Jordy Leiser ’06, Nicole Falcaro ’09 and John Ernsberger ’06

Ask entrepreneur Jordy Leiser ’06 why Bucknell seems to have a critical mass of incredibly successful business pioneers—such as Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone ’57, P’83, LendingTree founder Doug Lebda ’92, founder Marc Lore ’93 and Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley ’00—and Leiser will tell you it’s all about the people who are attracted to Bucknell. “The University draws independent thinkers who want to do big things. They want to run something rather than be a cog in the wheel.” He says the tight friendships formed among Bucknellians are also a key part of alumni entrepreneurial success. “Trust is so important when you’re starting out. Of course you turn to close friends.”

Leiser partnered with John Ernsberger ’06 to found STELLAService. Based in New York City, the company measures and rates the customer service of online retailers and works with Zappos, QVC and other companies to highlight their commitment to great service. STELLAService has grown fast and now has 20 employees, including senior analyst Nicole Falcaro ’09.

When Ernsberger and Leiser were living on Third Street in Lewisburg, trying to get their startup going, they found it wasn’t just the Bucknellians with whom they went to school that they could call for support. Lebda became an early investor and helped recruit other investors, including fellow Bucknellians.

In the spirit of Bucknellians working together and helping one another, Ernsberger and Leiser hope to pay forward the help they received. They have worked with Bucknell to create a business plan for the Bucknell Innovation Center, which includes initiatives such as the Hatchery Residential College and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program.

“With technology central to innovation, the University’s combination of engineering and liberal arts is fertile ground to formally put a whole entrepreneurial ecosystem in place,” says Leiser.

He points back to the University’s legacy of successful alumni as well. “The entrepreneurial success at Bucknell has kind of exploded. There are enough of us out here who have been through it to help mentor and advise new generations of upstart Bucknellians that really do want to reinvent the wheel.”