Student-run venture accelerator IDEA has added another pitch round over the summer, and more funding to its program.

Created by a group of students at Northeastern University, IDEA will now offer another opportunity for current undergraduate and graduate students and alumni to bring their ventures out of the dorm room and in front of investors. 

The summer round so that more entrepreneurs can pitch their ventures was added because of high demand for the program, according to IDEA CEO Christopher Wolfel and Faculty Advisor Daniel Gregory.

The program has seen a lot of growth since it was founded in the fall of 2009, after former student Ashkan Afkhami and five other seniors approached the late Tom Moore, former dean of Northeastern’s College of Business Administration, with a concept to start IDEA. Moore gave the program the green light, and provided resources through the College of Business Administration and in 2010 IDEA funded its first venture through the Gap Fund.

Since then, IDEA has worked with 200 concepts and currently has 70 active ventures, including Tuartara Corp., a 20-person startup which enables students to drag and drop and share etextbook materials, and Apifia Inc., creator of the Facebook application SplashScore.

Having reached $100,000 this year, IDEA plans to have $210,000 in the Gap Fund for next year.

Instead of offering the opportunity to pitch one time a year, the group made a strategic decision to divide it into a total of seven cycles, Wolfel told Mass High Tech. “We want to float as many boats as possible.”

The entirely student-run program has had great success, in part because it is run by students. According to Wolfel, IDEA has a different feel than other programs because students better accept advice and criticism from their peers.

The program was not created to compete with accelerators MassChallenge or TechStars, according to Gregory. Instead, it was created to better prepare ventures who may become part of other accelerators.

“This is a bottom-up, organically-grown program that caught people by surprise,” Gregory said.

 

Original Source: Mass High Tech http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2012/05/07/daily4-Student-run-accelerator-adds-funds-another-pitch-round.html

Author: Patricia Resende