StartX has grown a lot over the years, shifting from a program focused almost exclusively on helping Stanford students become founders to one that now also supports later-stage companies and serial entrepreneurs. As the accelerator looks to take the next step in its evolution, it has brought in alum Joseph Huang as its new CEO.
StartX is an independent entity that has partnered with both Stanford University & Stanford Health Care. It has operated as a launching point for companies founded by students and alumni. Over the years it has aggressively expanded the scope of its program and the number of founders that count themselves as part of its community.
At its start, the accelerator primarily helped students and first-time founders in the earliest stages of company formation and product development. But as time has gone on, StartX has gradually added support for serial entrepreneurs and growth-stage companies. About a third of founders in any given session have already founded a startup and another third are Series A or later.
While StartX doesn’t take equity in the companies that participate, the accelerator has partnered with Stanford to invest in its startups. The Stanford-StartX Fund is an investment vehicle that is entirely opt-in for StartX startups to take advantage of, as it offers to invest in up to 10 percent of a company’s financing round as long as they meet a set of objective criteria.
Although it’s opt-in, nearly every company has chosen to take investment, according to StartX founder and former CEO Cameron Teitelman. Since launching the Stanford-StartX Fund in 2013, the entity has made 340 investments in 225 companies. And it will continue to do so, as Stanford reaffirmed its commitment to the fund last summer.
Now with about 1,000 entrepreneurs as part of its community, the Stanford-StartX Fund is looking to build more tools to support founders. And to help lead some of that initiative, Huang will be taking over as CEO.
Huang is an alumnus of StartX, who sold his company WiFiSLAM to Apple for $20 million in early 2013. While he’s spent the last four years at the tech giant, Huang has remained active in the StartX community, moonlighting as a mentor and adviser.
“When I reflect on my time at Stanford, the greatest (teaching assistants) were those who had taken the class in the past,” Huang said. As someone who had taken part in StartX as a founder and has also seen it from the mentor side of things, Huang has a unique perspective on how to best support founders who take part.
With the appointment of Huang as CEO, founder and former CEO Cameron Teitelman will be moving into a chairman role. As such, he will remain active as an advisor, and will continue to work on admissions and recruiting companies to participate in the accelerator.