What is Stanford Student Enterprises?
Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is Cardinal Ventures’ parent company. SSE is the financial branch of Stanford’s student government, the Associated Students of Stanford University, and is an independent legal entity from Stanford University. SSE operates several student-run businesses on campus, including a student store, an advertising division, a consulting group, the Cardinal Fund, and Cardinal Ventures. For more information about SSE, please visit sse.stanford.edu.
What do students in the Cardinal Ventures program receive?
All Cardinal Ventures companies receive:
The opportunity to participate in a ten-week speaker session and workshop series focused on the different components of launching and operating a business. These workshops are led by venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and professors.
Connection with 2-3 mentors who have expertise in the company’s space or specific strategic issues with which the company is struggling.
Incorporation, design, and recruiting assistance, and other custom services depending on what the company needs.
The opportunity to pitch to investors and get feedback on their business idea.
There are already a lot of incubators and accelerators in Silicon Valley. What need does this program fill?
Cardinal Ventures is the only startup accelerator operating on the Stanford campus. Our program is run by students, for students. Unlike other incubators and accelerators, which typically ask (if not require) students to drop out or take a leave of absence from school to participate, we provide students with an opportunity to grow their business while still taking classes.
We believe that students should be able to explore the idea of running their business full-time before they fully commit to it. Cardinal Ventures can be seen as a step before programs like StartX or Y Combinator and fills an important niche in the entrepreneurial community. Regardless of whether or not our founders end up raising capital and fully launching their business, we know they will graduate the program with a strong education in entrepreneurship and a solid understanding of how to develop a business plan and pitch to investors.
What is Cardinal Ventures' relationship with StartX?
StartX was founded by SSE (which is also the parent company of Cardinal Ventures), and spun out in 2014. As such, we maintain a close relationship with the StartX team.
Does Cardinal Ventures take equity in its companies?
No — Cardinal Ventures does not take any equity in its companies. As a nonprofit interested in educating and supporting student entrepreneurs, we are not interested in making a profit off of our founders.
Does Stanford own the intellectual property of Cardinal Ventures companies?
The short answer is no, as SSE is a separate 501(c)(3) that is independent from the University. However, the situation may be more complicated for specific companies that have already participated in University-sponsored classes (e.g. MS&E 273, ME 301) before joining the program. In this case, we will work with the company to negotiate ownership with the Office of Technology Licensing.
How can I get involved in the program?
We would love to hear from you if you are:
- an entrepreneur, angel investor, or venture capitalist interested in serving as a mentor, speaking at a workshop, or attending our Demo Day;
- a company interested in sponsoring Cardinal Ventures;
- or a media outlet interested in speaking with the Cardinal Ventures team or companies.
Please contact us here.
If you are a Stanford affiliate interested in participating in the program, please apply to our next session — this website will be updated when applications open!