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How to run a University Startup Accelerator


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How we structure and run the Global Founders' Skills Accelerator for top student startups at MIT

Published in: Technology, Education, Business
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How to run a University Startup Accelerator

  1. 1. Kyle Judah Program Director & Entrepreneur in Residence at
  2. 2. What is the Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator? • 3 month summer accelerator program for the top student startups from across MIT • We don’t compete with Techstars, we help our students hit escape velocity • Funded by private donations
  3. 3. Hierarchy of Startup Needs
  4. 4. Benefits of GFSA Monthly Stipend of $2,000/founder Up to $20,000 EQUITY FREE Personalized mentors Finishing School & Launchpad Pathway into Techstars,YC, Lemnos Labs $16M raised by past 19 teams 1 acquisition (by Dropbox)
  5. 5. Who is GFSA for? • Capstone entrepreneurial experience at MIT • Personalized • Ensures learning and value • Serves primarily current MIT students • 65% Engineering, 25% Management, 10% Other • 30% UG, 40% Masters, 30% PhD • 80% enrolled, 10% alum, 10% other
  6. 6. Accelerator Structure Bill Aulet’s Disciplined Entrepreneurship • June – Customer/Market Dev & Team • July – Build it, Biz Model & Financials • August – Iterate, Pilot, Sell it • September – Pitch it 2 Speaker Sessions a week 1 hr ‘Partner Meeting’ every 2 weeks Temporary Board Meeting 1/month Mentoring as needed throughout week (I work ~16 hr days in program & on call)
  7. 7. What Makes GFSA Unique? • The G stands for Global • Teams from Canada, Mexico, Spain and Morocco • Milestone based funding • Behavior modification • Focused on discrete objectives • Temporary Board of Directors • Hold teams accountable • Personalized mentoring • Honest brokers
  8. 8. The Jack Goss Fellows • Pre-GFSA Bootcamp • Cover the basics & get up to sprint speed • GFSA • Real, tangible progress on student ventures • A community of peer entrepreneurs for the rest of their lives • Post-GFSA • Pathway out of the Accelerator insanity • Ongoing support & guidance • Reduce friction in studies vs. startup decision
  9. 9. Optimize for founder success (learning), not startup success Measured through beginning & end surveys Weekly surveys Video pitches from 1st month & Demo Day Board decks produce portfolios of learning outcomes
  10. 10. Good: Structure Matters Clear Pathways Into GFSA Commitment to Quality Easy way to rally support Bad: Unserved demand Non-committed Board Members
  11. 11. Kyle Judah Program Director & EIR KyleJudah EshipMIT