LaunchPad Lift Spotlight: FenuHealth

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, a program of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship network.

How many 13 and 14 year olds found companies? Not many. But thankfully, that is just what sisters Kate and Annie Madden did in 2015 after winning an award at the largest science fair in Ireland, the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The sisters came up with the idea of developing the only totally natural product for stomach problems in horses after noticing the gap in the market. FenuHealth provides a range of products for horses with stomach problems. 50% of foals are born with stomach problems and 90% of racehorses develop stomach problems over their lifespan, so it is a huge problem for the industry.

Betting on the Right Horse

FenuHealth is different from its competitors as all of the products are 100% natural and can be used on the day of the race. There are now nine FenuHealth products on the market that resolve stomach issues like gastric ulcers and encourage horses to eat their feed again. With nine employees on the team, and existing sales in 15 countries, these sibling co-founders are prepared to win.

“Being a student entrepreneur can be really challenging at times,” said Kate. “Trying to balance college life and business life, giving both your best effort, is tough – it can take very different disciplines! Thankfully, the Blackstone LaunchPad on our campus atin University College Cork (UCC) provides a space for quiet calls, teamwork and meetings, and people always willing to lend a helping hand.”

Focus and commitment are key to FenuHealth’s success: even as young, female entrepreneurs in a male-dominated industry, Kate and Annie quickly convey their seriousness and commitment to potential customers, investors, and business partners. (In true #givefirst spirit, Kate recently had the opportunity to share her entrepreneurial experiences and encourage the next generation of teenage girls at the IWish IE STEM Conference.) And determination and resilience are two more values foundational to their company: FenuHealth’s first product took 152 attempts to get the right formula for the results they sought.

LaunchPad Experience

According to Annie, she’s learned a lot from fellow student entrepreneurs about time management. 

“Unlike most businesspeople, a lot of us have similar problems with trying to balance college work with business work and trying to prioritize one over the other at the right time,” said Annie. “Our mentor has also already taught us some important strategies on how to grow our business online. I think we will really benefit from this experience overall!”

LaunchPad Lift Spotlight: ElecTrip

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, a program of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship network.

During the summer of 2017, ElecTrip co-founder and CEO, Mandeep Patel recognized an opportunity to more efficiently and effectively serve the city-to-city travel needs of large corporate employers. Executives at BP, his employer at the time, explained the issue: flights were too expensive and time-consuming, buses and trains were inconsistent and didn’t take people from the point of origin to the final destination, and driving themselves massively cut into potentially billable executive productivity.

He decided that during the upcoming fall school semester, he would start a city-to-city transportation service using the most operationally efficient mode of transportation: electrically-powered Teslas. 

Soon after starting the company, Mandeep brought on Eliott Lee (co-founder and current COO) and ElecTrip pivoted the business model from single-seat tickets to a full vehicle trip (more like Uber).

The primary advantage ElecTrip has can be broken down to cost and service level,” said Mandeep. “Our ticketed price is on par in terms of cost ($250 for a one way from Houston to Austin), but we are the only service that is truly door to door – without loss of time and increased effort from additional modes of transportation.”

A Road Less Traveled 

Scheduling flexibility and safety are additional differentiators and benefits of ElecTrip: Flying and bus travel require passengers to adjust their schedules to their rigid departure times and after a long day of work, driving long distances back to an office or home can be dangerous. 

New competitive entrants to the market (which include rideshare platforms, autonomous vehicles, auto companies, etc.) lack the operational advantages of ElecTrip – building and maintaining the service level of the company’s risk-averse customers have come to expect is a huge barrier. That work includes making sure vehicles contain all necessary amenities (WiFi, laptop chargers, snacks/drinks, etc), have sufficient charge to reach its destination, and have an experienced driver and ground support team to make repairs. In the past few months, ElecTrip has worked with a number of major corporate clients including oil and gas, law, and consulting firms.

Long term, ElecTrip is developing the technology and infrastructure to support fully self-driving EV fleets in the regional travel space. 

“Being a student entrepreneur is the best experience,” said Eliott. “Meeting mentors outside the classroom or student organizations is incredibly exciting and motivating. For the past two years we’ve attended conferences, pitch competitions (won the GSEA U.S. Nationals at Startup Grind), and met all kinds of entrepreneurs and investors.”

LaunchPad Experience

According to Mandeep and Eliott, the LaunchPad Lift program has been “incredibly valuable”. Before the cohort even began, the cofounders were introduced to industry leaders and mentors including both Techstars alumni and Techstars accelerator directors.

“We’ve received advice and insight on some of our most pressing needs, including scaling and logistics, negotiating corporate partnerships, and managing the sales cycle,” said Mandeep. “With generous connections to exceptional mentors, I think Lift is helpful to student entrepreneurs, no matter what their industry!”

LaunchPad Lift Spotlight: Hatch Credit

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, a program of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship network.

When Mike Broughton, a student at USC, was $10,000 short on tuition his freshman year, he learned that getting a loan usually requires a credit score. Unfortunately, getting that first credit card requires the healthy credit history of either the primary or a secondary (guarantor) account holder – something many low-income and nontraditional college students lack. His solution when faced with this hurdle? Start Hatch Credit to help students like him.

“That catch-22 made me realize the difficulty of engaging in personal finance without the traditional pre-existing factors,” said Mike. “And this led to me learning that 71% of college students also have no viable way of building their credit score.”


Getting the Credit He Deserved

After working for the USC Credit Union on a number of initiatives, including student engagement and outreach, and helping the financial institution launch a credit card line for international and low-income students, Mike was asked to join the company’s board. 

The rapid success of the new credit line proved a demand for some kind of solution in this space: students needed a financial product that they could access based on typical (if nontraditional) financial data points. Further complicating the situation, current financial regulations prevent banks from even marketing a credit-based product like this that many college students need.

Hatch Credit helps students build a credit history on the kinds of regular and repeatable payments college students often make (rent, utilities, gym memberships, Hulu, Netflix, tuition, etc.) and helps build a pipeline of responsible, credit-worthy student customers for financial institutions.

Opportunities and Challenges of Student Startups

“Being a young entrepreneur provides the opportunity to think differently,” said Mike. “Being a student and bringing a new and fresh perspective to problems can result in outside-the-box thinking and ideas that may go against the status quo. We also have the energy to make the world a better place!”

Mike recognizes, however, that a lack of business knowledge and time spent as a professional can be held against young founders. College students often have the ‘grit and the grind’ to achieve success, but need experienced mentors and advisors – and their connections – to start and build businesses earlier and faster than might be possible on their own.

Additionally, through LaunchPad Lift, Mike has accessed and benefited from several other LaunchPad network opportunities. In 2019 he participated in the first LaunchPad Global Startup Weekend at UCLA and later in the year he won the LaunchPad Propel student pitch competition in New York city. He has also used many of the on-campus resources through the USC LaunchPad to learn and pivot his business – something claims to have done 13 times! Mike’s school has been so impressed with the idea, they’ve even decided to invest in it.

LaunchPad Experience

“The most impactful moment for our company so far was during a speed mentorship session at LaunchPad Propel,” said Mike. “I met with a Techstars founder there that discussed business metrics and the impact on our company’s value.”

According to Mike, after understanding the business and model, this mentor responded, “your driver, your metric, is helping change students’ lives. The KPI is how many lives you change!” This inspiring and motivating conversation pushed Mike to believe even more in social entrepreneurship and his ability to change lives with Hatch.

LaunchPad Lift Spring Program Kicks Off

What elements are necessary for successful college-based entrepreneurship education? The annual ranking by Entrepreneur Magazine and the Princeton Review is based on a survey that includes more than 60 metrics, including the number and reach of mentorship, scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies, and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.

To help universities expand beyond the traditional classroom-based curriculum, the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars network runs LaunchPad Lift, a 10-week, biannual, virtual mentoring program for student entrepreneurs. 

Nominated by LaunchPad network campus directors, Lift participants are selected based on the stage of company, funding and revenue generated to date, need and interest for mentoring, and quality of the student teams. In addition to Q&A video calls with Techstars subject matter experts on a variety of topics critical to the success of startups, including key performance indicators and goal setting, fundraising, product development, and sales and marketing, each student team also receives a $10,000 grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

“After running LaunchPad Lift twice in 2019, we’ve learned important lessons on the value and impact of the program,” said Courtney Gras, LaunchPad Community Director at Techstars. “With these insights and continuous feedback from student entrepreneurs, mentors, and campus directors across the network, we’re confident this will be the best Lift program we’ve ever run in conjunction with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.”

Once a year, both the spring and summer Lift participants attend a culminating showcase event. At this event these top collegiate entrepreneurs will compete in front of potential investors, Blackstone executives, and Techstars accelerator managing directors and program managers for up to $50,000 provided by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

According to Jamika Martin, founder of ROSEN Skincare and LaunchPad Lift Summer 2019 participant, “Learning from experts in the field and growing your network are definitely the best ways I’ve been able to grow my brand, and the LaunchPad Lift program did just that. There is always so much to learn, no matter what stage you are at. Each week in this program helped me move my brand and myself as a leader forward in a meaningful way.”

Meet the Spring 2020 LaunchPad Lift Ventures:

  • Credit Starter (University of Southern California) – A fintech startup that helps students build their credit score through their tuition.
  • Electrip (University of Texas, Austin) – Door to door transportation company scheduling rides at any time in your own Tesla.
  • Fenu Health (University College Cork) – Feed additive manufacturer addressing equine stomach issues.
  • Hashing Systems (University of Texas, Dallas) – Management and deployment of decentralized applications on various protocols (ex: currently focusing on Hedera Hashgraph).
  • Bounce Insights (Trinity Dublin) – Consumer insights platform and feedback software.
  • Craitor (University of California, San Diego) – Portable expeditionary 3D printer developer for manufacturing military-grade parts in the field.
  • SkyPaws (Texas A&M) – Manufacturer of a wireless, real-time pet health vitals monitoring device post-surgical procedure.
  • CLLCTVE (Syracuse) – Platform providing brands exclusive access to local Gen Z consumers, and Gen Z content creators.
  • SuiteSocial (University of California, Berkeley) – SaaS startup empowering Gen Z content creators and influencers in the passion economy.
  • Farmented Foods (Montana State University) – CPG company fermenting “ugly vegetables” to create four consumer-friendly condiments and snacks.

Multiple teams in this LaunchPad Lift cohort participated in the fall 2019 LaunchPad Propel event in New York city. In fact, Credit Starter took first place, and $25,000, and CLLCTVE took second place, and $10,000, in the Propel pitch competition. The spring 2020 LaunchPad Lift program will run for ten weeks from February 3rd until April 6th and will culminate with a final event at the Blackstone offices in New York.

LaunchPad Lift Elevates Top Student Entrepreneurs

Forming mentor relationships, fundraising, growing sales, and adding talent are just some of the accomplishments the student teams in this summer’s cohort achieved.

Seven student-led startups participated in the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Lift program. Although they were far from new to the entrepreneurial experience, the second cohort grew and advanced in their abilities and potential. 

Some of the teams, like Sondr, realized important milestones around rebranding, business setup, registration, and customer discovery. Others, like Antithesis and Ridesurf, developed their pitch deck, confirmed and conducted investor presentations, and even raised capital. Several teams grew brand and generated product awareness, like Aviate Audio did at an international tradeshow. Others, including ROSEN Skincare, grew revenue through a new subscription sales model. One final area of achievement was production, with three teams, like May West, building relationships with industry manufacturers.

“The Lift cohort has been incredible for Visos. In just a couple short months, we’ve made more progress than we could’ve possibly imagined,” said founder Matt Shumer. “We’ve raised initial funding, found our fit in the market, started working with potential clients, and have networked with some of the leading figures in tech. This wouldn’t have been possible without the Lift cohort, and our amazing mentors.”

The LaunchPad Lift program is a virtual cohort-based program where select student entrepreneurs receive individualized support and long-term mentorship to get their ventures further, faster. Student teams from LaunchPad campus programs are selected by a panel of Techstars and Blackstone executives. Over the course of the Lift program students are both matched with dedicated Techstars mentors based on their specific business and needs and also participate in bi-weekly Q&A calls with Techstars subject matter experts. The Q&A calls allow Techstars mentors to share their knowledge on a broad range of entrepreneurial topics, including fundraising, business structure, pricing models, sales, marketing, and more.

Students weren’t the only ones that found the program invaluable. Mentors learned from the LaunchPad student entrepreneurs and were impressed with their initiative, passion, and effort to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Babak Kia, Lift Mentor and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University, shared the following about the team he mentored: “Lift students had an incredible access to mentors, partners, and resources through the accelerator. I know that for instance as soon as Matt reached out for help on business model, product, or some other topic, the Techstars and Blackstone teams responded and delivered at an incredible pace!”

Lift participants will also get an opportunity to meet and interact with senior leaders at Blackstone. They will be able to present their business models to experienced business leaders, who will help them refine their strategies and expand their networks.

In addition to convening students and staff at world-class events like Lift or Propel, Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars helps complement existing entrepreneurship on-campus resources. LaunchPad also coordinates off-campus opportunities for schools and students to expand their reach, increase their networks, and gain first-hand knowledge on entrepreneurship. More than 700,000 college students around the world have the opportunity to participate in LaunchPad, providing them with access to industry-leading mentors, vast networks of business experts, and the experience, skills, and brands of Blackstone and Techstars.

LaunchPad Lift Spotlight: Aviate Audio

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program.

It was late one night in the winter of 2017. A blizzard raged outside, but the windowless engineering lab at the University at Buffalo provided a peaceful haven from the storm. After months of research and experimentation in their lab, Shane Nolan and Ryan Jaquin finally had a breakthrough and created something new. Airpatch was born—a small, wireless device that lets guitar players control their pedals and musical effects with the touch of a finger, expanding the functionality of the electric guitar. 

Airpatch brings together Shane and Ryan’s passions for music and technology. As longtime musicians, they were looking for musical applications for their school electrical engineering project. Airpatch was the answer, and with this initial piece of technology, they founded Aviate Audio

Shane, Ryan, and their team started out as electrical engineers at the University of Buffalo, but with the support of their startup community, they have become entrepreneurs. Aviate Audio has already won first or second place in several competitions, including the UB Panasci Technology Entrepreneurship Competition, NYS Business Plan Competition, Buffalo Bright, and UB Bulls Launch.

Since beginning the Blackstone Launchpad powered by Techstars Lift program, Aviate has been paired with Techstars mentor Vadim Gordin

“The Lift program has been extremely meaningful to our team,” said Shane. “There have been real results, impacting our operations such as a major decision to bring our product assembly and quality assurance in-house as a result of the advisement of our mentor. This is leading us on a path to delivering a higher quality product with less capital.”

Shane and Ryan have found many parallels between entrepreneurship and music. Both require growing your audience, and they have found a similar energy, grounded in creativity and passion, in the joy of making something from nothing.

During their participation in the LaunchPad Lift program, Aviate Audio has successfully achieved a number of important goals. They launched a crowdfunding campaign, exceeded their goal, and got some great press around their product and company. They are also making a public product debut at the National Association of Music Merchants trade show in Nashville, TN—and they point to critical guidance from their mentor, Vadim, for putting them on this path. 

“What’s most important to our team is the connections we are making in the program,” said Ryan. “We are excited that connections with the Lift cohort and the broad Techstars and Blackstone communities will continue to support valuable outcomes for our company long after this Lift cohort ends.”

Shane and Ryan happily report that creating a music products company is fulfilling both the musical and professional dreams of the team.

LaunchPad Lift Spotlight: Ridesurf

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program.

Eliecer Vera hated the long drives he made several times a month from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he was a student, to see his family in Miami. Gas and tolls added up, and he got bored and lonely on the road by himself. A few years before, he had lived in Germany, where he often used a long-distance carpooling app that let drivers sell the empty seats in their cars on road trips. He was frustrated that no such service existed in the United States. 

Breezy Baldwin had also traveled through Europe and used the same service. She missed it when she returned to the U.S. as well. 

Both Breezy and Eliecer developed their own long-distance carpooling apps in order to fill what they each saw as an obvious need. When they met at school, they merged their companies into Ridesurf.

In Europe, there are 70 million active users on long-distance carpooling applications. Europeans embraced this form of ridesharing years ago—in part due to higher gas prices, but also due to a more communal mindset and an earlier commitment to reducing carbon emissions. In the U.S., Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber have paved the way for change, proving that Americans also desire app-based sharing services that make life easier and more affordable. 

When the current Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Lift program began, both Eliecer and Breezy had just transitioned to working full-time on Ridesurf—and had moved to opposite sides of the country (Miami and Los Angeles, respectively). Lift paired the Ridesurf team with mentor Andrea Perdomo, formerly the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Revolar (Techstars Retail 2016).

Participating in LaunchPad Lift instantly improved our focus and determination by providing us with a structured schedule, a mentor, and accountability, not to mention the great bi-weekly talks which improved our organization, goal setting, marketing plan, and fundraising plans,” said Elicier. “Beth Blecherman’s marketing talk was fantastic.”

Recognizing the importance of using team management software to set weekly goals and review outcomes has helped the co-founders release their MVP mobile app in the app store on schedule in mid-July. In addition, the team was able to develop a fundraising and marketing plan to be implemented in the coming weeks.

“Being entrepreneurs, to us, means finding a significant problem nobody is solving, and then solving it in the most socially conscience, eco-friendly, and inclusive way possible, said Breezy. “For us, that problem is the lack of a safe and easy way to sell the empty seats in our cars on long distance drives or drives to concerts, festivals, and conferences—places where lots of people are going.” 

The co-founders are particularly excited about the prospect of solving a market problem that will also have a positive environmental and socioeconomic impact—two of their main passions.

“We’re so excited to get the word out about Ridesurf and help people reduce their carbon footprint,” Elicier said. “We couldn’t have launched so quickly without the help of the Lift Cohort.”

LaunchPad Lift Spotlight: May West

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program.

Back in 2015, Charlotte Sullivan was weeding a perennial bed at the Queens County Farm Museum, an historic urban farm in Queens, New York when she began to wonder whether the milkweed, usually thought of as a weed, could be cultivated as a useful crop. If so, what could be done with the raw material—the milkweed floss? To help answer this question, Charlotte enlisted the expertise of Alayna Rasile, a textile artist, product designer, and Montana State University MFA student.

Together, Charlotte and Alayna discovered that milkweed floss has incredible thermal properties and a fascinating historical legacy. The more they researched the plant, the more fixated they became on the ecological implications of milkweed as well. Milkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly, a beautiful and beloved insect as well as an important pollinator species that is on the decline. They learned that an additional 1.8 billion milkweed plants would be needed in North America to bring the monarch butterfly population back to a sustainable size. Clearly, milkweed does have value.

Charlotte and Alayna spent several years of research and development in their respective fields of organic agriculture and art and design, and they arrived at a jacket design that uses milkweed floss as insulation, and they founded May West. By creating a market demand for milkweed, May West helps fulfill the monarch’s need for food and habitat while simultaneously creating a sustainable fashion alternative to a wardrobe staple. 

“Being a student entrepreneur means that I have the luxury to take risks, and be bold and adventurous with the launch of the startup,” said Alayna. “But it also means that I am spread extremely thin and need to be resourceful and creative with how to accomplish goals.”

With the help of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Lift program, May West has spent the summer strategizing their first jacket production run, scheduled for later this fall. Charlotte and Alayna have been matched with Techstars mentor (and Austin Accelerator ‘18 alum) Andrew Gibbs-Dabney of Livsn Designs to help them grow their company.

“Through the LaunchPad, we’ve been able to connect with a network of thoughtful mentors with a diverse range of expertise and advice,” said Charlotte. “The ‘Give First’ mentality of the Techstars mentors, alumni, and staff allowed us to leave the Lift cohort equipped with an expanded network of generous, willing-to-assist industry professionals. Their support will be invaluable as May West continues to evolve and grow.”

May West embodies a value system that places importance on new manufactured products being regenerative rather than destructive in the process of their creation. The brand exemplifies how designers can consider the needs of other living things, both in their supply chain and in manufacturing decision making.

LaunchPad Lift Spotlight: Antithesis Foods

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program.

Sure, students love snacks. But when a group of food scientist students at Cornell couldn’t stop eating their school project, they knew they were onto something special. Grabanzos, a crunchy, chickpea-based chocolate snack—with the added benefits of more protein and fiber and fewer calories than anything else on the market—won Jason Goodman, Ashton Yoon, and Philip Kim their class competition. After their initial success, they decided they had to bring it to the public. The team named their company Antithesis Foods, because they want to take a different, science-based approach to food development.

“To me, entrepreneurship is about ‘going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm’,” said Jason, quoting an old saying. “It means you find great joy on working through big problems, regardless of the pain, anxiety, and sleepless nights.”

As a PhD student at Cornell, Jason first got involved in the LaunchPad program on campus in spring 2018. He and his two teammates have found Antithesis to be instrumental in setting them up for success, in particular due to the connections with other student teams and networking with consumer packaged goods experts from outside their school’s existing program. These kinds of industry-specific experienced mentors are helping Antithesis narrow the endless list of to-do’s so that they can maintain focus on the most critical metrics early stage investors are looking for and mitigate risks in the right parts of the business.

Jason also appreciates the sense of community that Lift provides. “Just hearing the issues that other teams are having as they grow their companies lets us know that we’re not alone! Everyone is struggling with the same problems, whether they’re fundraising, effective marketing, scaling, or ensuring product-market fit,” he said. “Running a startup can often be isolating, so the community is especially helpful, particularly at this early stage of our venture.”

Jason and his team members are aiming to achieve two major goals by the end of the eight-week virtual program: development of a fundraising pitch deck and identification of several measurable KPIs.

To assist with the development of company pitch decks, Techstars Managing Partner Mark Solon coached the founding teams during week three of the program about the relationship components of fundraising. He also encouraged teams like Antithesis to focus on investors with existing experience in an industry ecosystem. These investors, Mark explained, will require less education and be able to understand the problem and solution much faster.

As for Antithesis’ objective to structure a framework of metrics and KPIs for Seed/Series A pitches, Jason and his team members recognize the importance of collecting and presenting data investors care about. They are constructing experiments to answer questions about the cost of customer acquisition, marketing ROI, and more, in order to collect meaningful data.

“Having the mentors and experts who know what questions to ask is invaluable, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them,” Jason said.

LaunchPad Lift Spotlight: ROSEN

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in LaunchPad Lift, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program.

If you’re between the ages of 12 and 24, you probably suffer from skin breakouts—85% of us do, and many are frustrated by the limited and potentially harmful synthetic options for skincare treatment. ROSEN founder Jamika Martin wants to help. The five or six legacy brands that create benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid washes and alcohol based toners primarily compete on price, but Jamika has a different angle: offering acne-prone customers a cleaner, more natural, and more thoughtful skincare line.

“To me, being an entrepreneur means just going for it,” said Jamika. “It means you create a real solution to an even realer problem, and you don’t let anyone stop you until the problem has been fixed. As I’ve heard tons of times, everyone has an idea, but actually pursuing it is what I think makes someone an entrepreneur.”

Jamika graduated from UCLA in June of 2017 with a degree in business economics, and her commitment to making this business a success is unmistakable. She knows participation in LaunchPad Lift is providing her with opportunities she doesn’t have through her own networks, and may not be able to find anywhere else.

According to Jamika, “I don’t come from a well connected family or area, so one thing LaunchPad has shown me is the power of network. This program has broadened my connections, opportunities, and teachings. I’ve already learned so much from my amazing mentors and received invaluable insights on my business. LaunchPad Lift will only further enrich my business and my network.”

Since the beginning of the program, she has been working with Sathish Naadimuthu, a Techstars mentor with plenty of experience founding businesses and a keen eye for startup marketing, branding, and positioning. Jamika’s program goals are focused on improving the results of her digital marketing efforts, including Facebook and Google Ads. Based in part on suggestions from her mentor, Jamika is also exploring a subscription-based web sales model—something she hadn’t considered before the program.

“The mentors and connections within the LaunchPad network gives entrepreneurs a completely different (and experienced) perspectives to their strategies and businesses,” said Jamika.