Y Combinator in Silicon Valley, TechStars in New York and elsewhere. The Cambridge Innovation Center in Boston. They are fostering a new generation of young companies sometimes on a shoestring and shifting the axis of company creation away from VCs.
Just this week, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups graduated its second class of about 30 new ventures.
Add another name to the list. Earlier this week, Carnegie Mellon University said it would start an accelerator for entrepreneurial students at its Silicon Valley campus. The first 12-month program kicked off Aug. 15.
The program is a bit more academic than incubator. The primary goal is education. Students come away with a Master of Science in software management. They don’t need to enter the program with a business proposal.
Instead they are encouraged to come up with ideas and gel into teams. Martin Griss, director of Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley, says he hopes several respectable startups will come out of the program, and that the school will pay to incorporate those interested in setting up legally as businesses.
He also hopes to provide growth funds of about $20,000 or so to at least one top venture, perhaps with venture capitalists or school alumni sharing the expense. (By the way, he is looking for venture partners with none yet to announce.)
The program has some building to do. The first class is nine students ages 21 to 42. Griss hopes it will expand to 25 over time.
That growth may depend on how the first class does. So keep your eyes open.