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eLab opens today as student hub

Rachel Liquindoli/WSN

Rachel Liquindoli/WSN

NYU is expanding its role as an incubator of startup companies with the new Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneur’s Lab, which officially opened its doors today. The new eLab is the latest effort from NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute to foster student and faculty-led startup companies.

“The eLab provides a hub for our students and faculty to come together from across the university when they’re interested in becoming entrepreneurs,” NYU Entrepreneurial Institute executive director Frank Rimalovski said. “I really think this is a game changer.”

The 6,000-square-foot eLab is located at 16 Washington Place, and starting this semester it will be offering students and faculty resources for getting their startups off the ground. In addition to providing meeting rooms, prototyping workshops and event spaces, the eLab will be staffed by a full-time manager, startup concierge to help groups find resources and entrepreneur-in-residence to advise new ventures.

The Leslie eLab will also host weekly speaking events and workshops and serve as the headquarters for the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and NYU Innovation Venture Fund, which both lead many of the university’s entrepreneurial programs.

Rimalovski said giving entrepreneurs a home at NYU is important not only to students and faculty interested in starting companies, but also to the university itself, as an expansion of its role as one of the biggest research institutes in the country.

“The university spends over $400 million a year in research across all disciplines and it’s really important that as innovations emerge from these departments that we bring them to market,” Rimalovski said.

Rimalovski added that these plans were just the beginning and that the Entrepreneurial Institute plans to begin rolling out new programs through the eLab as early as the coming spring semester.

Frank Yao, a second-year medical school student and co-founder of Limbr — an NYU startup that designs next generation athletic gear — said programs sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Institute have been instrumental for him and other entrepreneurs at NYU, and Limbr might not have gotten off the ground at another university. Yao added that the eLab was especially appealing to him because workspaces were rare at the NYU School of Medicine after Superstorm Sandy.

“Just from the med school perspective, just because of Sandy and stuff we haven’t had a good place to work in like that this whole year,” Yao said. “And there’s nothing like what the eLab is offering.”

Stern sophomore Jon Wang said he was also looking forward to the eLab opening and said that he hoped it might one day help him start his own company.

“I definitely see myself potentially using both my areas of knowledge to move into the tech startup field with some of my friends,” Wang said. “Having the eLab on campus gives me the ability to learn more about the logistics of gathering resources for a startup and professionals to guide me through seminars and events that will be held there.”

John Ambrosio is a news editor. Email him at [email protected]

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eLab opens today as student hub