Student Entrepreneurs Compete for Entrance Into Start-up Accelerator eLab

Cornell students and alumni showcased their start-ups and competed for the sought-after admission into eLab, Cornell’s prestigious startup accelerator, at the Entrepreneurship Kick Off sponsored by Entrepreneurship at Cornell on Wednesday.

The winning project, Combplex, focused on using an online platform to help beekeepers manage their honeybees and protect the species.

Yisu Zheng / Sun Staff Photographer

MilesAhead member speaks to students at Entrepreneurship Kick Off.

Nathan Oakes, grad, co-founder of Combplex, said the most important thing he learned through this program is how to think like an entrepreneur. As a graduate student in computational biology, he said that type of thinking does not come naturally to him.

“The way that I perform engineering is that I’ll find an interesting thing, and I would just dive into it … but the end result might not be something that customers like,” he said. “So the most valuable thing that I learned is that the important component is customer feedback.”

Oakes hopes that he can continue the scientific research part of his project after it advanced into eLab. He also plans to work with people with marketing and business backgrounds so that their product could generate revenue, part of which he could use to fund his research.

About a dozen other projects — covering a wide variety of sectors from travel agencies to grocery retail management to revitalization of churches to a skateboard company — were showcased at the event as well.

Lisa Condoluci ’17, a member of Petal, a project designing hydroponic devices for plants, acknowledged the help EaC has provided for her team by introducing their project to a local startup hub in Ithaca called Rev: Ithaca Startup Works.

Besides the progress her team has made on the project, Condoluci said she also learned a lot about teamwork through her entrepreneurship experience.

“We really learned how to come together to a consensus about what’s the best way to show what…

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