Who We Are
Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) is the financial arm of the student body — the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) — and we represent every student on campus including undergraduate, graduate students, and PhDs. As such, we are the umbrella organization and bank for every student group. With the benefit of our student body as our primary goal, SSE is an incorporated 501(c)3, legally separate from Stanford.
What We Do
SSE Labs is SSE’s seed startup accelerator division. An easy way to think about us is that we are a seed accelerator similar to Y combinator and TechStars, but with one key distinction: we do not take an equity stake from our startups. In essence, we are an educational initiative built:
- to provide a premier entrepreneurial education to Stanford entrepreneurs and
- to lower the barriers to entrepreneurship.
From the hundreds of accelerator graduates we interviewed, we learned that strong accelerator programs provide the following three benefits:
- a strong community of interested and engaged entrepreneurs who will collaborate with one another
- a strong network of mentors and alumni that participants can utilize
- the educational opportunities a participant receives.
To that effect, we provide participants with a strong network of mentors that include angel investors, VCs, and fellow entrepreneurs. We also provide VC and entrepreneur office hours and educational workshops to facilitate more one-on-one learning.
In addition, we help lower the common barriers to entrepreneurship by providing Stanford entrepreneurs with office space, a stipend for housing, and full legal coverage – including incorporation – as the bare essentials for them surviving during the summer while working on their product. Beyond these essentials, the main value of the program comes from the collaborative community of entrepreneurs and the network we are building for them.
Our mission stems directly from SSE’s goals to provide an entrepreneurial education to students. We believe the services provided through our program should come at no cost and the networks should not be exclusive or closed off. We also believe that students should not have to give up part of their company for this service, and thus we do not take any equity. Because we do not take any equity, we will and we have attracted the best Stanford entrepreneurs to our program.
To select the 10 participating teams, we reached out across campus to students belonging to a wide array of schools. 65 teams representing more than 200 students applied. To whittle down the applicant pool, we relied upon an expert judging panel of angels, entrepreneurs, VCs, lawyers, and Stanford students to screen our participants. From the 65 teams that applied, ten were selected.
We are not creating entrepreneurs; but taking great entrepreneurs and providing them with the framework, culture, and resources that will accelerate their development.
Our entrepreneurs will spend the summer iterating their products, developing their companies, and becoming great entrepreneurs. SSE Labs is here to provide our companies with whatever resources and help they need. A large amount of what we do is take care of the overhead of getting connected to the right people, so they can focus on their companies.