 29, and classmate Ching Yao Yang developed an app called BenchPals that aims to help researchers keep laboratory records via secure software.

Realizing they spent at least a fifth of their time in their Downtown Brooklyn laboratory keeping lab notebooks by hand, the pair realized technology could make their work easier, said Hume, an East Harlem resident.

"We use our iPhones to organize so many aspects of our lives," she said. "[Keeping paper notes] just felt very archaic."

Other projects developed through the Launchpad program include a consumer website called CrashDwell that lets students find and offer short-term apartment rentals; a company called Ex Vivo Dynamics that creates medical devices designed to reduce organ damage during blood transfusions; and an app called Kinvolved that lets parents monitor their children's school attendance in real time.

Having an original idea is just the beginning of achieving startup success, NYU Entrepreneurial Institute Executive Director Frank Rimalovski said.

"If it were just about ideas, Google wouldn't be the biggest search engine, because they didn't invent the search engine," he said. "It's about how you're able to create value around an idea."

The Launchpad program, which NYU is already planning to offer again next year, enlisted dozens of entrepreneurs and investors to mentor the students, Rimalovski said.

The budding entrepreneurs will present their ideas to investors and the startup community at an invitation-only event Thursday.

Hume said she hoped the showcase would give her team a chance to win the investment they'll need to keep developing their idea.

"It's unrealistic to expect someone to just give you a check," she said. "But if we were able to pique the interest of investors...that would be great."