Monday, September 9, 2013

Kiki Hui: Stanford to Invest in Startups

Click here to read the article on Techcrunch!

The above article covers the news that Stanford is going to invest in student startups. When I first read this article I have to admit that I was a little scared. What is a university doing investing in companies? Are we just investments in the university as they wait to cash out on their return? I’m still unsure of the implications of this move and its impact on the student population.

Since so many Stanford students are starting their own businesses, Stanford’s investments will definitely be beneficial to many students. It only encourages the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades the campus. Students will be even more encouraged to pursue their ideas and passions. If a startup is their passion, that is.

Investing in Stanford startups serves to reinforce the image of Stanford as money and industry-driven. We only continue to tiptoe that line between university and industry. What about the humanities students? Startups are definitely more typical of engineering students. Will a Classics major be able to utilize this investment? Probably not.

I, like the article, also question Stanford’s motives. If Stanford is willing to invest in these startups, wouldn’t VC firms be interested as well? Does Stanford want more money even though it is unnecessary? More press? I loved how we got to meet with the CFO, Robert Livingston, the day after this news was released. He seemed quite excited about it; I think he sees it as a way to give back to the students.

I also found it interesting that the former editor of the Stanford Daily, Billy Gallagher wrote this article and how it was posted on TechCrunch, a division of AOL, which supports StartX. The article does not seem biased, but it is interesting to see how all these parts are connected. Anyways, it will definitely be interesting to see how this will impact the future.


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