Recap: The 2023 Summer Startup Sprint

Please join us in congratulating the Summer Startup Sprint Class of 2023!

From May 22-June 2, we had the honor of working with these 12 ventures as they gathered at the Leslie eLab to deepen their customer discovery and test their business models through our intensive accelerator. The startups and their founders are seeking to solve problems and foster innovation across medical products, music education, sports nutrition, child safety, and much more.

This summer's Startup Sprint cohort accomplished a total of 591 customer discovery interviews and 40 office hour appointments. Teams partook in daily startup coaching and feedback sessions, skills-building workshops with startup experts and venture capitalists, and one-on-one sessions with experienced coaches.

Teams also unlocked access to the following benefits:

  • A $500 grant, plus an opportunity for select teams to receive up to $500 in additional funding
  • Over $5,000 in perks, including AWS and GitHub credits
  • Legal guidance from Fenwick & West

This summer's special guest speakers included David Rand (Law '17) and Kristen Nicol (Law '17) of Fenwick & West, and Sebastian Jimenez (CAS '18), co-founder and CEO of Rillavoice.

Below, read what the most recent Startup Sprint cohort had to say about the program:

“In two weeks, this program challenged my entire approach to building startups and revised my definition of entrepreneurship.”

- Eloi Chouvet (Tandon '24), Vize

“I failed much more during the Sprint than I did during the months before, and because of that, I learned much more and got significantly closer to a successful venture than ever before.”

- Jake Lucas (CAS '25), BioGear Labs

“The Startup Sprint brought life and direction back to my startup at a time where I was unsure how to continue.”

- Marcos Brisson (Shanghai '23), Kaizntree

“I recommend the Sprint for anyone looking to go deeper into the foundations of their idea, concept, or startup. The customer discovery and validation experience teaches you a lot faster than just working on the idea itself. In two weeks, I learned a lot about introducing an existing startup idea into a new environment and to new customer segments. It was practical wisdom.”

- Ugochi Obidiegwu (Wagner '24), The Safety Chic

“This program made me think incredibly hard about how our solution serves our customer and digging deep to get to the core of the issue so we can pivot accordingly.”

- Tolu Ojo (Tandon '23), Reneé Lamar Optics 

“The teaching team for the Startup Sprint is unmatched! They were all insightful, honest, and helpful for us during the whole process. Thank you for a great two weeks!”

- Jayla Lee (Gallatin '24), Endure Sport Nutrition

“The Startup Sprint is an excellent opportunity to get a temperature check on your venture idea in the best way - by talking to people. It's a great training ground to build confidence talking to strangers about your venture, defending your ideas while being open to criticism and feedback, and requires you to be persistent even when you may need to pivot. At the same time, you have a safety net of mentors and peers who want to see you succeed even if your idea needs to change, which is an authentic kind of support that you typically don't see this early in a venture. The team is investing in the founders, not the venture, which is very special.”

- Caitlin Gibson (CAS '10), Alivio Technologies

“The Sprint offers an environment where we can really plunge into the uncomfortably specific spectrum of defining our business because the whole Sprint is about pushing these boundaries on how specific we can get to finally get to the core of the problem, and the matching customer. It’s an absolutely necessary space to dive into for anyone searching for a perfect solution-market fit.”

- Benoît Van Keer (Shanghai '23), Kaizntree

The next Startup Sprint will take place in January 2024.