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StartFast Venture Accelerator to move to Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

SYRACUSE — StartFast Venture Accelerator, LLC a startup accelerator currently operating in downtown Syracuse, has reached an agreement with Le Moyne College to move its operations into the Madden School of Business in 2015.

Le Moyne College announced the agreement in a news release on April 16. 

Launched in 2012, StartFast Venture Accelerator LLC is a mentorship-based program for seed-stage software, mobile, and Internet companies. Backed by angel investors, venture capitalists, and corporations, StartFast takes an equity interest in each participating company.

StartFast provides selected companies with $25,000 in seed funding.

StartFast has been renting space at 499 S. Warren St. in downtown Syracuse for the 100-day mentoring process, says James Joseph, dean of the Madden School of Business. 

Joseph had previously served as president and CEO of Oneida Limited. He spoke in a phone conversation with the Business Journal News Network on May 15. 

Beginning next summer, the mentoring program moves to the Madden School, Joseph says.

“So they’re physically moving from downtown to the Madden School during that 100-day period of mid-May through mid-August,” he adds.

During their time in the accelerator program, the entrepreneurs have stayed in apartments around Syracuse. As part of the arrangement, those involved will stay in Le Moyne apartments.

Construction crews are continuing renovation work at the Madden School, so StartFast won’t move to the facility until the work is complete, Joseph says. 

Le Moyne College signed a “long-term, memorandum of understanding” with StartFast, so all of [its] activities will happen on campus beginning next summer, he adds. 

The two managing directors, Charles (Chuck) Stormon and Nasir Ali, will have permanent offices at the Madden School, he adds.

They will hire five Le Moyne interns to work with the entrepreneurs and will eventually provide classroom instruction 

“Chuck and Nasir will also be teaching a course at Le Moyne in entrepreneurship, so we get the benefit of that,” Joseph says.

How it came about?
Stormon has known Joseph for a “long time,” says Nasir Ali, who spoke with the Business Journal News Network on May 19. 

Both Stormon and Ali were aware that Joseph had been appointed Dean at the Madden School and the conversation on collaboration just “naturally evolved,” Ali says.

“The more we heard about Jim’s thoughts on … where he wants to take the school and how he wants to build the relationship, the more we realized that this was a world-class … school in the making,” says Ali.

The Madden School of Business is home to three centers of excellence, including the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity

The Keenan Center is also home to three “signature” programs, Joseph says, including the Famous Entrepreneur Series, the Family Business Center, and the StartFast Venture Accelerator.

“Those are the three signature programs that are giving a personality and life to the Keenan Center,” Joseph says.

Established in 2011 and named for Le Moyne College alumnus Michael Madden in 2012, the school moved into the first floor of the renovated Mitchell Hall in 2013. 

Crews are working on additional renovations to the second floor of Mitchell Hall this summer to house the school’s three centers of excellence, along with the Arrupe Program in Social Ethics for Business, the Jesuit Case Series, the Family Business Center, workspace for students and faculty, and a seminar-style laboratory, according to Le Moyne. 

StartFast Venture Accelerator is a private, investor-backed program modeled on the TechStars program that started in Boulder, Colo. in 2007 and has since grown to operate 15 programs in cities around the U.S. and London, according to StartFast.

TechStars in 2011 formed the TechStars Network, which is now known as the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), to link the top accelerator programs in the world. 

StartFast is a charter member of GAN and the only GAN member accelerator in upstate New York, the organization said. 

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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