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Featured on Oct 20, 2011

Rafael Balbi

"pursuing passion and helping visionaries turn nothing into something."


A recent graduate of Syracuse University, I am obsessed with pursuing passion and pursuing vision. I was born and raised in the Lower East Side of New York. Upon returning from Syracuse I fell into the usual 'look-for-a-job' routine but soon realized that I've always wanted to start a business and decided 'why not now!?'.

From there I met with a European venture partner company and have since then partnered with them to launch my company 'Franklin's Lab'. Franklin's Lab is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs turn nothing into something. We go to war with our clients and are looking to become a global powerhouse for entrepreneurship.

Things I like: Action movies, books, sports, working out, fashion

  • Title: founder, Franklin's Lab
  • Age: 23
  • Location: Tribeca
  • Contact: @Rafael_balbi_jr,

You’re incredibly passionate about helping entrepreneurs.  Who are the entrepreneurs that inspire you?

Steve Jobs, Bruce Lee, Will Smith, and Mark Zuckerburg. These are people that aren't entrepreneurs by trade per-se but are entrepreneurial. They have all shared a willingness and down right determination to reform things in their field. The four also share an intrinsic view of making things happen, which is that it all starts with a vision and action. Having surpassed heaps and mountains of resistance and failure, they continued then and continue now to become a catalyst for change.

They have captured, the ultimate of that which is what we strive for; timelessness. In some way or another, these four will go down in history. The most powerful thing that we have as humans, are ideas. Their ideas will live on forever.

What were the last few action movies that you’ve watched?  Do you have any books that you normally recommend for new entrepreneurs when you meet them?

I love action movies! Some of my past favorites, The Dark Knight, Fast 5, and the last two Bond movies.

As for books, hm. The first thing that always comes to mind is 'The Alchemist'. I truly believe that this is a book that every entrepreneur should read. In finding self, we can stop resisting against the essential part of us that is looking to express itself. 'Think and Grow Rich' is a self-motivation classic. 'Four Steps to the Epiphany', 'Chicken Noodle Soup for the Entrepreneurial Soul' has gotten me through some down days and one of my recent favorites is 'Start With Why' by Simon Sinek.

How did you end up meeting your European venture partner company and where did the idea for Franklin’s Lab come from?

The idea for 'Franklin's Lab' all started from a decision and an email. Upon graduating from Syraucse University, I returned back home to NYC. After doing some minimal job searches, I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship that I've always wanted to take.

I had several ideas in mind and decided to start emailing the local incubators.
I got an email back from  'Triana Venture Partners' and met  Phd Jabril Bensedrine at the Triana office in TriBeCa. Franklins Lab was originally supposed to be a product that I marketed.

However at the time we were both still seeking different visions

After our first client feedback/brainstorming session that we had I decided to present a different approach.

This approach eventually morphed into our 'Passion to Prototype' sessions. In light of the success we have now hosted over 11 sessions with over 40 participants.

We are now looking to host our 'Lab Series' which will workshops to help entrepreneurs attain the skills for their ventures. Please visit our website at