By Sri Muppidi
StartX, a non-profit startup incubator for Stanford-affiliated entrepreneurs, hosted its 11th Demo Day last Thursday night, as eight companies delivered business pitches to a crowd of influential advisors, investors and media members.
StartX runs three annual sessions and has around 20 startups in each year’s class. The application process includes an online portion and two rounds of interviews with expert judges. Around eight to 10 percent of the applicants are accepted into the program.
StartX founder Cameron Teitelman ’11 explained that the organization’s goal is to educate companies about building business skills and accessing people. StartX’s Demo Day, which occurs at the end of each StartX session, aims to give startup founders the opportunity to showcase what they have been working on.
From working on prototypes to employing 40 engineers, the eight presenting startups included companies at every stage of the development process. Each delivered a short pitch and interacted with investors throughout the day in order to fundraise. According to Alexa Lee ’95, director of public relations and communications at StartX, pitches focused on the companies’ aims, their founders’ stories and their potential market opportunities.
“StartX’s focus is on building great entrepreneurs and helping them develop great businesses instead of simply making money,” Lee said.
Eric Bakan, co-founder of Nightingale — a mobile behavioral monitoring tool for parents, teachers and clinicians — is a graduate of StartX’s most recent class. He described the StartX program as “amazing due to its curriculum, connections and advisory board.”
Travelnuts, Inc., another company that pitched, works with hotels to build an infrastructure that enables them to tap into additional revenue upselling extras and activities directly to their guests.
Founder Federico Menapace MBA ’13 acknowledged the importance of StartX in helping his company make connections with the right people and in answering any questions they had during development.
While most of the startups that have gone through StartX’s program are for-profit business models, Everybody Dance Now! (EDN!), which serves at-risk youth by encouraging dance as a healthy alternative to drugs and violence, is the first non-profit startup to have participated in StartX’s program.
According to founder Jacqueline Rotman ’12, EDN! has expanded from 15 to 35 classes a week over the course of the StartX program. She attributed the progress to StartX’s “amazing, powerful network, resources and fantastic advising.”
“There is a sense of community with the other founders, and we all share advice. Even as a non-profit in StartX, EDN! is still a startup and faces the same challenges as other startups,” Rotman said.
StartX, which launched in 2010, has now supported 377 founders and 157 companies in total, according to Teitelman. The Stanford-StartX Fund, established in September 2013 by StartX, Stanford University and Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, has invested $13 million in StartX companies to date.
“Twenty-nine investments in [the last] four months has been fun to deal with,” Teitelman reflected.
Teitelman also added that StartX will move to a new office on Hanover Street in downtown Palo Alto in March.
“It is three blocks off of Stanford’s campus…a six-minute bike ride from the Medical Center,” he said. “It will open a lot of resources to the Stanford community and alumni.”
Contact Sri Muppidi at srim13 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.