In the middle of NYU’s Washington Square campus sits the Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab (Leslie eLab), a collaborative space that provides everything students need to get their business ideas off the ground and supports them through every stage of development.

At the Leslie eLab, you will find meeting rooms, workspaces, printers, and whiteboards. There’s a prototyping lab complete with equipment like laser cutters and a 3-D printer and staff to help you learn how to use them. Students from across NYU’s schools and colleges can connect with peers who have expertise in complementary disciplines and form collaborative partnerships or business teams. They can also get legal, financial, or business advice from successful entrepreneurs and gain support through a wide range of special entrepreneurial programming and events.

Here are a few student teams that have utilized the resources at the Leslie eLab to grow their ventures at NYU:

Student and Chorebug CEO Avante Price and an icon of cleaning products.

ChoreBug is an online platform that connects vetted high schoolers to nearby community members to help them with yard work, moving, cleaning, furniture assembly, and other odd jobs. The company also empowers local youth with interpersonal and customer service skills.

How the Leslie eLab helped:

ChoreBug was chosen to participate in the Leslie eLab’s Summer Launchpad, a nine-week program through which promising start-ups receive coaching, customer development training, and funding. Avante Price, ChoreBug’s CEO and cofounder and an NYU Stern student, explains, “Throughout the summer, my team and I worked at the Leslie eLab for eight to 10 hours a day, conducting market research and applying the results to our business strategies going forward. During the Summer Launchpad, we reached many milestones and inflection points that added a lot of value to ChoreBug.”

A hand holding a mason jar with a paper straw in it.

According to National Geographic, plastic drinking straws are one of the top 10 items that pollute beaches around the world. SeaStraws aims to change that. Its goal is to empower the hospitality industry with sustainable alternatives for plastic drinking straws. The company provides sustainable food service products to universities, restaurant chains, hotels, food service distributors, and coffee shops. SeaStraws produces backyard-compostable, single-use disposables as well as reusable products like birchwood cutlery, paper straws, and reusable silicone straws.

How the Leslie eLab helped:

Sophie Kennedy, SeaStraws’ chief sustainability officer and a recent graduate of the College of Arts and Science, says, “Our team took advantage of all the Leslie eLab has to offer. We used the prototyping fund to test paper straw designs and we attended several coaching meetings with the Leslie eLab’s coaching team, experienced lawyers, and venture capitalists. In addition, we attended Summer Launchpad, which was instrumental to our development as an organization. The Leslie eLab space is incredible to work in, as there are so many young founders you can collaborate with. As a current founder-in-residence at the lab, I use the space as an office, but I also get to coach younger NYU teams that I constantly learn from. It’s a huge part of SeaStraws’ story, and I urge all NYU students to pop in and learn more about this wonderful environment.”

A collage of PITVOTtag CEO Emily Long and an icon of a suitcase.

Imagine not having to keep track of a paper tag the next time you leave your luggage with a bellhop. PIVOTtag is the first text messaging tool specifically designed to make retrieving your luggage easier for both you and the bellhop. This eco-friendly approach also eliminates the need for single-use tags. The company provides hotels with reusable ones, so when guests are ready to pick up their luggage, they simply send a text. No more lost tags. No more confusion. No more waste.

How the Leslie eLab helped:

The student team behind PIVOTtag, its founder and CEO Emily Long, and its developer Arahant Ashok Kumar met at the Leslie eLab. “I listed a job posting there looking for a tech developer and Arahant reached out,” explains Emily, an NYU School of Professional Studies student. The team also participated in Summer Launchpad, where they became part of a supportive student entrepreneurial community. According to Arahant, “Interacting with fellow entrepreneurs and mentors is inspiring. Our cohort was encouraging, challenging, and collaborative.”


Cindy Nowicki is a writer and content strategist in NYU’s Office of Marketing Communications. She enjoys meeting with students to learn about their experiences and telling the stories of all the wonderful things happening at NYU. Cindy holds a BA in English from the University of Richmond and studied English literature at the University of Bristol, England. A Brooklyn native, she still discovers new things about New York City every day. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young sons.