Columbia Business School Startup Lab Enters Second Year

A technology executive with more than two decades of experience in data security, Steve Shillingford now serves as a mentor and advisor to portfolio companies held by Signal Peak Ventures, a venture capital and private equity investment firm. Steve Shillingford received his graduate education in business administration at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia Business School.

Centered in one of the largest financial metropolises in the world, Columbia Business School has been at the forefront of business education for nearly a century. In order to meet the evolving needs of the business world and support economic growth, the Columbia Entrepreneurship Coalition established the Startup Lab a year ago to support businesses during their most vulnerable stage of growth. Much like the nascent community it supports, the Startup Lab started as an early experiment to fulfill a social need and has since grown rapidly into an ecosystem of innovative business leaders and like-minded professionals.

Going into its second year, the Startup Lab supports more than 70 alumni in residence (and counting), with a diverse range of startups in the tech, retail, and media industries. In-house ventures such as Wandering Bear Coffee Company, which sells and delivers premium, boxed ice coffee, are evaluated on a trimester basis to assess progress and community impact. Other ventures that have gone on to become standalone enterprises include Sailo, a peer-to-peer marketplace for boat rentals; Deanslist, a data-management tool for assessing key performance indicators in schools; and Exubrancy, a provider of in-office fitness and wellness workshops.