Current VPA News

Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars welcomed 33 new Founders Circle graduating Syracuse University students at a dinner and induction ceremony held on May 3 at Bird Library. The group launched 18 ventures. Five VPA seniors were among the inductees.

The Founders Circle includes graduating seniors and recent alumni who have contributed significantly to building the Blackstone LaunchPad since its opening in April 2016.  Founders Circle members serve as role models for future student entrepreneurs and exemplify a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The VPA seniors in the Founders Circle Class of 2019 and their ventures include:

  • •Bowtie Blvd: Jake deHahn ’19
  • •Broad Brothers Productions: Kaelan ’19 and Aja Selbach-Broad ’19
  • •410 Pictures: Daniel Simoni ’19, Peter Hartsock ’19, and Justina Hnatowicz ’19 (Newhouse)

The group was inducted by Quentin Rosso (Whitman ’18), chair of the Founders Circle, several alumni who started the Founders Circle in 2018, and Dean of Libraries David Seaman.   Rosso is director of Innovation and Transformational Initiatives, North America, for Credit Agricole CIB, the world’s largest cooperative financial institution, and he was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 by the Whitman School of Management.  He founded four ventures as a Syracuse University student and also created the Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellows program.

“Syracuse University has every right to be proud of these innovative, industrious, and successful young women and men as they go out into the world,” said Dean David Seaman.  “The library has provided them a space in which to work, staff expertise, and a rigorous set of programming to help develop their ideas, and they have created a community of innovation that continues to grow.  We look forward to having them come back to campus as young alumni and staying in touch with us – and each other – through the Founders Circle.” 

“Being inducted into the Founders Circle gives Promptous access to a wide support network of entrepreneurs across different industries,” said the organization’s founder and recent inductee, Josh Jackson.  “Likewise, the LaunchPad does a fantastic job accelerating startups through mentorship and incubation space, both of which enable student-run ventures to build a strong team, acquire financing, and connect with strategic partners and customers.”  Jackson will be working on his start-up full-time after graduation and has built a diverse team to launch his innovative self-funding dental benefits solution for employers.

The Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and alumni across disciplines who are interested in venture creation and taking ideas for products, services or technologies from concept to commercialization. The program prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.