The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies Sparks Bright Ideas
Bruce Dunlevie, MBA ’84, and Mark Jung, MBA ’87, and his wife, Karen recently made generous gifts in support of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford GSB.
From Silicon Valley high-tech startups to the first person-to-person microfinance web business, alumni from Stanford GSB have a long history of blazing trails. Within the school, the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies builds on that tradition by providing resources for and promoting research on emerging businesses. So it’s no surprise that graduates who have gone on to successful entrepreneurial ventures are giving back to the school that gave them a head start.
The annual Conference on Entrepreneurship draws standing-room only crowds.
The school offers nearly 20 elective courses in entrepreneurship, and 90 percent of students take at least one. These courses span many disciplines—and incorporate modules that address issues particular to early-stage companies. One of the most popular is Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities, in which multidisciplinary student teams investigate the viability of tangible business ideas.
A recent $250,000 gift to the center from Mark Jung, MBA ’87, and his wife, Karen, supports students enrolled in Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities. The Mark and Karen Jung Expendable Fund in the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is funding a pilot program that gives financial assistance to teams in the course to enable them to conduct market research, develop mock-ups and/or product prototypes, and generally make progress in the business evaluation.
“Through our gift to the center, we are able to help Stanford GSB nurture budding entrepreneurs and set them on the path to success,” says Mark Jung, CEO of Vudu, an on-demand movie service that uses high-speed internet connection through a set-top box to provide instant access to movies and TV shows.
Another alumnus who has generously supported the center’s mission is Bruce Dunlevie, MBA ’84, who, along with his wife, Elizabeth, realizes the importance of providing both permanent support and more flexible dollars to seize opportunities as they arise. The Dunlevies have committed $1 million to the center—half to create a new endowed fund, while the other half of the gift is expendable.
“We want to give the center the resources to strengthen core programs and innovate in new directions to respond to the needs of the next generation of entrepreneurs,” says Bruce Dunlevie, a general partner at Benchmark Capital, an early-stage venture firm that invests in technology-driven companies.
Like the Dunlevies, another alumni couple working in the VC world recognizes the center’s capacity to contribute to their field. Bill Elmore, MBA ’81, and his wife, M.J. Elmore, MBA ’82, also have committed $1 million to the center.
“We believe in the center’s mission to galvanize interest in entrepreneurship, something that can only enhance the funding opportunities available to firms like ours,” say the Elmores. Bill is a general partner of Foundation Capital, a venture capital firm composed of entrepreneurs working with other entrepreneurs to build great new companies, while M.J. is a general partner at Institutional Venture Partners, a later-stage VC firm investing in rapidly growing information technology companies.
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