NYU to open innovator space

Shawn Paik/WSN
Shawn Paik/WSN

The development of a new 5,900 square foot entrepreneur’s lab was announced on Feb. 28 during NYU’s third annual Entrepreneur’s Festival. The lab is designed to foster cross-school instruction, networking and inspiration for NYU’s young entrepreneurs. Faculty will also be brought in to engage with and assist students.

The lab’s construction is made possible due to a large donation from 1966 alumnus Mark Leslie and his wife, Debra.

Leslie, the founding chairman and CEO of the VERITAS software company, said he hopes the lab will continue to increase the entrepreneurial culture at NYU.

“I am a product of, and believe deeply, in the virtue of the entrepreneurial endeavor,” Leslie said. “And, because I am an alumnus and product of NYU, I want to help [NYU] in this area.”


Leslie has been a long-time supporter of entrepreneurialism at NYU, sitting on the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute’s Executive Board of Directors since its formation.

Frank Rimalovski, executive director of the Entrepreneurial Institute, said he has hoped to construct a collaborative student lab for the past four years.

“I have regularly heard two questions from our students: ‘Where and how can I find potential collaborators and co-founders?’ and ‘Where can I go to get help with my startup and tap into the resources of the NYU entrepreneurial ecosystem?’” Rimalovski said.

The Institute developed the lab’s design, intended programs and resources to tackle these issues. Meeting and conversational spaces are planned to help students interact with potential cofounders, build start-up teams and work with experienced mentors and coaches.

“The Lab will also give the NYU community access to technology and tools to support product development, including 3D printers and other prototyping tools,” Rimalovski said.

The team running these programs will comprise of resident experts, including intellectual property lawyers, product-designers and fund-raisers, who will impart skills and knowledge to students. Adam Cragg, the lab’s manager, will head this team.

“During my time at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, I saw a large number of student entrepreneurs go through the process of initial inspiration, skills building, iteration, and eventual launch,” Cragg said “I think there is a repeatable model that we can adapt and implement [at NYU].”

Steinhardt freshman Hediya Sizar said the lab will help her as an entrepreneur herself.

“I am enthusiastic that NYU has decided to open a lab like such since it gives me the opportunity to explore my own ideas that I am passionate about,” Sizar said. “As a budding entrepreneur, I think this new lab will open new doors to students since it will provide all of NYU’s resources in one physical location.”

NYU’s Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneur’s Lab will open Fall 2014 at 16 Washington Place and the corner of Greene St.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, March 6 print edition. Andrew Spohn is a staff writer. Email him at [email protected] 



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