TechX is a Stanford student-led organization that aims to connect Business School students with innovation and technology in Silicon Valley. We spoke with Ritu Narayan, the organization’s founder, to get more information ahead of an event the organization will host Wednesday, Feb. 26, to bring Alchemist Accelerator startups to the Stanford campus.
What is TechX? How and why was it started?
TechX is a student-led initiative founded by Narayan and a group of volunteers at Stanford GSB to connect ideas and people in technology to Stanford community. In summer of 2013, Narayan, a seasoned entrepreneur and leader in Silicon Valley who has worked with companies such as eBay, Yahoo!, and Oracle, joined the Sloan Fellows program at Stanford GSB.
Each year, 85 leaders from all over the world are selected to participate in this one year accelerated management program at Stanford GSB. As Ritu spoke with her classmates, she quickly developed a deep urge to connect leaders at Stanford GSB to technology innovation and entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley.
With this deep desire to connect ideas and people in technology, TechX was started to organize events, dinners, talks and meet-ups specifically targeting needs of global leaders. TechX is run by a team of student volunteers at Stanford GSB who have to date organized more than 10 events, including a marquee event at GSB by Business Model Generation author Alexander Osterwalder and pioneer of Lean Startup movement Steve Blank, which was attended by upwards of 300 Stanford students and professionals in the Bay Area.
In October 2013, TechX partnered with a leading accelerator in the Valley to have its current batch of startups pitch to Sloan Fellows for business advice and potential business relationships.
What is the goal of the organization? What should people expect for programming?
The goal of TechX is to connect ideas and people in technology. Currently, our scope is Stanford community. Since our inception, we have had several visitors from other universities visit us to learn how TechX model can be replicated at their universities or cities. It says to us that there is a scope of extending TechX model outside of Stanford to make it potentially a national and international level model of inviting local and traveling executives for speaking engagements at leading universities.
Programming of TechX is decidedly based on interests of the group and audience and by survey of leading trends in market. Most of the events are very organically organized to meet the needs of cohort towards an interested topic and then inviting most appropriate leader in the valley to share their insights. We encourage our speakers to keep the sessions very visual, informative, and yet inspiring and entertaining for the audience. We also ask our guests to provide us with demos of the products where possible during their talks. Sessions are usually intimate with lot of Q&A time and one-on-one interactions, including a post-talk dinner with a small group of interested students.
Tell me more about the event you are hosting. What startups are coming?
This week, TechX will be hosting an exclusive pitching session at Stanford GSB with 10 startups that are currently being incubated by Alchemist Accelerator, a venture-backed initiative focused on accelerating the development of seed-stage ventures that monetize from enterprises. Founders of startups will pitch to Sloan Fellows to get advice on range of challenges they are currently facing from business strategy, product, user experience, marketing, sales and distribution, funding.
The format of the event allows each startup to pitch for six minutes followed by a four minute Q&A. Pitches will be immediately followed by informal networking between founders and Sloan fellows to further drive deeper discussions around challenges, common interests and connections.
Ravi Belani, Managing Director at Alchemist and Fenwick & West Lecturer of Entrepreneurship at Stanford, sees this event as an opportunity for his startups to connect with their future advisers, investors, and hires at GSB. The companies presenting this week will not be public until the demo day in May. Alchemist Accelerator has been funded by likes of Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Venture, DFJ and was voted as accelerator of the year in 2013 by Venture Beat.
Past startups that have presented at TechX at a previous event in October 2013 include:
- UPSHOT – The only mobile reporting app that allows you to *create* new reports on your mobile device. Founders: Joseph Turian (NYU PhD, Harvard), Thomas Kim (Harvard, Salesforce Analytics).
- PathDrugomics – Simulation testing and predictive analytics PaaS for early stage medical and chemical research. Founder: Todd Meyerrose (Stanford Faculty, PhD Bio WashU).
- Assemblage – Real-time collaboration with extremely simple, one-click tools: Kollaborate.io, Presentation.io and Same.io. Founders: Cathrine Andersen (CEO), Christian Rasmussen (CTO, WebRTC pioneer, MS CS).
- Appslingr – (acquired by OTOY) – Brings seamless access to desktop apps from the web, mobile or tablet devices, and integrates with cloud file storage systems. Founders: Mike Christopher (BS CS, Engineer, Brightcove & Zencoder), Nick Chadwick (CTO).
- Peer.im – Enterprise messenger for your team and your customers. Founders: Johnson Liu (VMware Senior Engineer), Angelo Huang (Yahoo Hadoop Group founding engineer).
How do other startups become involved with you?
TechX welcomes startups to reach out to us to participate in talks, networking session or a pitching session for specific areas of advice from the Stanford GSB community.
This post was originally published on thedishdaily.com before it was acquired by The Stanford Daily in summer 2014.