Based on its successful first few years of incubating startups at UCLA, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation has partnered with the University of California to bring the Blackstone LaunchPad to eight more UC campuses.
UC and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation recently announced the expansion of the program that equips students with more tools and resources to take their entrepreneurship and innovation to the next level. The $5 million expansion of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars program will give more UC campuses critical access to resources, opportunities and mentorships for students and recent graduates across disciplines and experience levels.
Blackstone LaunchPad has been operating on campus through Startup UCLA since 2014, reaching more than 8,000 students, serving 800-plus startup ventures and facilitating more than 3,000 startup consulting meetings. Every UC campus (except UC Santa Barbara) will now be able to leverage the opportunities from LaunchPad thanks to the Blackstone Charitable Foundation grant.
Pat Turner, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education at UCLA, said she is pleased that the Blackstone LaunchPad program is now available throughout the UC, because she has seen what an impact it has made on campus.
“Blackstone LaunchPad is a key component of Startup UCLA’s offerings and enables students to turn their ideas into socially relevant ventures,” Turner said. “The Blackstone LaunchPad helps foster UCLA’s entrepreneurial spirit, bringing experiential learning to new heights.”
UC students will be able to take advantage of LaunchPad events, coaching and talent network to help them succeed in their entrepreneurial ventures, moving groundbreaking research out of the laboratory or classroom and into the marketplace.
“As the home to entrepreneurs and researchers at the forefront of cutting-edge discoveries and technological advancements, UC is the powerful engine behind California’s global leadership on innovation,” said UC President Janet Napolitano.
“We take great pride, especially, in our efforts to break down barriers and increase opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs,” Napolitano said. “We are excited to bring LaunchPad — and its valuable resources, opportunities and network — to UC campuses to further embed the ‘startup culture’ into the fabric of our campus communities.”
In 2018, TechCrunch recognized several UC campuses among the country’s top public universities with the highest number of alumni startup founders who have raised at least $1 million in venture investment funding. UCLA had the highest number.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation established LaunchPad in 2010 and partnered with Techstars eight years later to provide participants with access to their network of more than 10,000 mentors, invitations to signature events like Startup Week and Startup Weekend, and access to services. Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars also help student entrepreneurs navigate the complex landscape of fundraising, job placement and recruitment. LaunchPad has provided nearly 500,000 students with the access to resources, personal connections and professional networks program and graduates have gone on to incorporate close to 9,000 businesses that have raised nearly $200 million in investments.
“The LaunchPad program has been transformational for students who draw on its resources to grow new businesses and invest in their communities,” said Jon Gray, president and chief operating officer of Blackstone. “We are proud to partner with the University of California system in expanding this important programming to more students.”