Forbes.com – Silicon Ivy: How Cornell Is Prepping Young Entrepreneurs
Jake Reisch, then a junior at Cornell University, sketched out his idea for Audiarchy, a company that would rent headsets for trendy silent discos (DJ shows where people listen to music through wireless headphones instead of a normal speaker system). The panel of VCs and entrepreneurs in his Entrepreneurship & Private Equity class on hand that day in May 2012 thought he was onto something.
So Reisch ditched a summer internship and started planning the company with Matt Reiners, his cofounder and childhood friend. That fall the pair was accepted into eLab, an on-campus accelerator program for student companies. Thanks to a nifty search engine optimization, their first major client, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, came knocking before Reisch and Reiners had fully sourced their product; they managed to get 300 headphones for that event and were off and dancing. With support from Cornell–including access to dozens of investors and mentors–they have since booked parties with Red Bull , Nestlé, Viacom , MTV2 and Pepsi, running 100 events in 2013 and clocking six-digit revenues.
This year Audiarchy is on course to do around 250 events and double revenue to over $200,000. Their headphone line is already profitable, and Reisch is now focusing his attention on a new market, pivoting part of the business to provide audio for senior citizens. “There’s this formula coming together at Cornell that is helping startups, and we’re getting support from the alumni, which is why I see so much value in the university,” says Reisch, 24, sitting in the mahogany-walled Cornell Club in midtown Manhattan. “All the feedback and mentorship really helped me navigate the early phases,” Reisch says. “I wouldn’t have jumped into the business had I not gained encouragement from professors.”