Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute To Host Day-Long “Investing in Entrepreneurship” Showcase

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Lally School of Management will host a daylong showcase titled “Investing in Entrepreneurship" on October 21. Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Internet pioneer Steve Case will be the featured speaker during the Lally School event. Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson will lead a conversation with Case, titled “Cultivating Data-Driven Entrepreneurship.”

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October 9, 2014

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute To Host Day-Long “Investing in Entrepreneurship” Showcase

Lally School of Management Anniversary Event Features Angel Investor Panel, Startup Showcase, and Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Internet Pioneer Steve Case

Troy, N.Y. — In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will host a day of conversations, startup pitches, and educational sessions designed to increase the pool of angel investors and entrepreneurial talent on Tuesday, October 21. The daylong showcase titled “Investing in Entrepreneurship” will be held at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) on the Rensselaer campus in Troy, New York.

Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Internet pioneer Steve Case will be the featured speaker during the Lally School event. Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson will lead a conversation with Case, titled “Cultivating Data-Driven Entrepreneurship.” The program will take place in EMPAC from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

 “The Lally School 50th anniversary highlights the pivotal intersection of technology, management, and entrepreneurship, and the great business leaders and innovations that can develop from it,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “We are especially pleased to welcome entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Internet pioneer Steve Case to Rensselaer on this important day. He perfectly exemplifies qualities that are central to our vision at Rensselaer – to create transformative global business leaders and entrepreneurs who will guide their organizations toward innovative products, processes, and businesses.” 

The October 21 celebration will begin with a panel discussion and workshop titled “Angel Investors and Entrepreneurs—How To Speak the Same Language,” which is part of the Jerome S. Reinert ’56 Visiting Executive Series Forum. The panel will feature several experienced angel investors and entrepreneurs who will focus on discussing how startups can make or take their first investment. The program will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

“Entrepreneurs create the types of highly skilled jobs that drive the economy,” said Jason Kuruzovich, associate professor in the Lally School, and academic director of the Paul J.’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. “One of the remaining challenges for startups that is emerging is obtaining access to early-stage angel capital. The ‘Investing in Entrepreneurship’ showcase serves as an ideal way to connect our student entrepreneurs and others in the area with potential investors in order to build on the potential we have seen emerging.”

As the celebration continues, the “Investing in Entrepreneurship” showcase also will include a pitch session featuring several local startup companies led by students from Rensselaer and area colleges, Rensselaer alumni/ae, and community members in search of venture capital. The program will be held from noon to 2 p.m. As part of the program, entrepreneurs from “investment-ready” startups will give five-minute pitches and those from “mentor-ready” startups will give one-minute presentations to angel investors and representatives from investment groups. 

Participating companies cover a range of innovative devices, processes, and technologies that include: finding new ways to educate patients, raising money for nonprofits, using ultrasound to convey high-rate digital information wirelessly through thick metal walls, commercializing a platform of bioelectrochemical systems for energy generation and waste water treatment, and an automated web service that provides personalized resume advice to job seekers while offering intelligent headhunting services for companies.

Additional startups include companies that are focused on developing a wearable electronic device that spectrally resolves a user’s ambient light exposure over time, creating holistic herbal supplements that reach beyond basic dry mouth relief without conflicting with medications, and a new kind of lighting technology for hospitals that offers both general illumination and disinfection seamlessly through conventional overhead light fixture forms, among others.

“We are thrilled to showcase these 30 promising early stage startups, all from the Capital Region,” said Esther Vargas, director of the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) Incubation Program at Rensselaer. “This is a unique opportunity for invited guests to experience firsthand the breadth and depth of innovation and commercialization activity that is happening right here in upstate New York and at Rensselaer.” Vargas noted that EVE has a particular focus in areas of Rensselaer’s signature research strengths and is working to help startup businesses take root in the city of Troy the Capital Region, and beyond by serving members of the Rensselaer campus and surrounding community, Rensselaer alumni/ae, and startups outside of the area.

Case will participate in the concluding session of the daylong showcase. Case is one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and a pioneer in making the Internet part of everyday life. He is chairman and CEO of the venture capital firm Revolution, and chairman of the Case Foundation, both of which invest “in people and ideas that can change the world.” Prior to starting Revolution, he was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of America Online Inc. (AOL) and, later, the chairman of AOL Time Warner.

“Data is the new natural resource of the 21st century,” President Jackson said. “The ways we generate it and mine, manage, preserve, and connect it, by harnessing powerful new analytical and computational capacities, will shape and change our world. We will discuss cultivating entrepreneurs and growing an innovation ecosystem that uses data to unlock potential solutions to the grand global challenges.”  

Additional event highlights include networking opportunities, educational sessions, and an exhibit featuring startup companies.

“The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Lally School is part of an ongoing effort to highlight how the world has been transformed by the achievements of the Rensselaer community – past and present – as a bridge to the bicentennial of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2024,” Begley said. “Significant milestones give us pause to reflect on what has transpired previously, to acknowledge accomplishments, and to look ahead to the future.” 

This event is part of the Bridge to the Bicentennial, a decade of celebrations and observances that pay tribute to the historical and transformative events leading up to the 200th anniversary of the founding of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the first technological research university in the English-speaking world. As it approaches its bicentennial anniversary, the Institute continues to define The New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for teaching, learning, and research that uses advanced technologies to enable fresh collaborations across disciplines, sectors, and regions, in order to answer the global challenges of our day.

The events are open to the Rensselaer campus community, alumni/ae, and the general public. Registration is encouraged. For more information and to RSVP, visit: http://lally50.splashthat.com.

About Steve Case

As chairman and CEO of Revolution, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm he co-founded in 2005, Steve Case partners with visionary entrepreneurs to build significant, “built to last” businesses. Revolution entities—including the Revolution Growth and Revolution Ventures funds—have jointly backed more than 30 companies, including ZipcarRunKeeperLolly Wolly Doodle, Bigcommerce, and Echo360

Case’s entrepreneurial career began in 1985 when he co-founded America Online (AOL). AOL was the first Internet company to go public and among the best-performing stocks of the 1990s, delivering a 11,616 percent return to shareholders. At its peak, nearly half of Internet users in the United States used AOL.

Case’s passion for helping entrepreneurs remains his driving force. He was the founding chair of the Startup America Partnership, an effort launched at the White House to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. In 2013, the Startup America Partnership joined forces with Startup Weekend to create UP Global, which Case now chairs. He is also a member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship.

Case is chairman of the Case Foundation, which he established with his wife, Jean, in 1997. For information on the Case Foundation, visit: http://casefoundation.org/. For information on Revolution, visit: http://www.revolution.com/our-story/about-revolution.