Stanford making new investment in its entrepreneurs

September 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Stanford is a university known for students who start companies. In fact, we've covered a lot of them here on ABC7 News. But now, the university is investing in those young entrepreneurs in a totally new way.

In the parking lot of the AOL building in Palo Alto, a big leather couch is being wheeled and hoisted into the future. It's a couch many young entrepreneurs have slept on, if they've made it that far.

"People sleep under the desks sometimes," StartX founder and CEO Cameron Teitelman said. "Like, literally they'll just code code code for 15 hours straight, and then just lie down on the floor and sleep for a couple hours and get back up."

It's that kind of passion that makes a perfect fit here at StartX, the startup accelerator born out of Stanford University. It's a learning program for entrepreneurs who are passionate about an idea.

"And when I say passionate I don't mean that they think it's cool. It's that they can't sleep at night, cuz they're thinking about it," Teitleman said.

He founded it two years ago. And now, he's packing his things.

StartX isn't shutting down, far from it.

After launching ten successful companies, including Maykah, the building toy company for girls, StartX has outgrown the space AOL gave it to get off the ground.

And now, with a $3.6 million grant from the university and the hospital, it's heading out on its own.

Even with more money to rent more space, nobody here's planning to spread out and put their feet up. It turns out working shoulder-to-shoulder is one of the things that's made StartX so successful.

"We'd probably take this out and in this space we could easily have ten people sitting here," StartX Chief Financial Officer John Melas-Kyriazi said.

Sitting in close quarters creates accidental teamwork.

"Usually what happens is you over hear them and say oh yeah I can help with that, and it happens all the time," Teitelman said.

And now, Stanford is part of that teamwork. They'll contribute ten percent to any round of venture capital a StartX company gets.

You might say it's an investment in a different sort of education.

"We already have project based classes where people do, but this is the ultimate form of doing," StartX Entrepreneur in Residence Tony Lai said.


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