How StartX Helps Students Accelerate Their Businesses

Posted Jun 5, 2013

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.”

Success Rate

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.

Demo Day:

During the most recent Demo Day, the following companies participated:

Beyond the Box
BitBuilder (SayWe)
Spire (Breathware)