Entrepreneurial Institute

Summer Launchpad vs. Startup Sprint: How To Choose

The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute is currently hosting info sessions on the two major accelerator programs we have coming up: the summer edition of the NYU Startup Sprint, and the NYU Summer Launchpad. With a joint application process and shared info sessions, it can be a bit difficult to understand the substantial difference between the programs. We've put together a breakdown of each program, their similarities, and their differences to help you choose which one to apply to.


NYU Startup Sprint (summer edition)

Startup Sprints are two-week programs that teach and support aspiring NYU entrepreneur teams to transform their ideas and inventions into businesses. Whether you are an NYU student, researcher, or faculty, a Startup Sprint will challenge you to deepen your understanding of your customers and to cater your business idea to their needs—we call this "problem-solution fit". During the program, your team will work intensively with expert startup coaches who will help guide you through this process. You will also be provided with skills-building workshops, grant funding, peer support from your cohort of startup teams, legal guidance from Fenwick & West, and more!

Goal: To deeply understand your customer's needs and purchase behaviors, and test the value of your potential solution

Duration: 2 weeks (50+ hours per week)

Who it's for: Current students (graduating Fall '20 or after), faculty, researchers & postdocs with startups at any stage of development (but prefer beyond idea stage); Teams that have participated in a Startup Bootcamp at the Leslie eLab will be viewed favorably when applying to the Sprint.  Teams who are a good fit for the Summer Launchpad will be much farther along than those who will be a good fit for the Sprint.

During the program, you will: Create multiple hypotheses for your business, test them by speaking to 50+ potential customers, and deep dive into all aspects of your business model.

Resources: $1,000 at the start of the program and eligibility for up to $1,500 in follow-on funding (reimbursable expenses), $5,000 in AWS credits, expert coaching, peer feedback, founder talks, workshops, co-working space at the Leslie eLab, and more!

After the program: Participation in this program makes you eligible to apply to the NSF I-Corps program (for tech-ventures only), which provides $50K in funding for further customer development. Successful teams will also be encouraged to apply to later-stage programs including the Ignite Fellowship, Deep Tech Founders Circle, and Summer Launchpad. All teams will have ongoing access to coaching and will be invited to participate in office hours with VCs, accelerators, legal firms and accounting firms.

NYU Summer Launchpad

NYU Summer Launchpad (SLP) is an immersive 9-week accelerator for highly scalable startups led by NYU students (including those graduating in '20) and researchers. 10 teams receive one-on-one coaching with NYC investors and experienced entrepreneurs, immersive customer development training, collaborative workspace, legal and accounting services via McCarter & English and EisnerAmper, and $10,000 in non-dilutive funding, all in a dynamic, community-minded atmosphere.

Goal: To refine your business model, achieve product-market fit and fully launch and scale your startup!

Duration: 9 weeks.

Who it's for: Teams who have been actively working on their venture for several months (or years), who have validated problem-solution fit, (have evidence they have validated this with customers), have a solution prototype, and ideally have some customer traction (via having completed extensive customer discovery, establishing pilot partners, pre-sales etc.).  In particular the program looks for graduating students (graduated '19 or after, and exceptional non-graduating students), faculty, researchers & postdocs who are ready to launch a highly scalable venture full time during and after the program. Teams that have participated in a Startup Bootcamp at the Leslie eLab and a Startup Sprint will be viewed favorably when applying to summer Launchpad. Therefore by definition teams who are a good fit for the Summer Launchpad will be much farther along than those who will be a good fit for the Sprint.

During the program, you will: Do a deep dive into and refine all aspects of your business model, establish and meet the milestones and metrics you’ll need to reach to launch your venture, run iterative experiments and build solutions to advance your technology/solution readiness level, refine each aspect of the business model, and learn advanced customer acquisition, business operations, and financial skills relevant to growing your startup.

Resources: $10,000 in grant funding, $15,000 in perks including legal services (free incorporation), banking services, accounting services (free accounting setup) and cloud computing credits ($10,000 AWS credits) expert coaching, peer feedback, founder talks, workshops, a pitch-off competition against Yale, a Demo Day at the fall NYU Entrepreneurs Festival in front of 500 attendees to present your startup to potential investors/the NYC startup community, co-working space at the Leslie eLab, and more!

In general for both programs, we are looking for multidisciplinary teams of 2 or more (full-time) founders (preference for teams with 1+ female founder or other underrepresented minority in tech/STEM) who are:

  • In love with a problem they want to solve, not committed to a specific solution
  • Looking to learn & seeking customer input
  • Capable of building & executing
  • Looking to build a business
  • Ready to commit their time and energy (both programs are FULL TIME for 2+ members of the founding team)

If you don't know which program to apply to, please meet with a coach and/or apply to and consider BOTH program opportunities, and the program selection committee will determine which may be the best fit for your venture.

Attending an info session is mandatory before applying to either program, so make sure to RSVP:

Mon 2/24, 5:00–6:30PM @ Leslie eLab
Tue 3/3, 5:00–6:30PM @ Leslie eLab
Mon 3/9, 5:00–6:30PM @ Tandon MakerSpace
Thu 3/12, 5:00–8:00PM @ Leslie eLab (includes a team hunt!)
Mon 3/23, 5:00–6:30PM @ Leslie eLab

We look forward to reviewing your applications and to getting to know you and your team better!