It’s 11 p.m. on a Friday night and the ground floor of the AOL building is bustling with energy. Stanford students slave in the office, working hard on the whiteboards and at their desks to refine their startups. While most of these students are working on different projects, they are united by their participation in StartX, a Stanford-based startup accelerator.
Founded in 2009 by Cameron Teitelman ’11, StartX is a startup “incubator” that brings budding entrepreneurs together to help them accelerate their infant companies. Many students apply; however, to be admitted, their applications need to show they have more than just a product idea.
“We choose our applicants not simply by their idea, but rather by the quality of dedication and passion they will have towards their company’s success,” Teitelman said.
StartX focuses on providing accepted applicants with four core resources: a network, business resources, entrepreneurial education and a strong community. The accepted applicants, whom StartX calls “founders,” gain a strong network of mentors to help them create their company step-by-step. StartX gives its founders free office space as a resource included in the program. It also gives the budding entrepreneurs business resources, including free office space, accounting and banking resources, legal support, web servers and summer stipends.
StartX satisfies all of these needs in hopes that it will eliminate minor tasks that distract from building a company.
This philosophy is “a way to help the founders focus on the company instead of trying to micromanage aspects of a startup that could easily be handled by a third party, like StartX,” Teitelman said.
The accelerator also provides a three-month-long customized education, which encourages fast paced communication between mentors and companies.
“Companies are often asked what they need, and we cater to that,” Teitelman said. “We realize that time is super crucial, and in a session that is only three months, everyone accepts that and works to gather information at an accelerated pace.”
Divya Nag ’13 works with StartX to improve a startup that she co-founded. Nag went through a StartX session last year and is participating once again in the fall session.
StartX helped teach her to become business savvy in running a startup.
“I learned about equities and other items of interest on the business side,” Nag said. “That proved to be really helpful while connecting with mentors and other startup founders.”
Others also find benefits from the organization. Foreign leaders in academia and private industry visit StartX to “learn about success,” Teitelman said. “They hope to emulate what we have here at Stanford, and we’re happy to help those who want to help entrepreneurs both domestically and internationally.”
This sense of community among entrepreneurs resonates with StartX’s mission. “It’s being surrounded by a group of passionate individuals at 11 p.m. on a Friday night that motivates us to work harder,” said Joseph Huang M.S. ’11. “When you’re surrounded by people who do what they love and are good at it, you work to exceed expectations.”
In a previous version of the story, The Daily incorrectly stated that StartX offers free office space to its mentors for cooperating and working with them. In fact, StartX offers free office space to founders as a resource for the entrepreneurs.