Today, NYU announced that trustee Mark Leslie and his wife Debra have made a major gift to support the design, construction and initial staffing of a new collaborative space to encourage and support entrepreneurship at New York University.
The Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab will be a 5,900-square-foot facility in the heart of the Washington Square campus where aspiring NYU entrepreneurs from across all of NYU’s 15 schools and colleges—be they students, faculty, or researchers—can meet to connect, collaborate, and tap into a vast array resources to help develop their ideas and inventions into startup companies.
The Leslie eLab will be located on street level at 16 Washington Place at the corner of Greene Street. It will feature flexibly configured co-working spaces, meeting rooms, an event space, and a fabrication lab to encourage interaction, prototyping, and collaboration so essential in the development of entrepreneurial ideas. The Leslie eLab will be staffed by a full-time lab manager, startup concierge, and entrepreneur-in-residence to train, coach and support entrepreneurs in the development of their new ventures. The Leslie eLab will also serve as the headquarters for the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and NYU Innovation Venture Fund, which lead many of the University’s entrepreneurial programs, resources and events.
“It is a pleasure for Debra and me to contribute to the growing entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem at NYU,” said Mark Leslie, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics and mathematics from NYU in 1966 and was the founding chairman and CEO of Veritas Software. “NYU has one of the most active and comprehensive programs to encourage and support entrepreneurs and it deserves a prominent home where students and faculty can come together with the critical resources needed to help create the companies of tomorrow.”
The Leslie eLab will instill a stronger sense of community among NYU’s budding entrepreneurs in its many schools and institutes. Its central, storefront location also sends a clear signal about the University’s commitment to teaching and cultivating entrepreneurship and its recognition of the critical role universities play in helping to bring new technologies and businesses to market.
“The Leslie eLab will answer the question: Where do I go to learn more about entrepreneurship at NYU?” said Frank Rimalovski, executive director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. “The Leslie eLab provides a critical, central collaborative space supported by new programs and resources delivered by the Entrepreneurial Institute team and a set of entrepreneur mentors and partners drawn from NYU’s alumni and the larger NYC startup ecosystem. The Leslie eLab is a game changer in our efforts to support entrepreneurs, strengthen ties with the local startup community, and promote a culture that collectively creates a strong breeding ground for entrepreneurship at NYU.”
The Leslie eLab was announced earlier today at the third annual NYU Entrepreneurs Festival, where NYU student, faculty and alumni entrepreneurs connect to share their experiences, exchange insights, and provide advice on creating new companies.
Creation of the Leslie eLab marks the continued growth in NYU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem led by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, which includes the NYU Entrepreneurs Festival; the NYU Innovation Venture Fund, a seed stage venture capital fund that invests in startups founded by NYU students, faculty and researchers; the NYU Summer Launchpad, an intensive 10-week startup accelerator program that will kickoff its second cohort this June; the NYU Entrepreneurs Network, a collaborative of 22 graduate and undergraduate student groups; and the NYU Startup Bootcamps for Scientists & Engineers, among many others.
To oversee the Leslie eLab, NYU has hired Adam Cragg, who joins the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he most recently served as Program Coordinator and Chief of Staff at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.
In addition to offering an open, collaborative meeting space, the Leslie eLab will also be the home of numerous programs, events and resources for NYU entrepreneurs. Regular networking events, meet-ups, and guest-speakers will be hosted at the lab to encourage community building and cross-pollination between NYU students and faculty, local entrepreneurs, and startup advisors. Experienced entrepreneurs will be on hand daily for office hours and coaching sessions with students and faculty who are grappling with the challenges of starting a business. Workshops, bootcamps, and other accelerator programs to support emerging NYU startups will also be run out of the Leslie eLab, giving startup teams the training and support they need to achieve escape velocity. Finally, the Leslie eLab will give the NYU community access to cutting edge technology to support product development including 3-D printers and other best-in-class prototyping tools. The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute team will host these events and programs, but the space will also be available to other NYU entrepreneurship centers and student entrepreneurship clubs within the University for their events and activities.
Construction of the Leslie eLab will commence in March, 2014. The new space is expected to ready for occupancy during the summer of 2014.
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