Approximately 50 Columbia Business School students and their partners representing 30 teams worked on their ventures as members of the Columbia Startup Lab-Summer Program. The aim of CSL-Summer is to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by providing practical resources and mentorship to burgeoning Columbia Business School entrepreneurs who are committed to their ventures.
The program consisted of one-on-one coaching from business coach and Entrepreneur in Residence, Barbara Roberts, as well as mentorship and programming covering a variety of topics including fundraising, pitching, customer acquisition, branding and legal guidance for startups. Seats at the Harlem Garage were offered free of charge to those student entrepreneurs that required space to work on their ventures over the summer. The Harlem Garage is a dedicated co-working environment near the Morningside campus.
Seth Philips ’15, took advantage of the CSL-summer’s programming and coaching while he interned at FinTech Collective. He particularly enjoyed his sessions with Barbara Roberts. “Barbara knows a lot of people who are active in the NY tech ecosystem and was generously willing to connect me up with a few people. That was invaluable,” Philips said. Philips is working on writing the fund's investment thesis on Bitcoin at the venture capital fund. This form of digital currency is of most interest to Philips as a business. “The deeper I immersed myself in understanding how Bitcoin works, the more I realized how powerful the system is,” he explained.
Entrepreneurs Connor Wilson ’15 and Nolan Walsh ’15 involved themselves in everything the program offered including working space at Harlem Garage. The partners worked on men’s boot company Thursday Boot Co. “In building Thursday Boot Co., we had energy and ideas to spare, but time was scarce – the seasonal nature of men’s boots meant we had just four months to launch a logistically complex business,” Wilson said. “With the support of the CSL, we were able to hurdle past many of the common challenges that face a new company and focus instead on building a great product. We started the summer with just a concept. We’ll be leaving with Thursday boots on our feet. That’s a pretty cool feeling.”
A wrap up event is scheduled for the evening of August 12. Pictures of the event will be posted on the Lang Center’s Facebook page.