UT Austin student startup founders Kenna Funk-Tanaka, Tom Smith and Ariel Lee were selected to participate in the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars fall fellowship program. They were chosen from a prestigious cohort of more than 125 applicants from across the 24 LaunchPad campuses in the U.S. and Ireland, including New York University, UCLA and The University of Texas at Austin.
LaunchPad at UT Austin, housed in the School of Undergraduate Studies, helps students of all backgrounds navigate and explore entrepreneurship. Through the program, student founders on the Forty Acres get access to exclusive funding and program opportunities. The 2020 LaunchPad fall fellowship program focuses on social impact startups seeking to create positive societal change in health care, mental health, sustainability, education, employment and more. The three UT Austin participants will receive programming and mentorship support for their ventures from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Techstars and Future Founders as well as $5,000 each in nondilutive funding.
“At the LaunchPad, we’re constantly impressed by the student entrepreneurs that we have the privilege of supporting. These student founders are compassionate and brilliant young people committed to addressing social issues in creative ways,” said Nina Ho, the director of the LaunchPad at UT Austin. “We believe that student entrepreneurs, and young people in general, have the perspective and talent needed to become the change agents of tomorrow. We’re just here to help them identify and cultivate the skills needed to do so.”