Tips and Tricks to the Acceptance Process
by Jeremiah Cotman

eLab is a competitive program. Each year, 45-60 individual startup teams and early-stage businesses apply and interview.

eLab Director and Instructor Ken Rother often says, “We keep no secrets as to what we are looking for in a good applicant.” Students are encouraged to apply early and even resubmit closer to the final application deadline as they make progress.

What We Are Looking For

The goal of the acceptance process is to find the startups that can make the best use of the resources eLab offers. A number of things are considered when deciding who will put these resources to best use.

Insights: The most successful applicants are the ones focused on the customer problem or need that is being addressed. Having evidence that supports who is your customer, why they would care about your product or service, and how they currently solve the problem you are addressing, makes for an excellent eLab application.

Dedication: The eLab Instructors are looking for student entrepreneurs who are dedicated to their business after graduation. Although there are no guarantees, the majority of teams entering eLab launch a business.

Coachability: The eLab philosophy is based on the Lean Startup Model. Students will learn how to understand customer needs and develop deep insights into the value propositions most desired by the market. This process will involve tens, if not hundreds, of customer interviews. Teams that come in thinking they already know what solution to make and are unwilling to do the hard work at the core of the customer discovery process will not benefit from the eLab program.

Participation: eLab is a program that requires participation in the Saturday Bootcamps through the Fall and Spring and Spring term classes. eLab offers 4.5 credits and therefore, attendance is mandatory.

Team: There is much to accomplish over the course of the program and a startup needs enough people to do the work that is necessary.

Incoming Knowlege: eLab is for creating actual businesses and a combination of theory and practice will give you a leg up launching your idea. Students who have taken one or more of the many entrepreneurship courses offered at Cornell will be favored for entrance into the eLab program.

Who Should Apply

You should have completed your sophomore year before applying to eLab. Graduate students are also welcome to apply.

Apply now. The final deadline for applications is 11:59 PM, Wednesday, September 27th.

All applicants will be given the chance to interview the week of October 2nd. Interviews are fashioned after Venture Capital style interviews and feature a 4-5 min pitch followed by Q&A.

Recruit Now

This is your chance to grow your startup’s team. Maybe you are looking for founders who will be dedicated after graduating or maybe you are looking for employees to join for the year who have the skills to make the most out of the eLab program. If you are looking for team members, send out a call on the Cornell Entrepreneurship Listserve (see instructions to join below) or on Cornell Startup Tree.

The Cornell Entrepreneurship Listserve
To join, email [email protected] with the body of the email containing only the word “join”. Once you join you can post info there. Please note that alumni, students, faculty, parents, and staff post here.