The 2016 YEI Fellowship, a 10-week summer bootcamp for advancing ventures that’s run by the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI), received an increased number of submissions from Yale College and from women compared to previous years. Yale College applications represented 43.2% of submissions compared to 38% last year, and applications from women were 31% of the total, up from 21% last year. In total, YEI received 43 applications from 118 applicants. Aside from Yale College and School of Management (22%), applications were fairly evenly spread between the graduate schools—including the School of Engineering & Applied Science; the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; School of Medicine; School of Architecture; the Law School and School of Public Health. About 10 teams will be ultimately accepted into the Fellowship from among the applicants and receive $15,000, mentorship, expert instruction, pitching guidance, introductions to venture capitalists, resources from corporate partners and space to develop their venture among peers at the YEI Incubator on Elm Street.
“We’re encouraged by these numbers,” says YEI Managing Director Jim Boyle. “We’re excited to see increased interest from women on campus and from Yale College entrepreneurs, particularly with the addition this year of the Yale College Dean’s Challenge on Social Innovation.”
The Dean’s Challenge is a new initiative being run in conjunction with the Fellowship—an honor that will be given to one high-impact social venture from a Yale undergraduate. In an email announcement about the prize earlier this year, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway said: “This is an opportunity to think about ways to have a tangible impact during your time at Yale and build something that you can take with you after you graduate.”
This year, the Fellowship has also been more closely aligned with Yale’s most prestigious entrepreneurship prizes—including the Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health or Education (run by InnovateHealth Yale), the Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize (run by the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale) and the Miller Prize (run by YEI). All three prizes offer $25,000 in support and a guaranteed spot in the YEI Fellowship for entrepreneurs to develop their ventures with resources, guidance and support.
“The YEI Fellowship has been recognized across campus as the best way to develop a promising venture and prepare early-stage entrepreneurs to succeed. It connects them to a broader world of other Fellows, investors, mentors and industry experts that is invaluable for sustaining a new business,” Boyle says. “We’ve developed this program over the past nine years and have a solid track record of success.”
Former YEI Fellowship teams include ed-tech company Panorama Education which went on to raise $4M from Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup: Education; big data startup Hadapt, which raised $17M and was acquired by Teradata in 2014; and Rally Bus, which offers crowd-sourced, on-demand bus travel and raised $1.25M in a seed round last year. Nine of the ten companies that have received $100,000 from the YEI Innovation Fund, a fund supported by Yale, Connecticut Innovations and First Niagara Bank, participated in a YEI Fellowship. There are currently 100 active YEI companies that have raised over $150 million in funding and created over 400 jobs.