Stanford Startup Accelerator Program and Demo Day

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Image Credit: My Apple iPhone 4 (apologies for the image quality)

On Wednesday, StartX, formerly known as Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) Labs, a non-profit startup accelerator designed to accelerate the development of Stanford’s top entrepreneurs, held their Demo Day event where startups who participated in the StartX program got to pitch their startups to investors and the general public. StartX began as an incubator-like program out of Stanford and was cofounded by Dan Ha and Cameron Teitelman. Since then, the program has branched out to operate out of AOL’s headquarter in Palo Alto, CA.

The program provides a vast number of mentors and help as well as office space via AOL’s office spaces for startups to work out of. Unlike other incubator programs such as Y-Combinator, TechStars, and others, StartX does not take equity in the companies that are approved for the program. The only requirement is that at least one team member applying must be a Stanford student or alum. I was thoroughly impressed by the set up they had and all of the participants greatly attribute any success they had in participation of the program.

StartX Stats

To date, over 1000 people have applied with over 100 uniques companies applying from both Stanford students and even from Stanford Professors. In the last year, of the three sessions held, 24 companies were approved into the StartX program. Of the companies that applied, the ratio of female participants were one in five, an uncanny achievement for woman in entrepreneurship, which have been an ongoing debate elsewhere about the lack of female entrepreneurship involvement overall. Out of the last batch that recently applied, 9 out of 107 companies were approved into the program, meaning StartX is very selective in the number of companies they will approve and allow to participate. The main event on Wednesday comprised of the on stage keynote and startups pitching, followed by dinner and the demo floor where startups in the StartX program set up tables and booths to display their demos for interested guests to engage and ask further questions.

Image Credit: My Apple iPhone 4 (apologies for the image quality)

The pitches were divided into two segments. The first segment consists of incoming startups joining the next class of StartX and were able to give brief shorter pitches to the audience. The second segment consisted of existing StartX companies and comprised of longer pitch times. Below were the main companies that pitched at StartX.

The Companies at StartX

Clear Ear is a new startup looking to help solve severe ear wax problems by introducing a much safer, faster, and more cost effective solution than existing solutions today through a prototype device they’ve built.

QWhispr is looking to do social search correctly. They are looking to aggregator social recommendations as a basis for returning results and argue that fundamentally, social search is very different than the way web search works today.

6dot Innovations is a company looking to help the blind navigate the world better by introducing a cost effective solution through a labeling device they’ve created that can help print embossed labels in braille that can translate text, music notes, and math.

WiFi-Slam is a company looking to become a global indoor positioning system. They argue that GPS does not work indoors well today and yet there are many cases where such a system is needed. One example is when navigating through a hospital. Current signs don’t do a great job helping people navigate to the correct place they’re looking for and many hospitals employ full time employees whose sole job is to help get patients to where they need to go. And this scenario does not just apply to hospitals. WiFi-Slams looks to solve this by creating a unique solution that leverages existing wifi to help you geolocate what’s around you indoors.

Leglytics is looking to be a personalize search engine for legal documents. Ultimately a quicker and easier way to find legal documents than existing solutions today.

Justos is a for offline transaction. Starting with the local latino and hispanic community, Juntos is developing a text messaging (SMS) base system that allows users to track their monthly expenses.

PredictiveEdge is looking to build a sophisticated B2B price comparison engine to help businesses better price their inventory.

Game Closure is a cross platform game development environment where developers who code in HTML5 or flash can easily port their games to other platforms quickly and conveniently. They also got the chance to demo their product at the Google IO developers conference a few weeks back.

Lastly, KitchIt is a startup looking to build a trusted marketplace for professional chefs. In other words, customers are able to select personal chefs of their choice to cater to their individual occasions.

Other StartX Companies

A few companies that didn’t get to do a pitch but were part of StartX program that were at Demo Day that I think deserved some honorable mentions personally were Lark, a startup that built a device that helps you monitor your sleep and wake up naturally, which will be debuting in Apple stores everywhere and on Apple online later this month, and ModeWalk, a new startup just entering into the StartX program that is looking to change the way you luxury shop online giving you a full interactive shopping experience.

Overall StartX is a phenomenal program and I strongly believe the value they provide is invaluable. For any aspiring entrepreneurs out there, particularly Stanford students. This is one program I would recommend to check out.



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