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The NFX MBA Fellows Program: Student Founders, Don’t Wait for Graduation

Anna Piñol · @annapinol_ · Dec 2022

At NFX we’re developing this generation – your generation – of startup founders. You. Right now.

We know you’re in a hurry to make an impact, and we think now is actually the best time to get started. Student Founders have a number of unique advantages (we’ve identified 12, to start) that many people outside of school do not.

Brilliant student founders are part of a pattern of success. The odds are in your favor if you know where to look.

Why Google, Facebook, & Microsoft Were Born On College Campuses (PDF)

3 of the 6 most valuable companies in the world, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, were born on college campuses. The list goes on: Snapchat was co-founded at Stanford. Reddit was created in a dorm room at the University of Virginia. WordPress came out of Houston University. I was in my MBA program at Stanford GSB when I met my Co-Founder and came up with the idea for Trulia. I lived this experience and understand the incalculable benefits of starting a company during university. Unlike other Founders, Student-Founders have 12 unique advantages that position them early on for startup success. There are specific network conditions and mindsets that give them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build category-defining companies.

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Get Why Google, Facebook, & Microsoft Were Born On College Campuses (PDF)

What holds many Student Founders back isn’t that you don’t have the skills, the network, or the energy to execute – it’s that you need to know which idea to go all in on. As we’ve said before, the biggest waste in our startup/VC ecosystem is great people working on mediocre ideas.

It’s just as hard to build a mediocre company as it is to build a transformative one. Both will take 100 percent of your time. But many students either pick the wrong idea, or surrender to idea paralysis.

Picking your idea isn’t a trivial decision. As Founders who started 10+ companies that exited for $10+ Billion (including Trulia, which NFX’s Pete Flint started at Stanford GSB) we want to share what we discovered about great startup ideas, so you’re not wasting your life’s energy chasing an idea that’s just okay. That’s why we don’t want you to wait for graduation before you commit to being a founder, or before you need to make that hard company pivot. We want to improve your learning and give you the frameworks you need to win, now.

With that in mind, we created The NFX MBA Fellows Program.

Here’s How It Works

Applications to be an NFX MBA Fellow open in August. Each year, we select a handful of MBA students from some of the top entrepreneurial campuses and bring them into our network. Our GPs, Principals, and several founders in the Guild are alumni of these networks – we look forward to expanding to more campuses soon.

NFX Fellows gain access to our internal playbooks for investing in and building great companies. Then, they take that learning out into their own networks.

Our Fellows are representatives of NFX on campus and become ideation partners, co-founders, and guides for their classmates. They work alongside our GPs who have been founders themselves to bring NFX’s investing team together with students.

Meet the 2023 NFX MBA Fellows

The 2023 cohort of NFX MBA Fellows is made up of students from Stanford, Harvard, and MIT who have demonstrated a passion for entrepreneurship and the tenacity to build an on-campus startup ecosystem. They’re listed here and we encourage you to reach out to them. Each cohort of NFX MBA Fellows brings something special to the network, and we think this years’ cohort is a proven group of builders who know what it takes to go from zero to one.

Campus Events & FAST Funding Initiatives

Three things you can do right now if you are an entrepreneur on one of these campuses.

1. Sign up for our campus newsletters (run by our fellows). That’s where you’ll hear about all of our campus initiatives, like ideation workshops, pitch feedback sessions, and events with NFX GPs and Principals. Join the newsletters here:

These workshops and sessions aren’t just practice. These events culminate in our flagship Pre-Seed & Seed funding competition: NFX FAST.

2. The next NFX FAST is coming soon: Apply to win $100K – $250K for your startup. FAST is a rapid fire opportunity for student & alumni Founders to submit their ideas to NFX, and receive an investment decision within 9 days. Up to 12 teams will win between $100,000 and $250,000 in pre-seed or seed funding.

Learn more about FAST on your campus here:

3. Raising now? We believe students are ready to build real companies right now. If you can’t wait for FAST and are ready to raise a Seed round, or if we have not yet launched at your school, we want to hear from you. Email your BriefLink to anna@nfx.com.


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As Founders ourselves, we respect your time. That’s why we built BriefLink, a new software tool that minimizes the upfront time of getting the VC meeting.

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