Columbia Build Lab (CBL) was founded in November 2019. At the time, Columbia lacked a cross-school entrepreneurial hub that connected students interested in building startups from the ground up.
On the one hand, Columbia Business School students who wanted to launch their own tech-enabled startups lacked the technical abilities to create a web or application-based venture, leading many great ideas to never take root. On the other hand, Columbia’s undergraduates have always looked for ways to hone their technical skills outside of the classroom, expand their entrepreneurial network, and gain valuable early-stage startup experience. Connecting aspiring MBA student-entrepreneurs and technical undergraduates, CBL has bridged these two communities and subsequently solved the dual-sided problem.
At its core, CBL is a marketplace startup and incubator that empowers Columbia University students to scale projects into viable businesses. CBL takes no equity from its founders, provides its undergraduates with academic credit and experience as compensation, and accelerates the product time to market by launching MVPs across 1 or 2 semesters.
Our Three Pillars
01 — Accelerate
Accelerate the product time to market from an idea to MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
When you are a student, it is difficult to juggle your startup with classes, extracurriculars, and internships. As a result, your interesting idea oftentimes starts and ends as an idea and never becomes a tangible object, let alone a startup. As the name suggests, Columbia Build Lab is built upon a mission to help student-founders build products from the ground up. We are here to accelerate the product time to market from an idea to MVP. Consider us as your pro bono co-founder.
02 — Bridge
Form a bridge that connects entrepreneurial graduate students with technical undergraduate talent
A feeder school to Silicon Alley, Columbia University serves as home to young and old entrepreneurial students whether they are undergraduates in a college or pursuing a degree in business school with multiple years of past professional experience. Columbia Build Lab serves as a bridge that connects the highly entrepreneurial graduate students with technical undergraduate talents to bring forth a product and ultimately create a startup.
03 — Community
Create a network of students interested in tech, startup, and venture capital
Despite the number of students interested in startups, venture capital, and entrepreneurship at Columbia University, there is no place on campus that encompasses all levels of entrepreneurial students from a freshman in Columbia College to a second-year MBA student. Columbia Build Lab with its executive board consisting of both undergraduate and graduate students fosters a community to propel entrepreneurship beyond the group of students you meet in a class or club. Once you become a member of Columbia Build Lab, you instantly gain access to alumni who were in CBL years ago.
- Applications for the fall 2023 cohort are closed. Please check back for when the spring 2024 application will go live.