Y Combinator for high-school kids? It’s students only at this new startup incubator

Edward Jiang and Tyler Menezes of StudentRND

StudentRND has been gathering geeky and entrepreneurial high school and college kids for weekend hackathons for three years now. Now, co-founder Edward Jiang is looking to expand his growing empire, launching a new 8-week tech incubator this summer that’s modeled on successful programs like TechStars and Y Combinator.

“It makes sense: Students they want to be the next Bill Gates, they want to be the next Steve Jobs,” said Jiang, a 20-year-old University of Washington student who runs StudentRND in his spare time.

Jiang and StudentRND’s Tyler Menezes will be the guests on this weekend’s GeekWire podcast and radio show — talking more about the new incubator initiative.

The organization is currently accepting applications for the program through May 15th. In a way, Jiang described the program like an internship, culminating in an end-of-summer “demo day.”

If you think most teenagers and twenty-somethings would rather spend their time on the beach during the summer break, you’ve not met some of the serious entrepreneurs moving through StudentRND.  In fact, Menezes says students actually make for perfect entrepreneurs (one of the reasons that Y Combinator tends to skew younger as well).

“Students can try everything they want, and they still have a house to live in,” says Menezes, a 19-year-old at Bellevue College. “A lot of students have that opportunity to fail fast, and what if we just give them a little bit more resources to have more of a chance of success.”

At the CodeDay hackathon in February, Jiang said that a software entrepreneurship workshop was among the most popular. Given that, they decided to expand the program into a full-blown incubator, complete with mentors and workshops where teams work on new startup companies.

At the end of the day, Jiang said the goal of the incubator is to “show the world … what students are capable of.”

To hear Jiang and Menezes discuss student entrepreneurship, tune into to 97.3 KIRO-FM this weekend at 7 a.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. You can also listen to the podcast beginning Saturday morning here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devin-Miller/100001051294818 Devin Miller

    Had the pleasure of meeting Edward at a TIE event the other week.  Seems like a great project lead by great people.  Best of luck Edward and great job thus far.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=94500172 Kyle Kesterson

    I have had the chance to speak at 2 of their weekend events, and it was incredible to see just how productive and diverse the student entrepreneurs were. StudentRND didn’t have the same problem of only being able to tap into the technical/business crowd, but had an abundance of artists, designers and female participants to balance out the technical talent. 

    Ed and Tyler are really onto something great! If the readers can support them, especially through sponsorship, do it!

  • http://www.joshuamaher.com/ Joshua Maher

    It would be great to see programs like this integrated into the new Seattle Schools Skills program!