$1.5 Million Gift to Create Entrepreneurial ‘Venture Lab’ Near White House
A collaborative space to catalyze startups and initiatives for the university and its network of alumni entrepreneurs will be created with a $1.5 million gift from Ted Leonsis (C’77) and his family.
A new Georgetown Venture Lab, launched by the McDonough School of Business’ Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, will be located in WeWork White House, one block east of the White House on 15th and G Streets NW.
“WeWork is proud to partner with Georgetown University, as we share a dedication to helping people pursue their entrepreneurial dreams,” says Arthur Minson (B’92), president and chief financial officer of WeWork, and member of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Advisory Group.
Minson introduced the concept for the Georgetown Venture Lab and played a key role in crafting the partnership between Georgetown and WeWork.
A Family Venture
Leonsis, an investor and entrepreneur who founded and continues to run Monumental Sports & Entertainment made the gift with his wife, Lynn, his son, Zach (MBA’15), and his daughter, Elle (C’14).
Zach Leonsis serves as senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Monumental Sports & Entertainment and general manager of Monumental Sports Network, while his sister is a digital marketing director of SnagFilms, Inc.
“The Georgetown Venture Lab will offer valuable support for aspiring entrepreneurs, while at the same time further strengthening Georgetown’s alumni network and Georgetown’s connections to the local business community,” says Ted Leonsis. “We would like to see these companies led by Georgetown alumni grow and become leading contributors to the local economy.”
Exclusive Space for Hoyas
A dedicated pool of up to 90 desks, including five desks co-invested by Georgetown University’s Office of the Provost for strategic planning, will be made available to students and alumni entrepreneurs from all industries.
Membership rates at the Georgetown Venture Lab will be subsidized for alumni entrepreneurs and participants will receive WeWork benefits, including 24/7 access to their home location, access to global WeWork networks and events, and exclusive discounts through the WeWork Services Store.
A community manager will staff the Georgetown Venture Lab to coordinate occupancy, design and execute programs, and connect members with the larger university alumni community, alumni entrepreneur network and campus resources.
As an added benefit, programming will be offered in partnership with the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance, including alumni and faculty mentorships for students, internships, entrepreneur-in-residence office hours and social and professional events to unite students, alumni entrepreneurs and the greater Washington, D.C., community.
“At Georgetown McDonough, we offer students many ‘only-in-D.C.’ experiences that capture life in a global capital city,” said Paul Almeida, dean and William R. Berkley Chair. “The Georgetown Venture Lab strengthens the university’s reputation as another resource where ambitious students and alumni can turn their passions into entrepreneurial ventures. We are grateful to the Leonsis family for their continued support of entrepreneurship at Georgetown and throughout our community.”
The Georgetown Venture Lab extends the Leonsis family’s leadership role in supporting the university’s entrepreneurial community. In 2016, they launched the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize to honor and financially assist students and recent alumni who kickstart social impact ventures and initiatives.
Both Ted – who acts as chair – and Zach Leonsis are a part of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Advisory Group.
“The Georgetown Venture Lab will provide a vibrant hub for alumni entrepreneurs to convene, collaborate, and create,” said Jeff Reid, founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative. “We are happy to partner with the Georgetown University Alumni Association and its Entrepreneurship Alliance to support alumni entrepreneurs in this way.”