Last week, IgniteU NY wrapped up the summer accelerator program for 2017. The teams have grown leaps and bounds over the course of the program, and they were able to display their progress last week at our Startup Showcase in Troy. The Core Startups and the Startups-in-Residence had the opportunity to present their companies to a crowd of more than 100 people. We also heard from a couple of the alumni on their successes beyond the program.
Each team in the program also had demo tables set up to showcase their companies during the networking session that followed the presentations—and the interaction between the startups and the attendees was even better than expected. The event brought in a wide range of professionals from the community, providing an excellent opportunity for networking and meeting new people!
At the beginning of the event, we heard from a number of our supporters in the Capital Region. Mike Walsh, President & CEO of NYSTEC, kicked off the Startup Showcase by speaking about the goals of IgniteU and how our recent partnership with National Grid—whose incubator program was created to help build an entrepreneurial ecosystem—is going to help us realize our mission foster the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem throughout New York State.
Katie Newcombe from National Grid also spoke at the event discussing the importance of incubators and accelerators as agents of economic growth. IgniteU is going to leverage the grant funding by developing a workshop series for the fall. Stay tuned for more information!
Robert Manasier, Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Innovate518, and Bob Pasinella, Executive Director of Rensselaer County IDA, also spoke at the Startup Showcase, discussing their involvement with IgniteU and the good they have seen come out of programs like ours.
After the core teams presented, the audience voted for their favorite pitch. The winner, Inky, was awarded a $1,000 prize to go toward a tangible business need. They will be using it to order delivery boxes to send out the books they have chosen for their customers as part of the company’s monthly subscription service.
"IgniteU has been a much deeper learning experience than I expected,” said Simon Bruno, Inky co-founder. “This whole startup thing can wear you down. It was a privilege to be surrounded by people genuinely interested in the success of all the teams." This was a theme that was shown throughout the program: the startups took great interest in one another’s companies and gave supportive feedback.
All in all, the Startup Showcase was a great event—and a great way to end our summer program! We can’t wait to see where the teams will end up. Stay tuned at www.igniteuny.com or follow us on Twitter for updates!