Lab Dispatches

Dispatch from the Lab: August 2014

Welcome to the second installment in this
series of day-in-the-life reports from the Columbia Startup Lab.

It’s been a busy second month. We officially unveiled The Lab to the world when we held our ribbon cutting and opening night party on July 15th. President Bollinger cut the ribbon and was joined by the Deans of Columbia College and the schools of Business, International and Public Affairs, and Engineering. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer took a turn at the microphone as did Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, representatives from the Mayor’s office and members of the New York State Assembly.

The party that evening was kicked off with a rousing speech from SIPA Dean Merit Janow. Guests proceeded to mingle with our alumni founders, many of whom had set up demos of their products. Based on some informal polling by yours truly, Frustum was the hit of the night showing off their new 3D printing software CloudMesh.

We got our social media game on that night, check out the Twitter results from #custartuplab.

While you’re there, start following Columbia University, The Lang Entrepreneurship Center, CORE, Columbia Entrepreneurship, and Columbia College Alumni Association,

With the party behind us we’re busy providing educational programming to support our alumni founders and the Columbia community at large. To that end, we welcomed Patrick Sullivan, Strategic Partner Development Manager at Google and founder of RightsFlow (acquired by Google in 2011) who gave a talk titled People, Process and Technology: The Art of Business Execution. Anyone who has met Patrick will tell you his drive and tenacity is infectious. I enjoyed his talk immensely.

As July rolled on, Neuroscout, founded by Columbia Engineering postdoc Jason Sherwin, and BoardRounds, founded Aditya Mukerjee ’12SEAS and Benjamin Jack ’07SEAS were featured in Scientific American and TechCrunch respectively. There is a tangible innovative energy emanating from the lab and its clear the wider tech community is catching on!

We’ve also had a number of wonderful visitors at the Lab. The fine folks from the startup jobs conference Uncubed came by for a tour. Among them was David Touve, Assistant Professor and Director of the Galant Center for Entrepreneurship at McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virgina. Emily Gohn Cieri, Managing Director of Wharton Entrepreneurship was also in the house.  We also met with Rose Davila of Dartmouth University’s Provost’s office entrepreneurship initiative.

If you’re involved in University entrepreneurship and want to get a tour of the space send us an email .

The community here is really starting to gel.  Last month we talked about serendipitous collaboration. Well, collaboration among our resident ventures really paid off for Pyrus co-fonder Mike Wojcieczek 14’SEAS who wanted to reorganize his project folders on He had a moment of technology-induced terror that was quickly alleviated with help from one of our many talented developers at The Lab.

His first step was to run the command rm –rf . . This translated into remove (rm) all files and folders without confirming (-rf) from the current folder (.). Then without thinking he backed up the empty folder. Immediately Mike realized he had made a mistake. His whole project was now gone on his personal computer and on! Both the gift and the curse of using the command line is its power. There’s no trash folder to go check when you use rm –rf . .

Thankfully  Univate co-founder Ramzi Abdoch ’15 SEAS  was nearby to lend a hand.

Ramzi knew that Mike was using Git to keep track of his code where, as it turns out, it is very difficult to destroy data. All it took was the command git reset HEAD~1 to reset the latest diff and the files were recovered. Thanks Ramzi! As you can see we’ve got a great cohort of developers at The Lab. There’s no rivalry just helpful collaboration.

That’s all for this installment. If you’re a recent alumni entrepreneur and you’d like to get on the waiting list for the lab shoot us an email at

Until next time, Nat

Nat Kelner is the Administrative Coordinator at Columbia Entrepreneurship. In his current role he oversees social media, assists with events and entrepreneurship office hours and manages The Columbia Startup Lab, Columbia’s 5,100 sq.ft. co-working space in SOHO.

More Dispatches

February 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

July 2015

July 2014

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