Stanford Student Startup Labs
SSE Labs

Stanford Students Build Their Own Y Combinator

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Editor’s note: The following guest post is written by Larry Chiang, author of What They Don’t Teach you At Stanford Business School and an advisor to the new Stanford Student Startup Lab.

STANFORD, CA—Here on campus, a couple of undergrads successfully built their own Y Combinator. It launches today.

It’s called SSE Labs and it is modeled after the incubator Y Combinator, except it takes zero equity. One company in its portfolio is already making waves, Alphonso Labs. Alphonso created the Pulse News Reader app for the iPad, which is the top paid iPad app in iTunes right now. Aksahy Kothari and Ankit Gupta are founders.

The inaugural startups are:

Alphonso Labs—iPad news reader, with plans to expand to the iPhone and Android.
Think Bulbs—Builds mobiile photo discovery apps for the iPhone
FountainHop—Building an event mapping platform that intelligently and intuitively gives users access to geo-temporal data relating to their physical surroundings.
Naquatic—iPhone and iPod Touch game developer creating large scale, online, social games starting with world conquest games.
Black Swan Solar—Goal is to make solar energy cheaper than coal.
InvestAway—A platform for delivering personalized, professional advice to individual investors.
MyLinkPower—Help professionals get jobs through their social networks.
Motion Math—Create educational games that kids love and parents trust. Inspire kids to learn by creating intuitive understanding through mobile game play.
Loki—Location-aware mobile gaming.

Penda: The big question that Penda answers is “What are your friends doing online?” Platform for users to share the information they’re consuming and need.

Stanford Student Enterprises Labs accelerates startups like Alphonso Labs by providing office space, housing, cash stipends, workshops, access to mentors, a rolodex of tier-one VCs, speaker training for CS majors and distribution to industry conferences. It also gives feedback to iterative product updates via weekly dinners. (Disclosure: I am on the Board of Advisor but I do not take money or any equity position. I am helping SSE Labs because I think entrepreneurs should own 100% of their company or as much as possible, anything else is asse9).

Believe it or not, Stanford Business School does not really support the SSE Labs. Perhaps that is because SSE Labs is at odds with the venerable Stanford Tech Venture Partners. STVP is the staid, old-guard organization at the university that believes entrepreneurship should not be incubated within the bounds of the 94305 zip code using university resources.

Further pressure to keep SSE Labs from starting, came from the Dean of the Graduate School of Business in an email to the entire GSB student body asking that no B-schooler take part in SSE Labs inaugural set of teams. SSE Labs was hatched under considerable and sustained pressure to kill the first business accelerator on campus. But SSE Labs is legally able to operate this accelerator because it is an independent 501 c3 with revenues of about $1.5 million. It is run by founder and managing director, Cameron Teitelman and Tomas Vacek who manages and invests SSE operational funds. They are both undergrads on-track to graduate in June. Non-students are allowed to participate on teams. The requirement is each team needs one Stanford student enrolled 2009-2010. If you think your team qualifies, apply here.

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