On Thursday, September 15, 2022, nearly 100 members of the Ithaca entrepreneurial community gathered at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works for [email protected]: Student Startups. The evening was dedicated to highlighting student startups in Ithaca and celebrating some of their many success stories, both at Cornell University and Ithaca College. Assemblymember Anna Kelles was the featured speaker for the event.
Dr. Kelles serves District 125 of New York State, which encompasses Tompkins and part of Cortland County. A former Rev hardware participant and Southern Tier native, she praised the entrepreneurial energy that Rev brings to the community.
“I do think that Rev is one of the greatest things that has happened to Ithaca, because it didn’t create a bridge between Ithaca and Cornell with respect to tech and entrepreneurship,” Kelles said in her opening remarks. “It honors, respects, and celebrates that we have this connection and this passion here.”
She highlighted the successes of Rev alumni companies, such as Rosie, which was recently acquired by Instacart. Having participated in Rev programming herself, Dr. Kelles spoke to how invaluable an environment like Rev is.
“This seems to be one of the greatest support system families that I have seen in Ithaca,” she explained. “If you want an environment that is constantly keeping you on your toes to figure out the next solution to every problem, Rev is definitely an amazing place to be.”
Dr. Kelles went on to discuss her legislative push to assist startup funding on a state level. Her proposed bill would fund a statewide program to support recipients of SBIR/STTR grants. If passed, New York State would match federal grants to help startups move beyond research and development to explore customer discovery, build business plans, and develop marketing strategies.
Three student founders then presented on their startups, each of which was created while the founder was studying in Ithaca.
- AI Learners: Cornell student Adele Smolanksy ‘23 founded AI Learners after seeing her sister, who has a neurological disability, struggle to learn math. The application is designed to help students with disabilities to learn math at all different levels. Smolansky discussed the specialization that differentiates AI Learners from other edtech resources, and the opportunity for the application to change the lives of children with disabilities in the United States.
- InCase Technologies: While working in real estate development, Cornell MBA Andrew Schwalm ’23 saw how dangerous construction sites can be, and InCase Technologies was born. The digital ID transponder uses GPS, motion detection technology, and environmental sensors for danger prevention and real-time response when incidents do occur. Not only does this technology save construction companies money, it also helps create a safer construction environment.
- Raw Butta: Raw Butta, founded by Ithaca College senior Shevori Gene, focuses on providing consumers with quality shea butter products to improve skin moisture. The startup is committed to using only the highest standard shea butter, as well as working with the growers and harvesters in Africa. By improving packaging, increasing product quality, and supporting Black communities, the startup is poised to make a mark on the skin care industry.
After the student presentations, attendees connected with each other and enjoyed local bites and beverages from Ithaca-based Serendipity Catering.
Join Rev on October 13 for our next evening of innovation and inspiration, [email protected]: Most Customer Driven Startup Awards. Four Rev member startups have been nominated for the second annual award for their work over the past year, going above and beyond to meet customer needs. Cast your vote and register to attend.