Princeton University senior Michael Hauss has been working with five classmates on a new app called Rodeo that will allow users to discover live events in their community and recommend them to their friends.
His team began working on the app as part of the Keller Center’s annual eLab program last summer. Hauss and his team consider themselves fortunate. They and the other students from the 2015 eLab group have been enjoying working at a new space, the Princeton Entrepreneurship Hub, at 34 Chambers Street in downtown Princeton. Previously, teams worked in offices in the engineering quadrangle on the Princeton University campus.
The new hub provides a shared working space for startups founded by faculty, students, alumni, and entrepreneurs in the community.
“It’s a great space. There are lots of tables and whiteboards for group work. The lighting is nice, and there is plenty of coffee,” Hauss said. “It’s only a three-minute walk from my dorm.”
University officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new hub Wednesday afternoon. Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber, Provost David Lee, Keller Center Director Mung Chiang, and Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert spoke at the event.
The goal of the hub is to provide an anchor for a wide range of startup activities at Princeton.
“In the few short months since its opening, the hub has become a nexus of entrepreneurial activity, a place where creative and talented entrepreneurs from the University and the community are coming together to learn from one another, establish connections, and make contributions to the local and regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, and ultimately to the world,” Eisgruber said.
“University entrepreneurship cannot exist in a vacuum,” Eisgruber said. “Partnerships to facilitate entrepreneurship are increasingly important, and we look forward to ongoing collaborations with municipal leaders and area business partners to cultivate and nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem in central New Jersey.”
Founded in 2005, the Keller Center supports innovation in education and entrepreneurship programs. The new 10,000-square-foot hub offers meeting rooms, offices, classrooms and information technology support.
“The hub allows us to engage with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Chiang, adding that he hopes the space will support a “vibrant community of entrepreneurs.”
Lempert said the new space offers opportunities for town and gown partnerships. She lamented what she called the “localized brain drain” when people leave Princeton after graduating from the University.
“Now people have a reason to stay,” she said.