Current Events

Past Events

In full swing: Student teams build and pitch businesses in summer program

Posted August 20, 2015; 12:00 p.m. by John Sullivan, Office of Engineering Communications

Watch the Demo Day video HERE!

Like most guitar makers, Adam Klosowiak demonstrated his instrument by playing. His fingers flew over the strings, and the sound was clear and pure, but Klosowiak did not stop there.

He thumped the guitar against a podium, telling a gathering at AppNexus's Manhattan headquarters that "you wouldn't be able to do that with a wooden guitar." And when his business partner Jake Sheffield tossed him a rubber softball, Klosowiak, who graduated from Princeton University this year with a degree in electrical engineering, quickly switched his grip and swung the guitar like a bat, popping the ball in a high loop over the crowd. The guitar, he said, not only sounds good but "for everyday use, it's pretty much indestructible."

KLOS Guitars, featuring a new type of carbon-fiber travel instrument made by Klosowiak and four associates, was the first of seven teams that presented their startups at the Keller Center's annual Demo Day events last week. The teams appeared before full crowds in the Friend Center at Princeton on Aug. 11 and the following day at AppNexus in Manhattan. In addition to the live presentations, the teams produced videos highlighting their efforts.

This was the fourth year that the Keller Center has held its Demo Day, the culmination of the center's eLab student startup accelerator. The summer-long program provides work space, instruction and support for student teams who compete for admission. The program also provides up to $20,000 in funding without taking any equity in the fledgling ventures. Team members are matched with veteran entrepreneurs who serve as mentors, and they attend workshops and coaching sessions that concentrate on different aspects of launching a startup.

This summer marked the first year that the teams worked at the University's new Entrepreneurial Hub at 34 Chambers St. The 10,000-square-foot incubator space in downtown Princeton offers working space and information technology support for student ventures as well as startups founded by faculty members and alumni. Continue reading.