Princeton University has a robust startup and venture capital (VC) ecosystem that both creates and fosters innovation. This ecosystem includes both academic and extra-academic initiatives.
The Keller Center is the university's primary academic platform for entrepreneurship. Here, students, faculty, and alumni have access to courses, workshops, lecturing series, and venture funding. The center also manages the eLab Summer Accelerator Program, a highly competitive platform in which select student teams are given mentorship and resources to launch their startups.
Of the startups to emerge from Princeton, Jet.com, an e-commerce company, is a notable example. The company was co-founded by Marc Lore, a graduate of the class of 1993. It was sold to Walmart in 2016 for approximately $3.3 billion. Another successful case is Cloudflare, an internet security company co-founded by Michelle Zatlyn, who graduated in 2005 with a computer science degree. Cloudflare completed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2019.
Princeton's VC ecosystem has also birthed successful investors. Among them is Eric Schmidt, a 1976 alumnus who later became the CEO of Google. He is currently a partner at Innovation Endeavors, a venture capital firm. Similarly, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and a Princeton graduate, has made numerous successful investments through his personal venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions.
Beyond formal academic channels, Princeton's entrepreneurial spirit thrives within student organizations such as the Princeton Entrepreneurship Club and the Keller Center's Princeton Entrepreneurship Council. The latter organization provides numerous opportunities for networking, startup support, and idea exchange.
In conclusion, Princeton University has a vibrant entrepreneurial and venture capital ecosystem that has given birth to significant startups and investors in the commercial market, thanks to conducive initiatives and a supportive community.
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