eLab participants are presented with the unique opportunity to receive classroom credit while working to launch and grow their startups. With the chance to receive 4.5 credits over the course of the academic year, eLab teams regularly meet with eLab instructors as they learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and embark on a path to startup success.
Meet Randy Kane, the newest addition to the eLab instructor team.
Kane is an entrepreneur turned investor with over 25 years of experience building, managing, and investing in leading-growth companies. Kane worked at Profec Partners for five years, where he identified unique businesses with potential for scale and provided growth capital to early-stage companies from their inception through traditional venture capital investments. He is still strategically involved with current Profec Partner member companies Swerve Fitness, as a Board member, and Playbook Technologies.
As a strategic advisor and entrepreneur at heart, Kane works directly with entrepreneurs to ensure their continued success, from financial advice to re-inventing processes, exploring every angle so that companies can execute their business strategies successfully and to their fullest potential.
Kane is currently a visiting lecturer at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business and has previously served Cornell’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as an eLab and Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) mentor. His energy and passion for business models and strategies will continue to be significant assets to the eLab team.
We recently connected with Kane to discuss his new role and entrepreneurial experience.
Q: As an entrepreneur and investor, you’ve spent your career on both sides of the table. What’s the first piece of advice you’d give to a student interested in embarking on an entrepreneurial journey?
Kane: Be passionate about the problem you are trying to solve while looking/ensuring there is a market outside your own immediate bias. Be fearless about failing and make assumptions that you are willing to test over and over again so that you can constantly learn.
Q: You were an eLab mentor for over two years before making the switch to become an instructor. Are there any teams you’ve mentored that stand out to you? Perhaps founders who made a significant pivot or went on to achieve success post-eLab?
Kane: There are several that stand out to me, for not only the idea but the team and execution standards as well. Bolt Analytics in my first year as an eLab mentor and Gig-up during the past year were both standouts in my mind.
Q: On a similar note, what did being an eLab mentor teach you?
Kane: Mentoring students, while rewarding, also taught me to have a better understanding of how students ask for and integrate advice. Believe it or not, there is a significant difference between the undergraduate student teams versus those in the graduate programs.
Q: What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned throughout your career that you hope to pass on to eLab teams?
Kane: Do the work and surround yourself with people smarter than yourself.
Q: What most excites you about joining the eLab teaching team?
Kane: I’ve always loved mentoring and, when asked by some Johnson professors to teach, jumped in with both feet and an open mind. I began with the premise of teaching the way I would want to garner information from someone…more reality rather than theoretical. I love when students are interested in the discussion topics and help carry the discussions along by asking insightful questions – benefiting everyone.