This Is Why You'll Be Jealous You Didn't Go To Stanford: Inside StartX

dog at StartX

Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider

We got a tour of StartX, the non-profit accelerator program for Stanford students and recent alums.The accelerator provides office space — but doesn’t take any equity. The startups aren’t pressured to raise money, but most end up raising money anyway.

The point is to help them learn and give them access to mentors and information. And they also give them feedback.

It’s also hard to get into, with about the same acceptance rate as Stanford.

The accelerator program is halfway into its fifth season. We got to chat with some of the class members before they went into their meeting to talk to the other founders and investors about their progress.

StartX is in Palo Alto, in the AOL West building. It was funny to see all fish tanks and other random AOL themed items around the halls.

StartX started up here, near the kitchen.

Other startups rent space here too.

But now, StartX has its own secluded office down on the first floor.

Here is Karina Pikhart, the founder of 6dot Innovations. She applied and got rejected. So she applied again and got accepted. And now she's a proud alum.

Here's the braille label she is making.

Private conversations often take place on the bright red couch. Founder SE Hayes is on the phone.

StartX fellow Willem Bult is writing some code.

MindSumo CEO Trent Hazy is taking a break.

Tactilize founder Adriano Farano says hello bashfully. He has a great memory -- he remembered meeting me at Facebook last year. (He didn't work there, but was visiting.)

Loki Studios founder and StartX alum Ivan Lee talks about his gaming startup. He made an app that is aware of the environment -- for instance, if you live in a polluted city, you'll play against a rat.

Managing director Jeff Mounzer told us about one kid who they passed on at first, until an investor said he reminded him of Elon Musk. They changed their mind.

Hazy says they can only go up. Well, that's the plan at least.

T-shirts of former startups that have gone through the StartX schooling. So typical.

Ex-StartX companies are written on the wall.

A conference room turned into a full-on nap room.

Of course, there's a gym too.

The startups get graded -- just like in college.

Then a meeting started and everyone was asked to come to the front. They are checking in with each other after the holidays. They kicked us out when it started ;-(

Now, check out what the place looked like before it was done...

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