Silicon Valley 'nerdtrepreneur' alums touted


MIT alumni/ae who went to Silicon Valley to found their own companies turned out in force last Wednesday at an MIT party in Atherton, CA held by the MIT Entrepreneurship Center and the MIT Club of Northern California.

The CEO star power was sufficient to bring journalists from Forbes, Bloomberg News Service, the San Jose Mercury News and the Boston Globe to the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton.

Featuring Dean Richard Schmalensee of the Sloan School of Management, the event drew more than 300 people, including E*Trade founder Bill Porter (SB 1967), Infoseek founder Steve Kirsch (SB 1978) and Kevin Kinsella (SB 1967), founder of no less than 53 software and biotech companies.

"These are the 'nerdtrepreneurs' that have made MIT famous in Silicon Valley as the school that keeps pumping out technologically astute eager beavers with a penchant for starting their own companies," the Boston Globe reported in a story featured on page 2 of the May 1 paper.

"Beginning with William R. Hewlett, MIT class of '36, who cofounded Hewlett-Packard Co. in Palo Alto in 1939, the list of Silicon Valley companies founded by MIT graduates has grown to include Intel Corp., National Semiconductor, Genentech and Cirrus Logic, to name a few," the Globe's Alex Pham wrote. "A 1995 survey by BankBoston counted 287 companies in Northern California founded by MIT graduates. These companies had sales of $66 billion and worldwide employment of 287,000. They accounted for one-quarter of the manufacturing jobs in Silicon Valley, and 29 percent of the area's electronics jobs.

"Since then, the MIT family of companies has further swelled with the addition of the 'dot com' babies. Some have become familiar names, like Webvan Group Inc., started by Louis Borders, a one-time MIT graduate student and founder of Borders Books. But many others are just arriving on the scene, hoping to become the next E*Trade. These include Portfolio Corner Inc., Smartbasket.com, Xporta, Quova and Embark.com," the article said.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 3, 2000.


Topics: Entrepreneurship, Alumni/ae

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