As we all know, Stanford University is known for having a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. Stanford alumni is known for starting amazing companies like Google, Trader Joe’s, Dolby Labs, Yahoo!, Netflix, Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Wipro, IDEO, Instagram, PayPal, etc. It only makes sense that a business development accelerator program launched at the school. StartX is a non-profit organization that spun out of Stanford and has helped accelerate the development of some of Stanford’s best entrepreneurs with a range of ideas from bio-tech to enterprise software. Members of the StartX program include undergrads, professors, and post-docs. This past week, Stanford hosted the Demo Day for their Summer 2013 startup class.
How Did StartX Launch?
StartX launched as a program called Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE Labs). The real power in SSE Labs was the ability to connect like-minded entrepreneurs with mentorship from Silicon Valley experts. SSE Labs also provided entrepreneurs with free office space and legal support. StartX takes 0% equity from companies.
When I asked SSE Labs / StartX founder Cameron Teitelman how he came up with the idea, he told me that the “class structure was not very effective” at getting entrepreneurs to work together on building a product or company. Teitelman told me that he bounced some of his ideas about starting a student entrepreneur accelerator program with his advisor George Zachary and received a lot of great feedback for the program.
“We started off by building training program, but it naturally evolved into a customized education system,” Teitelman told me. “We help founders learn across their industry.”
Teitelman added that around 7-8% of the Stanford population now applies for the program and they go on to receive an average funding rate of about $1.8 million. Companies that have gone through StartX has raised a total of over $150 million and 10% of them are purely financed through revenue. Around 80% of the companies now have institutional funding. Around 7 total StartX companies have been acquired so far with 4 of those being this year alone. The 4 acquired companies include WiFiSlam (Apple), Loki Studios (Yahoo!), Shopwell (HarvestMark), and 6Dot (ProxTalker).
StartX is backed by over $1.65 million in cumulative funding from the Kauffman Foundation, Microsoft, Blackstone Foundation, Cisco, Intuit (the newest signature partner), Greylock Ventures, and AOL. There are over 287 Stanford-affiliated founders that are supported and a new branch of StartX called StartX Med launched in May 2012. The program has about an 8-10% acceptance rate. There is no charge for participation.
During the most recent Demo Day, the following companies participated:
Beyond the Box