Nov 05, 2014

Blackstone Charitable Foundation Hosts First Annual Blackstone LaunchPad Conference and Demo Day

Last week, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation hosted its first annual Blackstone LaunchPad Conference and Demo Day. Blackstone LaunchPad is a co-curricular, experiential, campus program designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets through individualized coaching, idea and venture creation support.

At the conference, representatives from all 15 colleges and universities in the Blackstone LaunchPad network convened at Blackstone’s New York office to discuss best practices, network and meet directly with Blackstone Charitable Foundation executives including Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Tony Tolentino, Program Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, and Alisha Slye, National Director of Blackstone LaunchPad. Andrew Yang, Co-Founder and CEO of Venture for America, served as a guest speaker for the conference and discussed entrepreneurship with Blackstone LaunchPad leadership from across the country.

Following the conference, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation hosted an event at the New York Stock Exchange, thanking the conference participants for a productive meeting and welcoming the Demo Day teams to New York.

 On Demo Day, 20 ventures founded by participants in Blackstone LaunchPad programs across the country came together to pitch their ideas for the chance to win prizes and to further develop their businesses. To see highlights from all 20 ventures, please watch the video below:

The seven finalists pitched their ventures directly to Joan Solotar, Blackstone’s Head of External Relations and Strategy, Bill Murphy, Blackstone’s Chief Technology Officer, Jason Kelly, Managing Editor at Bloomberg LINK, and Matt Skurbe, Treasurer and Managing Director in Blackstone’s Finance Group, who evaluated the finalists based on the ventures’ business models and scalability potential.

The four winning teams were Gabriel Mandujano of Wash Cycle Laundry, who received the first-place award of $25,000, Jesse Wolfe of O’Dang Hummus, who received the second-place award of $15,000, Amogha Srirangarajan and Kailey Shara of Carbon Origins, who received the third-place award of $10,000, and Walid Abdul-Wahad of Desert Farms, who received the fourth-place award of $5,000. Additionally, Joshua Ahdoot of Piggy won the #BXDemoDay Twitter Challenge, and received a 30 minute business strategy session with Blackstone’s Joan Solotar. To learn more about the challenge and venture teams, follow Blackstone LaunchPad on Twitter @BXLaunchPad.

 In addition to the Demo Day pitches, participants heard from keynote speakers Johnny Earle, founder and CEO of Johnny Cupcakes, and Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone. 

See below for Blackstone LaunchPad Demo Day press coverage: