Now that I'm a prof, I'm actually recruiting locals in start-ups to come get a Ph.D. with me. I feel like folks that can excel at a start-up can also excel at a Ph.D.
I also assert that someone with a start-up mentality should be able to get a Ph.D. much faster than a "regular" Ph.D. student.
The razor-sharp focus that a start-up needs is perfect for blasting through a Ph.D.
I'm looking for ways to make the two experiences synergistic and complementary instead of antagonistic.
I'm now at UC Santa Cruz, and despite being 40 minutes from Silicon Valley, I see absolutely zero of this entrepreneurial spirit. The administration is wasting their talent from top to bottom. They had a business plan competition. Top prize: $500. Not an incubation offer. No VCs invited. Nothing.
Even my Computer Science Masters at UoB had a business plan class baked in, and the final project pitch was to a board including the head of CS, the head of the business incubator, another faculty member, and an invited VC. You had to impress all of them to do well. Apparently the VC was the only person who didn't like my pitch :) But UCSC is doing nothing like this anywhere. It's a terrible waste.