StartX is a community of the best startup founders out of Stanford designed, built and run by other founders. StartX provides structured access to the information, resources and networks that propel a startup founder forward. Our mission is to identify and accelerate the development of the highest-potential Stanford founders through experiential education and collective intelligence. We are here to cultivate a community of the best founders out of Stanford, and to allow them to use their collective strength to grow as individuals and leverage each other for life.
As a partner of many Stanford programs and the Stanford student government, we support all Stanford founders from undergrads to PhDs, postdocs, professors, and alumni. StartX is a partner of Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE). SSE is the financial arm of the Stanford student government, which represents every student on campus, including all undergraduate and graduate students.
Founders in the StartX community are heavily vetted and incredibly diverse, and help each other approach obstacles from different perspectives. Our founders hold PhDs, masters and bachelors degrees, professorships, and post-doctoral appointments and have studied medicine, engineering, business, humanities, law, science, and more. 20% of the founders in our community are women. This creation of an interdisciplinary atmosphere contributes to our community norm of trust and information sharing.
StartX is industry agnostic; our founders are tackling big problems in every industry, from biotech, medical devices, hardware, and cleantech to consumer internet and enterprise software.
One of the primary ways to join the StartX community is through our startup accelerator. Through this program, we provide access to an organized community of the best Stanford founders and serial entrepreneur mentors, real time and individualized education, and infrastructure resources. We are a non-profit company and there is no charge (equity or otherwise) for participating in our accelerator. While most founders that are accepted to the accelerator have already graduated or have taken leaves of absence, some exceptional founders manage to build a company while in school.
In just over two years, the accelerator has received applications from over 2,400 Stanford founders comprising 1000 companies. Out of these, we have had 210 founders and 60 companies graduate from our accelerator program. So far, our founders have made incredible progress. 85% of our founders’ companies are funded and still growing. Our companies have released products, been acquired, and are profitable. However, best of all, our founders have learned a tremendous amount about how to effectively lead a team and how to build a lasting company.
After graduating from the StartX accelerator program, our founders enjoy lifelong benefits. These include access to StartX's network of mentors, investors, and a consistently growing community of Stanford's best founders.
The StartX approach is built on providing the following values to our founders:
We take 0% equity and charge nothing.
The main entry point into StartX’s founder community is our three-month accelerator program, which we run in the fall/winter, spring, and summer of each year. During the program, founders become trusted peers and often close friends. After graduation, StartX-backed founders become increasingly valuable to each other as they continue to leverage each others’ expertise and network for the rest of their lives.
Founders in StartX’s accelerator get access to world-class mentors who are dedicated to helping them grow their companies and giving them long-term guidance on vision and strategy. Once paired with a company, mentors are committed to meeting with their companies in person at least biweekly and also to field questions via email or phone calls. Within the community we also have Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs). These are Stanford alumni founders who work on their own startups out of our shared office space and have already had successful exits, funding rounds, and product releases with their previous startups. EIRs are there to mentor and support all founders in the program.
Throughout the accelerator program, we assess the needs and learning goals of our companies in real time through an in-house feedback system. Based on our founders’ needs, we deliver customized education by hosting workshops and 1-1 office hours, as well as connecting founders with experts to address their learning goals. We hold several milestone events where our network of mentors give feedback to our founders on their progress and demos.
We host a Demo Day every session and invite our network of investors to hear fundraising companies pitch. These events are attended by over 200 investors and press from TechCrunch, Forbes, WSJ, and more. Prior to each Demo Day, our staff and mentors work with each company extensively to refine their pitches. Throughout the session we provide access to numerous top-tier investors, angels, corporate representatives, and press. This is essential for fundraising, publicity and corporate partnerships.
StartX provides various infrastructure resources to remove basic barriers that would otherwise suck up founders’ time and money. As a StartX founder, you will have access to over $100,000 of free resources through StartX’s partnerships. These resources include: $5,000 of free legal support from the top lawyers in Silicon Valley, free banking, free cloud computing and web server space, free software, free office space... and tons of coffee.
For the Spring 2013 session, we will also be providing need-based financial aid to help our founders pay for expenses such as housing and food. Financial need is based on the company and the individuals' ability to cover basic living costs and is assessed on the onset of the program if requested. After the session, teams can re-apply to subsequent sessions of the accelerator.
In order to be eligible to apply to the StartX accelerator program, at least one founder of your company has to have a Stanford affiliation. The Stanford affiliated founder has to have been enrolled or have held a faculty or postdoctoral position within the previous four years of the application period. Additionally, the Stanford founder(s) must hold a significant equity stake in the company.
We make exceptions in exceptional cases.
We accept applications teams of typically between one and four founders, and we encourage companies with alumni co-founders to apply. We take founders from all industries and departments. This includes biotech, cleantech, hardware, medical devices, nonprofits, music, finance, IT, etc. StartX is stage agnostic; companies have have entered the program at a variety of stages from preparing to raise a Series A to having recently developed an initial prototype.
If you do not fit the requirements listed above for the accelerator, there are other ways to join the community. If you have any questions about whether or not your company is a fit for StartX please contact us at email@example.com.
StartX alumni and trusted expert judges in our network initially review submitted applications to determine which teams receive a first round interview. First round interviews take place at the StartX office in front of a panel of judges composed of StartX mentors, venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, and StartX staff. Following first round interviews, a select number of teams will complete second-round interviews which include meeting with a handful of StartX alumni and staff members. Decisions are then released in the following week.
StartX is a nonprofit organization, and we take no equity from participants in our accelerator program. Our companies receive resources to work on their startups for zero cost. Any product developed or work done through StartX belongs completely to its originators. StartX does not take ownership of its participants' intellectual property, nor does Stanford. The Office of Technology and Licensing (OTL) at Stanford has no legal connection with StartX and therefore has no claims to IP generated at StartX.
The bottom line is that StartX is focused on founder education and growth — not profit.