Technology Venture Formation
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting Into Class
- I'm an undergraduate. Can I still enroll in MS&E273?
No. Enrollment is restricted to graduate and co-term students only (who are done with their undergraduate classes).
Consider enrolling in E145 and MS&E292. Also look at STVP and BASES.
- I'm not in the School of Engineering. Can I enroll in MS&E273?
The majority of students who enroll in MS&E273 are from the School of Engineering, but we encourage students from other
departments as well. Alumni have been from Computer Science, the Graduate School of Business, Law School, Medical School, and Humanities.
- Can I audit MS&E273?
No. No exceptions! This class demands a high level of commitment, therefore formal enrollment is required.
- Can I take MS&E273 for less than 4 units?
The course is listed as a 3-4 unit course. All students should take it for 4 units unless they have a capped number of units to work with.
Regardless, you will still be required to do the same amount of work if you register for 3 or 4 units.
- Do I need to be part of a team before I enroll in class?
No. If you have a partial/complete team you are welcome to apply for enrollment. However, we do not guarantee all members will be admitted.
- Do I need to have a business idea to enroll in MS&E273?
No. However, if you do - great!
- How do teams form? Will I be assigned to a team?
We do not assign members to teams. You are encouraged to use the mixer sessions to meet potential team members.
- How many people compose a team?
Strictly 4. No exceptions!
- What roles are in each team?
Traditionally, each team will have a CEO, CFO, CTO, and VP of Sales and Marketing (or their equivalent). These roles remain unchanged throughout
the quarter. Pick the role that best reflects your interests/strengths.
- What if my team becomes dysfunctional?
One of the key attributes of a successful venture is a strong team who can work through their problems together. Be selective
in choosing your teammates and be prepared to work through difficult issues.
- What if one of my teammates is not "pulling his/her weight"?
Try to resolve it within your team. If the situation continues, please approach the teaching team. Final grades will also reflect
individual participation and contribution.
- Does everyone in the team get the same grade?
Not necessarily so. Individual participation and contribution is also considered.
- What kind of feedback can I expect?
A final grade will be assigned at the end of the quarter. Throughout the quarter, the Teaching Team
will monitor assignments/deliverables. Substandard quality work will be immediately brought to your attention.
In-class feedback will also be received from the Teaching Team and our guest speakers who will review your assignments.
- Can I take this class Pass/NoCredit?
No. Letter grade only.
- Best Practices for Student Entrepreneurial Courses
Entrepreneurship is deeply ingrained in Stanford's culture and we have benefited greatly from it. This document (PDF)
provides basic guidelines to faculty, students and the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) for inventions developed
as a result of entrepreneurial courses taught at Stanford.
- Best practices for Student Start-Ups
Both Stanford and its entrepreneurs have responsibilities to optimize technology transfer and mitigate conflict of interest (COI)
when licensing Stanford intellectual property to a start-up is considered. Stanford has a rich history of translating inventions,
and these practices (PDF) are designed to build on that strong base.
- Who owns the intellectual property?
The Intellectual Property belongs to the team as a whole. If the company is working with a Stanford related technology
(i.e. either research from one of the team members or a Stanford patent), the students are highly encouraged to discuss with the
Stanford Office of Technology & Licensing (OTL) to better understand what licensing and royalties terms would be applicable.
If I feel my idea may become a real company, what should I do?
The primary goal of the class is to teach you the process of entrepreneurship, not to start actual companies.
However, if you feel your idea may become real, discuss Intellectual Property rights with your team from the beginning.
Will my Intellectual Property rights be protected when I discuss my ideas with the class?
You must be prepared to share your ideas openly with the class. It is a forum for you to "bounce" your ideas off your peers.
The teaching team can also refer teams to work with legal counsel on founding team issues and IP protection if this is deemed necessary.
What if I feel that my idea will be the "next killer app" and I don't want others to know my plans?
If such is the case, MS&E273 may not be the appropriate means for you.