In a colorful office on the Peninsula, students and professors agonize over code and molecules late at night, occasionally interrupting work with quick bouts of Nerf gunplay and basketball.
This is StartX, where a select group of Stanford University entrepreneurs try to turn apps or other inventions into businesses that will revolutionize society or make a killing on the stock market - or preferably both.
As StartX turns 5 this year, the incubator plans to say goodbye to its space in Mountain View next month and move into a 12,000-square-foot building (about four times its current size) within walking distance of the university in Palo Alto.
Filling up the office won't be hard, because getting into StartX is now almost as fiercely competitive as getting into Stanford itself. The program recently took just 5 percent of 275 applicants who wanted StartX's help in developing everything from mobile apps to DNA sequencing technologies.