Student Agencies
Entrepreneurship at Cornell

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eLab is dedicated to accelerating top Cornell University startups. Established in 2008, by Student Agencies Foundation in collaboration with Entrepreneurship at Cornell, eLab has worked with hundreds of students in turning concepts into real businesses which include notable exits.

eLab Major Events

Each year, we have two major events, the eLab NYC Pitch Event and Demo Day.
Dec. 1st, 2017 eLab NYC Pitch Event
Apr. 2018 Demo Day, part of Entrepreneurship Celebration

2017-18 Calendar and Courses

Students accepted into eLab are required to enroll in NBA 6230 (1.5 credits) and NBA 6330 (3.0 credits) and will be auto-enrolled by course instructors. In addition, students may enroll in NBA 6860 speaker series (1.0 credit) on their own.


Course Semester Time Required
NBA 6230 Fall Saturday Bootcamps plus weekly one-on-ones. Yes
NBA 6330 Actualizing Your Startup Spring Tuesdays 2:55-4:10 pm plus Bootcamps Yes
NBA 6860 Speaker Series Spring Tuesdays 4:25-5:40 pm Optional


Date Time Session
Oct. 6-8 Fall Interviews
Saturday, Oct. 14 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Bootcamp 1
Saturday, Nov. 11 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Bootcamp 2
Friday, Dec. 1 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. eLab NYC Pitch Event
Tuesday, Jan. 30 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 1
Saturday, Feb. 3 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Bootcamp 3
Tuesday, Feb. 6 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 2
Tuesday, Feb. 13 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 3
Tuesday, Feb. 27 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 4
Tuesday, Mar. 6 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 5
Tuesday, Mar. 13 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 6
Saturday, Mar. 17 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Bootcamp 4
Tuesday, Mar. 20 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 7
Tuesday, Mar. 27 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 8
Tuesday, Apr. 10 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 9
Saturday, Apr. 14 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Bootcamp 5
Tuesday, Apr. 17 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 10
Tuesday, Apr. 24 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 11
Thursday, Apr. 19 DEMO DAY
TBA NYS Business Plan Competition Finals
Tuesday, May 1 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 12
Tuesday, May 8 2:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. Class 13
To Be Scheduled Spring Team Communications Workshops
To Be Scheduled Spring Team Marketing Workshops


Our Program


STEP 1: Apply to Program

Teams admitted to eLab will be required to enroll in the course and participate in Bootcamp sessions.
Before starting the application, please review the eLab checklist.

The admission process is competitive and most teams are not admitted. For those not admitted, we have many resources available to help you refine your concepts, strengthen your team, and improve your own entrepreneurial skill set. Click here for pre-eLab options.
eLab presents a unique opportunity to receive classroom credit for doing what you love – developing and growing your startup! Students receive 5.5 credits over the school year split between Fall and Spring semesters.

STEP 2: Fall Programming
Fall programming will focus on customer discovery and the path to product-market fit. For more advanced startups, we have more individualized planning but will still expect all teams to participate in going through an extensive customer discovery process. Students regularly meet with eLab Instructors and engage with eLab alum.

Fall ends with the eLab NYC Pitch Night built to forge relationships between eLab startups and prospective advisors and future mentors.

STEP 3: Winter Break Push & Cuts
Winter break is a golden opportunity to really focus on your startup and get in front of target market customers. We have tools to help eLab startups maximize this valuable time.
Towards the end of Winter break, teams check in with us to provide updates on their progress. This update combined with the team’s performance during Fall semester will determine whether or not the startup continue on to eLab’s Spring Program.

Teams that continue onto Spring semester are eligible to receive $5,000 in investment from eLab.

STEP 4: Spring Programming
Starting Spring semester, we will switch gears bringing in experienced entrepreneurs to connect and advise eLab startups. Teams will be expected to have product-market fit by this time so they may work primarily on sales and pitching skills. We will also determine which “track” each teams should be on – Are they ready to look for investment? Should they be focused on getting into a professional accelerator instead? Is the startup better suited to bootstrap and grow operations rather than look for outside help?

STEP 5: eLab Demo Day
eLab’s Demo Day is one of the highlights during the Entrepreneurship at Cornell Celebration event in April. eLab startups get the opportunity to present their businesses and progress made during the program in front of a large crowd of 300+ people which includes angel and VC investors and many Cornell alumni passionate about entrepreneurship.

STEP 6: Conclusion of Program
eLab’s program concludes in early May.

Outcomes we expect:

  • Funding by investors from eLab Demo Day.
  • Acceptance into professional accelerators such as Summer@Highland Capital.
  • Bootstrap or raise a “family and friend” round to grow.
  • Pivot and pursue new direction or close up shop (part of startup reality).

All participating teams will learn a great deal and build an outstanding network for immediate or future success!

STEP 7: Transition to eLab Alums
As you become an alumnus of eLab, we will provide mechanisms to share your feedback so we can continue to improve our program. We also encourage all of our alums to remain actively involved in eLab – many have transitioned naturally into eLab mentors, and there will be opportunities to join eLab’s Board of Directors etc. for distinguished contributors.

What We Look For:

  1. Team members have solid and deep trust in each other and in the team’s mission – everybody is working toward the same goals.
  2. Team members are coachable and able adjust to program curriculum and guidance.
  3. Disagreement is viewed as a good thing and conflicts are managed. Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem-solving and removing obstacles. Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
  4. The leadership of the team shifts from time to time, as appropriate, to drive results. No individual members are more important than the team.
  5. We tend to heavily favor seniors or students in their final year before graduating. The reason for this is because final-year students are best positioned to pursue their startup full-time once it gains enough momentum. This is not to say we will not accept underclassmen but we like to see younger students refine their concepts prior to applying to eLab their senior year.

pre-eLab Resources and Options

  • Life Changing Labs: LCL works with talented student founders at the earliest stage of their ventures helping position them for success.
  • eHub Co-Working Space: eHub provides co-working space for student entrepreneurship at two locations: on the first floor of Kennedy Hall and 409 College Ave. in College Town.
  • Entrepreneurship at Cornell: Find and access entrepreneurship classes, events, and other resources.
  • Blackstone LaunchPad: A campus based entrepreneurship program, accessible by over 500K students globally, designed to support and mentor students, staff and alumni – regardless of major, experience or discipline.
  • eLab’s curriculum is built on a platform in agreement with Steve Blank and Bob Dorf’s book “The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company” as well as Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pignuer’s book “Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers.” We also strongly recommend you review the following resources:

Application Checklist – am I ready for eLab?

  • Formed a team. Teams make progress exponentially faster than individuals. In rare instances, we may make an exception and admit an individual into eLab.
  • Have a concept, not an idea. An idea exists in the minds of the founders only. A concept has been exposed to a group of target customers (not your family or friends) who have expressed sincere interest in using a product or service.
    • We expect applicants to submit a completed business model canvas that’s based on evidence and customer interviews. Please see pre-eLab Resources section for more information on the Business Model Canvas.
  • Exhibit combination of commitment, passion, coachability, and execution. These are all skills necessary to launch a successful startup, especially while also being a fulltime student.

If you meet these criteria, click here to apply to eLab.

eLab is a collaboration of Student Agencies Foundation and Entrepreneurship at Cornell. Sign in