The nearly nonstop activity behind the window of 20 Utica Street in the village of Hamilton might give the impression that something exciting is afoot at the former Parry’s Hardware store. That impression would be correct.
Thanks to the Entrepreneurs of New York Fund (ENY), six fledgling small businesses launched by Colgate students and alumni are now taking advantage of shared office space at the downtown incubator, receiving invaluable mentorship from Colgate’s Thought Into Action Institute and utilizing $15,000 each in development funding.
For Yuni Sameshima ’13, and Joey Petracca ’13, ENY funding and guidance has meant their business, Recipe into Reality, has gone from concept and prototype to a fully featured product launching this month. Residents of Hamilton will be able to use Recipe into Reality to order ingredients from recipes found online, and have them delivered the same day.
“I think the biggest thing is that by winning the ENY fund we got exposure and were able to secure another $15,000 in angel funding,” said Petracca, whose company was able to hire a marketing intern and computer programmer for the duration of the six-week program, which ends June 28.
ENY Fund Recipients
“It wasn’t about the money for us. The reason we were so excited to come up here is because of the mentorship and the access to alumni. They’ve been invaluable in giving us advice and steering us in the right direction,” Raymond said.
Wills Hapworth ’07, TIA co-founder and founder of DarkHorse Investors, said the work being done by ENY winners encourages development in Hamilton, and brings together innovative and energetic entrepreneurs to share ideas in a shared space.
“These were not just good pitches that impressed the judges … these are teams that have already stumbled and learned what being an entrepreneur is really about,” Hapworth said. “By the time they came to pitch for the fund, they already had clear ideas about their capital needs, resource needs, and business strategies, so it was explicitly clear what the funding was going toward.”
Having teams of hungry start-up companies huddled together for long hours of work in a shared location also leads to innovation and collaboration, said Gateswap co-founders Rob Carroll ‘15 and Gabe Zetter ‘15.
“It’s a cool environment they’ve created, and it’s helped us carry out our vision,” Zetter said. “We’ve been able to talk and bounce ideas off each other.”
The ENY Fund was started with financial assistance from Dan Rosensweig P’15, ’17, who helped conceive and initially seed the fund.