This year, Columbia College, along with Engineering, SIPA and the Business School, opened the Columbia Startup Lab, a co-working space in West SoHo that aims to foster entrepreneurship among young alumni. The startup lab provides a co-working space with heavily subsidized rent — alumni members pay $150 a month per seat, with the remainder covered by Columbia — for alumni who have graduated within the last five years and have started their own businesses. The lab, located at WeWork, which runs communal work spaces around the world, allows young alumni to interact with one another and with more established tech and media startups.
Seven startups run by Columbia College young alumni were chosen to take part: BoardRounds, Ply, Longneck & Thunderfoot, Rawr Denim, Shout, ModaBound and Bundle Organics. These startups are seven of a total of 31 teams of alumni from the College, Engineering, SIPA and the Business School that have been housed in the WeWork space since June 2014.
“Entrepreneurship is about solving problems ... . The solution can be a process, an invention, an algorithm, a thing that you can hold, a policy program. The important part is that there’s been a translation, a practical application of a big idea. Something has happened that has turned a problem into an action. That goes right to the heart of the mission of a great research university. What are we here for if not that?”