Twenty-eight student teams have been selected to participate in the fall cohort of eLab, Cornell’s student startup accelerator. This marked the accelerator’s most competitive application cycle to date, with 75 student founders vying for a place in the program.
Welcoming its 10th credit-bearing cohort, eLab accepts student founders from any field of study across Cornell and trains them to launch real businesses. Established in 2008 by the Student Agencies Foundation and Entrepreneurship at Cornell, many eLab alumni have flourished following their graduation from the program, including Eversound, which recently announced its acquisition by digital engagement technology leader Uniguest. eLab is administered by the Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA), a division of Cornell Research and Innovation.
eLab teams undergo intensive entrepreneurship bootcamps, conduct customer discovery interviews, fine tune their business plans and connect with a network of successful Cornell alumni, all while earning college credit from the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.
“The goal of eLab is to help student founders determine if their business idea fits a market need, and to give them the skills to be successful entrepreneurs going forward,” said Ken Rother, managing director of eLab and lecturer at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “This was an incredibly competitive selection process, not just in the quantity of teams, but the quality.”
Throughout the program, student entrepreneurs learn to effectively pitch their business to venture capitalists and investors. They’ll have the opportunity to bring those skills to life at several pitch events throughout the year, including the annual NYC Networking Night on Nov. 2.
Following the fall semester, the cohort will be evaluated based on a pre-determined rubric assessing performance and business model viability. The top teams will be invited to return for the spring semester, where they’ll receive a $5,000 investment in their business and continue to work closely with mentors and instructors.
“Once again, the makeup of the eLab cohort reflects the diversity of entrepreneurs across Cornell’s campus,” Rother said. “We’re excited to watch how they progress throughout the semester and see which teams make the cut to continue on in the spring.”
The eLab teaching team is composed of faculty members and entrepreneurs-in-residence from CREA. The instructors lead bootcamps, impart advice from their own entrepreneurial journeys and provide teams with one-on-one mentorship.
Teams also gain the support of an advisory board. Nearly 50 seasoned entrepreneurs — many of whom are Cornell and eLab alumni themselves — volunteer to be advisory board members, working one on one with the teams to share advice and help shape their business ideas. In addition to the mentorship, this gives the student founders an inside look into what it’s like working with a board of advisors.
“We are extremely excited to have the mentorship and guidance of eLab’s advisors. Additionally, we are eager to learn and grow alongside other Cornell student founders,” said Rachel Bonnet of TEKS. “Through eLab, we hope to launch a revenue producing company.”
The teams taking part in eLab 2023-24 include:
- AREA: Calvin Lee ’24 is using Augmented Reality technology to enable event planners to visualize and arrange venue setups in real-time, reducing costs and time spent on reworks while enhancing customer satisfaction.
- Aunt Flo’s Kitchen: Armita Jamshidi ’25 is using traditional Middle Eastern medicine and clinical research to provide treats designed to naturally alleviate period cramps.
- Fork: Co-founders Logan Knapp ’24 and Arunabh Sarkar, MEng student, solve the inconvenience associated with splitting the bill by allowing an instantaneous bill-splitting experience.
- GradeWiz: Max Bohun ’25 is utilizing generative AI to make academic grading fair, accurate, and insightful.
- GreeneAcres Processing: MBA students Hailee Greene and Danielle Falcon are developing the first fully integrated industrial hemp processing plant in New York, building the hemp supply chain by growing and processing at mass scale.
- Harmony’s Room: Harmony Prado ’24, Richlove Nkansah ’26, JJ Bai ’25, Jepthah Mensah ’26 and Wen Li ’24 are creating a digital mental health platform that connects high school students to mental health professionals of color and culturally competent resources.
- HealthShades: Joseph Agaba ’24, Sayo Ajagbe ’24 and Chrisley Alexis ’24 are developing a healthcare technology platform seeking to bridge the health literacy gap in America for young adults, particularly those from communities of color.
- JUJI Foods: Allison Chhay ’24 and Kaylee Yin ’25 are bringing you deliciously repurposed Asian fruits.
- JunkBoys: Sebastian Alvarez ’24 sells your unwanted items sustainably, decluttering your space with convenience.
- Let Divvy: MBA student Derby Elizabeth is creating a marketplace, subscription service, product standard, and forum, focused solely on giving new parents their time back.
- LoveRoots: MBA student Alexis Miller is launching a digital dating platform that provides practitioners of African traditions and religions the opportunity to foster lasting relationships with people who share similar spiritual beliefs.
- MAC Distraction Systems: M.D./M.Eng. students Kyle Zappi and Myles Wood are providing patients and families with a safer and less burdensome alternative to traditional cranial distractors.
- Map Ctown: Peyton Johnson ’24 is centralizing college rental information on an interactive map to support students searching for housing and landlords filling vacancies.
- MeOH: MBA student Sharon Lau is providing 100% renewable methanol fuel for the aviation and shipping industries.
- Mr. EzPz: Alsa Khan ’25 and Muhammad Jee ’25 are launching an online platform that uses generative AI to offer on-demand, self-driven interactive learning experiences directly tailored to students’ class material.
- North Garden: M.P.S. student Kristina Mikhailov is growing herbs in communities around the nation to help people reconnect with their food and environment
- of Atlas: Anthony Zheng ’25 is developing a freshener that brings the experience of world traveling to the comfort of the car while solving issues of longevity, comfort, health, aesthetics, and intensity.
- Olux: MBA student Ryan Collins is constructing the collaboration hub between SAAS selling and buying teams.
- PhytoFlock: MBA student Albert Charles is aiming to upcycle beverage waste and use it as a feed additive in the livestock industry to reduce the use of antibiotics.
- smpl: Jean Salamoun ’25, Karim Pareja ’24 and Talal Alhusayni ’25 are launching a tech-enabled multi-brand food truck for suburban college towns.
- Spekld: Jonah Gershon ’24 is creating brown butter in a stick, offering instant access to the rich toffee and nutty flavors of brown butter without the hassle of making it yourself.
- SwiftXR: MBA student Chukwujindu Juwah is helping ecommerce businesses grow sales and improve customer engagement through the seamless integration of 3D/AR/VR content on their website.
- TacticZ: Anthony Reaves ’24 is designing a financial planning platform for collegiate student-athletes that simulates potential financial decisions and provides personalized game plans.
- TEKS: Rachel Bonnet ’24, Jeff Yang ’25 and M.Eng. student David Bruk-Rodriguez are making track and field spike covers which allow athletes to safely and efficiently walk on non-track surfaces.
- Teral: Sokhnadiarra Ndiaye ‘24 is developing Teral, which facilitates real estate investments in Africa for the African diaspora, offering transparency, expert guidance, and a supportive community.
- The Right to Warmth: MBA student Shao (Justin) Chen is providing a more functional, premium, and sustainable solution to businesses with apparel needs.
- Thera: MBA student Marco Zaghi is providing a Noble Kava based Ready-to-Drink that induces a sense of calmness and relaxation perfect for any social situation.
“We are excited to learn about the customer discovery process and innovate a creative and efficient solution,” said MEng student Arunabh Sarkar of Fork. “We don’t necessarily know that this is our final product, but even if we fail we’re thrilled to learn now so we can succeed in future ventures.”