About The W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs

The entrepreneurship team at the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs helps students launch and lead high-growth companies.

We are a creative hub for the design of twenty-first century businesses and learning environments.

Our entrepreneurship team helps students to launch and lead high-growth companies. We’re not talking about little tweaks here and there. We’re talking about a way of thinking that surprises the market again and again with exciting, unexpected solutions. A way of thinking that produces an unconventional strategy that leaves competitors scrambling to catch up. A way of thinking that turns consumer expectations upside down and takes an industry into its next generation. It’s what we call disruptive thinking.

Learn. Launch. Lead.

If you're thinking now's the time to finally get that idea you've been kicking around in your head off the ground, we can help. Through an array of co-curricular activities, the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs equip students, alumni, and researchers from across NYU's campus with the skills, know-how and ability to launch and grow sustainable ventures. For every emerging entrepreneur we see each year (and there's more than 800 of them), we strive to ensure that they: 1) Develop the skills and acquire the information critical to creating a successful venture; 2) Get the support and resources needed to make their vision actually happen; and 3) Build bold, exceptional entrepreneurial enterprises that bring innovation to the marketplace, create jobs, improve lives and build wealth.

Entrepreneurship Team | W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs


Luke Williams, Executive Director, Innovation Labs

Luke is an authority on disruptive thinking and the practice of innovation as a leadership capability. He is a clinical associate professor at Stern where he teaches Innovation and Design. Luke was a fellow at frog design, one of the world’s most influential product design firms.


Cynthia Franklin, Director, Entrepreneurship

Cynthia oversees the development, execution, and growth of all Entrepreneurship initiatives within the Labs. She also teaches Getting to Launch, a popular startup class. Cynthia has 16 years’ experience advising or growing new ventures. She holds an MBA from Stern.


Phoebe Punzalan, Associate Director, Entrepreneurship

Phoebe manages daily operations of the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge. She coordinates the competition’s extensive workshops; manages the 100+ coaches/judges; and maintains communication with 180+ teams. Phoebe is an NYU alumna with an MPA from the Wagner School and a BS from CAS.


Tyler Becker, Assistant Director, Entrepreneurship

Tyler focuses on the delivery of startup advising. He also coordinates the NYU Mobile App Contest. Tyler spearheads community building initiatives, including The Innovation Hub, a private social network for NYU founders and innovators. He has a BS from NYU SPS


Sarah Ryan, Assistant Director

Sarah supports our Entrepreneurship and Learning Science groups. Leveraging her experience in media relations, and brand marketing, she develops communications strategies for all Labs’ initiatives. She earned a BS in mass communications from Boston University.


Patricia Miller, Administrative Assistant

Patricia provides the team with administrative, program coordination, and event logistics support. She is a graduate of LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York.


Student and Graduate Assistants

The W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs employs several Student Assistants and Graduate Assistants who help support our team's various events, services, and programs throughout the year. If you're interested in joining our team as a Student Assistant or Graduate Assistant, please reach out!