I believe in order to learn, we need to get our hands dirty and learn by experience; To fully appreciate what is being taught in Entrepreneurship classes at San Jose State I decided to visit the hotbed for tech entrepreneurs in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Plug And Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, CA.
Plug And Play Tech Center is an amazing place to visit. It is home to over 300 companies. The catch is, in order to be a part of Plug And Play you must be a tech company. The place is buzzing with activities around the clock. Ideas are being exchanged in hallways, cubicles, conference rooms and even the cafeteria. You can almost taste the creativity. Plug And Play offers their entrepreneurs numerous opportunities to enhance their products and find funding by connecting them with various venture capitalists, offering workshops, and a variety of other accommodation for their members. Plug And Play is by far the largest and most successful tech incubator in all of Silicon Valley.
During our tour of Plug And Play we had the opportunity to interview one of Plug And Play’s entrepreneurs. Her name is Jingxi Li. She is the product designer and one of the co-founders of Dimensions Lab Technology, Inc. (DLT for short). Her company is developing a product called TIMEX. It is an add-on app for Facebook that will allow Facebook users to create customizable timelines filled with pictures, videos, notes and other types of media and, most importantly, share those timelines with people of their choosing. This product utilizes cutting edge facial recognition software that is also being developed by another founder of Dimensions Lab. Jingxi and the two other co-founders are Stanford University Alumni. Jingxi completed her MBA degree and two others got their PhD degrees in Computer Science. They are a very well educated bunch. This team won a business plan competition at Stanford and got sponsored by Plug And Play to participate in their Startup Camp. Plug And Play has connected DLT with several VCs that have offered invaluable suggestions that have shaped the TIMEX product into it’s current state. DLT was originally developing a Baby Calendar app for Facebook. With the help of VCs, they were able to modify that idea into a more viable product that will capture a much bigger audience. Currently DLT is finalizing their application prototype and looking for seed funding from angel investors and VCs within Plug And Play.
This is a short story of only one entrepreneur; there are many many more stories just like this one out there. Plug And Play is in itself an innovating business idea. Plug And Play offers entrepreneurs a whole suit of services that help them become successful while also capitalizing on the success of their members. Plug And Play can provide up to 10% of the investment proposed to the entrepreneurs by the VCs. Plug And Play is a very helpful middleman between innovators and the investors. Thanks Plug And Play for helping the likes of Ebay grow from an idea to reality.