Entrepreneurs / Universities

Temple’s Blackstone LaunchPad helped build 11 student ventures last year

After a year in “soft-launch mode,” the grant-funded student entrepreneurship program officially opened last week.

At the Blackstone LaunchPad ribbon cutting at Temple. From left: Michele Masucci, vice provost for research at Temple; Stephen Tang, president and CEO of the University City Science Center; Hai-Lung Day, Temple University provost; Amy Stursberg, Blackstone Charitable Foundation executive director; and Alisha Slye, national director of Blackstone LaunchPad. (Photo courtesy of Temple)

Temple’s student venture program Blackstone LaunchPad officially opened last week but it’s already made headway at the school. The program, in soft-launch mode, helped students create 11 ventures last year, seven of which are making money, according to a release.
The launch comes on the heels of the birth of another entrepreneurship effort, this one faculty-focused, at the university: Temple Ventures, Temple’s new $100,000 venture fund and incubator with Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners.
Funded by a five-year $3 million grant from the charitable arm of investment firm Blackstone, LaunchPad is on two Philly campuses: Temple University and Philadelphia University (GoodCompany Group cofounder Zoe Selzer runs the Philadelphia University program). The University City Science Center is also a partner. The program aims to create 100 student ventures in the next five years.
Temple will announce its program director shortly, said Temple spokesman Preston Moretz. (Investor Ellen Weber, who runs Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, will not be running Blackstone, he said.) (It does make us wonder if it’s worth having two separate entities do this type of work. Perhaps such is the case with grant-funded programs with an expiration date. We’ll ask the yet-to-be-announced Temple Blackstone director.)
Students from the Fox School of Business have been the top users of the program, so far, according to the release, followed by the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Media and Communication.
We’ll be profiling many of the Temple startups soon, but here’s a look at some of them, as described by Temple:

  • Grüm — An app-powered on-demand men’s haircutting service that dispatches concierge barbers directly to the client.
  • MotorCar Studios — A digital content marketing company that specializes in taking an artistic approach towards special interest cars and businesses within the automotive industry.
  • Habitat —An intuitive interface that serves as a marketplace for local college students to sell goods and services among themselves in a secure and convenient manner.

Another notch in Temple’s entrepreneurship belt: we noticed three startups founded by Temple grads in this season’s DreamIt Ventures accelerator class.

Companies: Blackstone Charitable Foundation / Temple University

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