8 Startups / 5 Students / 1 Week


The 2019 San Francisco Synapse program, a partnership between the Brown Entrepreneurship Program (EP) and the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, provides Brown students the opportunity to explore the entrepreneurship culture of San Francisco, CA from May 18 – 22, 2019. The five day, all expenses paid for trip provides students with the opportunity to visit 8 companies, engage with local entrepreneurs and Brown University alumni, as well as explore the city and its rich history.

Students will meet with potential employers throughout the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, and get a practical understanding of the day-to-day life of the global center for high technology, innovation, and social media. This is an opportunity to expand their professional network and exposure to a variety of entrepreneurial career paths. Students will meet early stage founders, visit accelerator programs, learn from venture capitalists, as well as learn how mature companies continue to innovate and act intra-preneurially. The goal of the program is to leave with a better understanding of the spectrum of entrepreneurship, from what launching a company looks like to how our ideas are funded.

The Brown Entrepreneurship Program (EP) started the Synapse program 5 years ago, bringing 200+ students to New York City, Providence, and Boston. With the launch of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, we have expanded these trips internationally, partnering with the CareerLAB, bringing students to Barcelona and London. For more information on these trips, visit our website or watch this short video to learn more about Barcelona.

During the summer of 2016, Brown EP held an informal San Francisco Synapse for students that were interning or living in the area at the time. It was a great success, with visits such as Google, Kira Kira, Teespring, 8VC, and Bessemer Ventures. Students were eager to make the trip happen again in the future. Now with additional funding through generous alumni donors, we can for the first time open up the Synapse San Francisco trip to the Brown community for a mid-May trip, providing an opportunity for Brown students to visit San Francisco that may not necessarily have the opportunity to otherwise.

These trips provide students with an immersive experience into a new city, with opportunities to learn about new cultures, expand their professional networks, and apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world experiences. Students also have the opportunity to forge new relationships and connections with a small cohort of students, where they form long-lasting friendships and professional contacts.

Format: Students will travel to San Francisco on Saturday, May 18. On Sunday, May 19 they will have the full day to explore the city and learn more about the area.

On Monday and Tuesday, students will visit approximate 3 sites each day, which may include a startup, accelerator or investor/venture capital firm. The days will include either a networking luncheon or a meet and greet during dinner time. There will potentially be time on Wednesday to visit 1-2 sites, totalling approximately 8 visits over the 3 days (5 days total including travel and exploration).

The format of the visits will vary from formal PowerPoint presentations to open conversations with our hosts. Students will have an opportunity to ask each host questions and dive into deep conversations about their day to day experiences as well as big-picture ideas around entrepreneurship, such as the future of technology and its impact on society to how investors evaluate companies and know when to invest.


1. Tell us how this program will impact you, and why are you interested in the San Francisco entrepreneurship ecosystem.
2. A resume.
3. A 60-second video submission answering the question: Why San Francisco Synapse and why you?

March 22, 2019
Application Opens

April 7, 2019
Application Deadline (closes 11:59 PM EST)

April 12, 2019
Acceptances sent out (5 students)

April 19, 2019
Deadline to accept offer (flights need to be booked ASAP)

April 24, 2019
SF Synapse Program Orientation

Saturday, May 18 – Wednesday, May 22, 2019
SF Synapse Trip

Any full-time first-years, sophomores, juniors or seniors remaining a full-time Brown University undergraduate student in the semester following the trip is eligible to apply. If you have previously attended the international London and Barcelona Synapse trips, you are not eligible to apply. Questions? Email David Lu (david_lu@brown.ed), Lead EP Organizer or Liz Malone (, NCE Program Manager.