Stanford University graduates have started such notable companies as Netflix, LinkedIn, Nike and Google. Now, a new breed of entrepreneurs is hoping to make its mark in the Silicon Valley and throughout the world.
StartX, Stanford University’s student start-up accelerator program, held a Demo Day Thursday to showcase nine of its current projects. The event was held at AOL’s Palo Alto offices, where the StartX offices are located.
“Our mission is to develop the best start-ups out of Stanford,” StartX founder Cameron Teitelman said. “This is pure education for us.”
Since its founding, StartX has helped kickstart 27 companies and worked with more than 90 student entrepreneurs.
Each company was given five minutes to sell its concept to the audience with hopes of finding potential funders, partners and connections. Following the presentations, the guests were invited to meet with the companies' founders and learn more about the start-ups.
“We haven’t had all the companies present [like this] before,” StartX’s Tony Lai said about the event.
Below are descriptions of the nine companies that participated in Thursday's Demo Day.
As a way to make it easier for college students to find beneficial jobs, Mindsumo lets companies post “challenges” for students to solve. The students with the best responses can win prizes and will get on the radar of the posting companies, hopefully leading to work opportunities.
AgeTak Inc. "lets patients specify who can use their data for what purpose." The
company hopes that by determining where funding is needed in the world of medicine, the funding could be better distributed, and research to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s can be accelerated.
“Zoku takes the work out of networking,” Zoku cofounder Willem Bult said.
The website allows users to combine their contacts from LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks to make the most out of the connections they’ve made. It sorts out useful information and helps professionals find out when their connections will be traveling, starting new projects and more.
Started by twins Sonali and Meghali Chopra, Vi Energy is hoping to make batteries three times less expensive and 1.5 times more energy-dense. The Chopras built their own battery research lab after they graduated from Stanford in 2011 and are confident that they can make batteries more effective using their techniques.
“The market is hungry for new technologies,” Sonali said.
Breakthrough provides online health assistance to the 58 million Americans who suffer from mental illnesses.
“Look at the person to the left, right and behind you. My guess is one of you has a mental illness,” founder Mark Goldenson said to start off his presentation.
According to Goldenson, of the 58 million Americans with mental illnesses, only half recieve treatment because of high costs or long travel distances. Breakthrough works with health providers to assist these people with the help they need through the form of video or instant messaging consultations.
Tiptop markets itself as the Amazon of health care, allowing patients to find affordable medical care on a case-by-case basis. The company is differentiating itself from competition by providing customers with clear prices for all the medical services and providers shown, which the founders hope will make choosing between the options easier and more understandable.
Smit’s Crew was inspired by the Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic music festival that, according to Smit’s Crew founder Smita Saxena, makes you feel "like a rockstar." Saxena said that when she returned home, the "rockstar" feeling went away amongst her and her friends.
The company works with restaurants, bars and clubs to provide repeat “rockstar” customers with special offers. The offers increase when the repeat customer is part of, or member of, a “crew,” a group of friends that frequent the business.
More information about StartX and future events, as well as videos of all of Thursday's presentations, can be found here.