The IgniteU NY summer accelerator program is officially at its halfway point. We started on June 5th and our Demo Day will be on August 2nd. Teams have made major progress to their business models and some have pivoted in a different direction. The nature of startups is based on adapting your purpose and strategy while remaining true to the original mission of a business: solving a problem.

During week 4 of IgniteU, we covered many underlying issues of startup companies, such as pricing strategies, board member expectations, state funding, and customer discovery. We also focused on more essential startup tasks such as developing a mission statement, proper vision for your company, and the importance of monitoring and capturing data.

On June 28th, IgniteU hosted a 1 Million Cups event, where Illuminate-ESI-NY, one of our core startups, pitched their business. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups seeks to get startups connected and engaged into their local community to discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee.

We capped this past week with trips to Syracuse and Rome to visit other startups in upstate New York. Our first stop was the Syracuse Student Sandbox, an accelerator program similar to IgniteU’s. The Sandbox has developed a number of very successful startups and entrepreneurs. We heard the pitches from two Sandboxteams: Spark Charge and Ravle.

Next we went to Rome to attend the Commercialization Academy Demo Day held by the Griffiss Institute at Mohawk Valley Community College - Rome. By partnering the Air Force Research Lab with private industry and academia, the Griffiss Institute is able to facilitate and grow the technology base of the Upstate New York region. This was demonstrated through the presentations of the 2017 Commercialization Academy teams.

Last week was extremely productive for our teams in terms of development and networking. We collaborated with a great group of entrepreneurs from across New York state and our teams are excited to get back to work after their July 4th break.