Spotlight on Entrepreneurs from the Stanford Venture Studio

UGC Alliance logo

We love independent online content: When we watch something, it is typically a YouTube series. When we read a book, it is typically fan fiction. For laughs and great visual experiences, we run to blogs and webcomics. 
What frustrates us is that good independently-created online content is hard to find, and that talented content creators have trouble winning audiences, publishers, producers, and media coverage. 
We created the UGC Review to make it easier for people to find great user-generated content. By curating reviews of the internet's best content all in one place, audiences don't have to leave discoveries of great independent entertainment and information up to chance.  
We created the UGC Alliance to provide guides and standards that will make it easier for individuals, businesses, and media organizations to fund, trust, collaborate with, and purchase work from content creators. With the goal of eventually creating a certification system that will make it easy for readers and traditional media organisations to immediately know the accuracy of a post, tweet, or blog. 
Through both projects, we face the very serious challenge of building trust, gaining traction, and getting support from major online movers and shakers. 
Working with the Venture Studio has given us the environment and motivation we need to stay motivated with these projects as we make our way through the treacherous valley between all startups and ultimate success. Through the Venture Studio we hope to get the tough love and criticism we need to overcome the challenges we face. 
For regular updates, like the UGC Review and UGC Alliance on Facebook or follow @UGCReview and @UGCAlliance on Twitter. 
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Lifeswap logo

LifeSwap formed through Launchpad, a class at the Stanford D.School. Mike (MBA '10), Jack (MS CS '13), Alden (MS CS '12) and Bastiaan (MBA '13) set out to change the way people plot their career paths, because there just isn't enough information available about important things like culture and a job's day-to-day. If you can't commit to a three-month internship, how can you find out what a job is really like? Enter LifeSwap. We bring great companies and great individuals together to "try each other out". For a few hours, "explorers" can tag along with "hosts" and get a unique perspective on the person, the job, and the company.

We've certainly had our ups and downs. With our broad vision in mind, we wanted anyone in the world to be able to experience any job. We may have tried to run before we could walk. Since then, we have decided to start with a very specific focus - great companies in the Bay Area, looking for top students at universities like Stanford and Berkeley. We're working with small start-ups and large tech companies to design a half-day experience that includes lunch, a tour, a meet-and-greet, and sometimes an opportunity to participate in a case study or sit in on a real meeting. It's a low-stress, low-risk way for groups of 3-5 students to get a glimpse inside an awesome company.

We worked out of the Venture Studio all summer and the space continues to be critical to our ability to come together as a team and work on this project. The studio has also made it possible for us to invite influential mentors and advisors to instill upon us their wisdom, and help us when we get stuck. Most importantly, it's unique to be surrounded by other Stanford startups, all tackling similar challenges, allowing us to learn from each other.

We're very excited to be working on this awesome opportunity as a team, and look forward to building this into a real business!

Lifeswap team photo  twitter:  facebook:  angellist:


BipSync Logo

BipSync is an enterprise software platform designed to help professional investors remove the pain involved in the investment research process. It helps them capture and organize their investment research effortlessly, manage their pipeline of investment ideas and ultimately convert raw flows of ideas into profitable investments. Think "Evernote for Investors + for Investment Opportunities".

Before founding BipSync, the three founders lived most of their lives about as far apart from each another as you can get.  James is an Aussie, Dan’s from Wales and Danny grew up in the states. Through pure fluke, they all wound up moving to the Bay area at around the same time, and have teamed up to form BipSync.

James and Danny met through the GSB... specifically early in their first year when Danny tried to teach James the rules of beer pong. James and Danny quickly became good friends, and while James wasn’t any good at beer pong, he was pretty interested in an idea for an application aimed at professional investors that Danny had been kicking around since his days working at a hedge fund in New York.  James and Danny spent a couple of months bouncing the idea off one another and eventually put together an outline that would become the basis for BipSync.

A few weeks later, James and Dan Z. met through mutual friends on the way to the Coachella music festival down in SoCal.  Over a few cold beers in a hot field listening to Radiohead, James explained the idea to Dan.  As a seasoned enterprise developer, Dan had a lot of good advice, and offered to help build a prototype when they got back to Palo Alto.  The three immediately settled into a great working relationship – and quickly decided to throw our money and time behind the idea and officially founded BipSync in June 2012. The GSB Venture Studio has served as the homebase for BipSync, providing crucial support since inception and making our idea possible.

Having a Welshman, an Aussie and an American in the room can sometimes make it tough to understand each other's accents – things occasionally get lost in translation.  But when we do understand each other, we make a great team.  Fortunately, this team has a great home in the Venture Studio and is clipping along. James still isn't very good at beer pong though.Bipsync at Demo

BipSync Media Coverage

BipSync at DEMO Fall 2012:

We got a featured article on VentureBeat!

Official Press Release:

Video of Pitch at DEMO 2012:

Stay Updated on BipSync via our Web Presence

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