ASU Launches Rapid Startup School Aimed at Young Researchers and Grad Students

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‘Pracademic’ modules aimed at promoting startup activity across disciplines

Rapid Startup School is really about priming innovators, whether they are gradstudents in the business school or research assistants in a university lab, to become entrepreneurs.

Arizona State University’s Venture Catalyst is launching the second round of the Rapid Startup School (RSuS) program, which is aimed at creating startup activity in postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and alumni. In particular RSuS will showcase the many patents that ASU has developed in its research laboratories with the intent that some of these might form the basis for new companies.

“We completed our first version of the Rapid Startup School late in 2011 to overwhelming response” said Gordon McConnell, Executive Director of the ASU Venture Catalyst, which works with internal and external startup companies. “Now it is a matter of continuing to improve the program, including the ability to help this diverse group of participants form strong teams.”

A number of new startups came out of the first running of the Rapid Startup School including several that potentially involve university intellectual property.

This part-time, free evening program applies a very ‘pracademic’ approach to developing an entrepreneurial mindset and real new venture creation. The program modules are taught by pracademic adjunct faculty from leading external organizations, supplemented by online modules from the ASU Venture Catalyst.

These mini-modules are two or three hours long, depending on the subject matter, and delivered in the evenings in the ASU SkySong facility in Scottsdale. The program includes additional course materials to allow participants to work on their ideas outside of class. As new venture creation and founder team formation are core objectives of RSuS, networking sessions among the participants will occur throughout the program.

“Rapid Startup School is really about priming innovators, whether they are graduate students in the business school or research assistants in a university lab, to become entrepreneurs”, said Wiley Larson, Venture Manager at ASU Venture Catalyst and RSUS Program Manager.

After the program concludes, one-on-one meetings with relevant new startups to further develop a startup roadmap, team creation and product development will be scheduled with ASU Venture Catalyst team members. ASU Venture Catalyst is the ASU unit that works with startup companies, both inside and outside the university, including managing the student startup accelerator, the Edson program.

This new program is offered free to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. It is based on a successful similar program that McConnell ran in Dublin City University in Ireland where out of the first cohort of seventeen young researchers, two startups were created. The new Rapid Startup School will commence on the 27th of February 2012 at ASU SkySong.

Information and registration:

About Rapid Startup School (
Rapid Startup School offers post-doctoral researchers, graduate students and junior faculty an opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial mindset while learning the fundamentals of launching a new venture. The program consists of 12 modules, presented by industry experts with practical experience, through a combination of face-to-face instruction and online material. The program is predicated on students forming founding teams, and each instruction session will provide networking opportunities.

About Venture Catalyst at ASU (
ASU Venture Catalyst equips high potential startups for success. The Catalyst assists university students, faculty and staff, as well as local and global companies, with launching startups or accelerating existing ventures. Based at ASU SkySong, The Catalyst offers investor connections, technology road maps, go-to-market strategy consulting, mentoring opportunities, and several other programs and services, all designed to identify and develop investment-grade companies.

About Arizona Technology Enterprises (
Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) is the exclusive intellectual property management and technology transfer organization for Arizona State University. It works with faculty, investors and industry partners to speed the flow of innovation from research laboratory to the marketplace. AzTE was established in 2003 as an Arizona Limited Liability company with the ASU Foundation as its sole member.


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Meagan Garrett
ASU SkySong
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