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?
Other than a $1,000 grant, 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, most of whom have expertise in the company’s space or with specific strategic issues that the company is struggling with.
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 consider Cardinal Ventures to be a step before programs like StartX or YCombinator, which fills an important niche in the entrepreneurial community.
We believe that students should be able to explore the idea of running their business full-time before they fully commit to it. 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. We receive the applications for all Stanford student companies that are not accepted to StartX, and may accept these companies to help them further develop based on feedback received during their StartX application process.
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 students, we are not interested in making a profit off of our student entrepreneurs.
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.
Where does Cardinal Ventures’ funding come from?
The fall 2015 session of Cardinal Ventures was funded by SSE’s Board of Directors. We are currently looking for sponsors to help us cover our operating costs. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact us here.
How can I get involved in the program?
If you are a student entrepreneur interested in applying to the program, click here to view the application.
If you are an entrepreneur, angel investor, or venture capitalist interested in serving as a mentor or guest speaker for the program, please contact us here.
If you would like to join the mailing list to receive updates on our pitch day, please sign up here.
If you are a company interested in sponsoring Cardinal Ventures, please contact us here.
If you are a media outlet interested in speaking with the Cardinal Ventures team or companies, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.