STANFORD (KPIX 5) — One of Silicon Valley’s long-running organizations founded to assist tech startups celebrated a milestone this weekend. StartX marked its 10th year of operations, providing mentoring and support to ventures launched by Stanford alumni.
“Having your baby grow and excel without you is amazing,” said founder Cameron Teitelman.
Teitelman has stepped away as CEO and now serves part-time as chairman of the board, overseeing applicant admissions. StartX’s focus, according to Teitelman, is to seek out founders who are passionate about finding solutions to specific problems and not on building their personal fortunes.
“From our perspective, it’s hard to have a very fulfilling life without a a real purpose and feeling like you’ve made an impact and helped other people. And so, we have plenty of billionaires that are around us who tell us, ‘Money didn’t make me happy,’” said Teitelman.
StartX has helped 700 companies with a total valuation of $19 billion, according to CEO Joseph Huang. Huang said StartX continues to take no equity from the companies they assist. Huang also announced a “restructuring” of the scholarships given out by the nonprofit: students must now finish their degrees to retain their StartX scholarships.
“What we want to avoid is the lore of Silicon Valley saying, ‘Hey, you gotta drop out to succeed.’ And if your company is not going to work, we don’t want to sabotage the rest of your career,” said Huang.
Among the notable companies at Sunday’s demo day expo included “palmm,” a medical device startup that has developed a glove to treat hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Its specially designed glove applies an electrical current to the skin to deactivate sweat glands. Palmm has undergone clinical trials, is seeking FDA approval and should launch next year.
Another startup, Level 5 Labs, is set to launch testing of autonomous food deliveries by summer 2020. Level 5’s engineers have retrofitted a Segway Ninebot with solid state lidar, depth-sensing cameras and GPS to eventually deliver payloads as a self-driving vehicle.
The company is focused on making speedy on-demand deliveries and plans to send its vehicles to customers via bike lanes that allow for faster travel time.
“The biggest advantage is, we can have a fleet of these operating 24/7, on demand, anywhere in suburbia,” said Ravi Animi, Level 5 Labs co-founder.