Summit Recap

Information from Kathy Hovis

On November 3rd, a crowd of entrepreneurs gathered at the Times Center in New York City for the sixth annual Cornell Entrepreneurship Summit. Student Agencies Foundation was an underwriting sponsor of this inspirational event.

President Martha E. Pollack was joined by entrepreneurs from Brooklyn Brewery, Rent the Runway and Shutterstock, where each gave TED-style talks and fireside chats about their entrepreneurial journeys. President Pollack awarded the 2017 Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year honor to Robert Smith ('85), founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, during the event.

Each entrepreneur shared insights about their successes and challenges and motivated participants to connect with one another for collaborative opportunities in this year’s Summit, which was fittingly titled “Where Ideas Collide.”

Entrepreneurship at Cornell hosted the inaugural summit in 2012 as an extension of its annual spring celebration event and conference in Ithaca. The summit in NYC attracted more than 500 participants.

“This year’s Summit dovetails nicely with the grand opening of Cornell Tech in New York City this fall,” said Zach Shulman ('87, J.D. '90), director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell. “Summit will be an awesome event and further establishes Cornell as an entrepreneurial force in New York City.”

Featured speakers included Steve Hindy (’71, MAT ’75), co-founder and chairman of Brooklyn Brewery and a former Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, and Stefanie Kasselakis Kyles, CEO and president, Vassilaros Coffee, who left a successful corporate career to lead her family’s business, which has operated in New York City since 1918.

Scott Belsky (’02), founder of Behance and a current venture partner for Benchmark, acted as moderator.

“In contrast to other entrepreneurship events that tend to be very ‘techy’ these days, Summit is different,” Belsky said. “In the spirit of Cornell, we gather an eclectic group of entrepreneurs from many different industries. The insights shared and cross-pollination that occurs underscores the importance of bringing innovators with different interests together in the same space. I am honored to host for the sixth year running.”

Other speakers include:

  • Liza Landsman (’90), president of;

  • Robert Smith ('85), founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners;

  • J.J. Ramberg, co-founder, Goodshop and host of MSNBC’s “Your Business”;

  • Ilya Sukhar (’07, M.Eng. ’08), general partner, Matrix Partners;

  • Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder, Rent the Runway;

  • Carsten Koerl, CEO and founder, Sportradar; and

  • Jon Oringer, founder, chairman and CEO of Shutterstock.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this meaningful day, we are proud of its success and look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s Summit.

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