FAU Silicon Valley Spring School

Explore the World’s #1 Innovation Hub

The FAU Silicon Valley Spring School offers high-speed learning as well as unique experiences in the global center of digital technology and innovation: a Silicon Valley entrepreneurship deep dive for leaders and learners!

Together, you will boost your entrepreneurial skills, gain and develop new business ideas, as well as deepen your knowledge about innovation and digitization. High-tier lectures and case study sessions with leading entrepreneurs, business representatives and academic stars as well as exclusive networking events are part of the program, just like visiting exciting companies such as Google, Tesla, Facebook and some of the hidden unicorns of tomorrow.

Our program invites you to become part of an exciting group of industry innovators, entrepreneurial academics and outstanding students – a combination of passion, knowledge and experience enhancing the outcome of your journey to a whole new level!

The FAU Silicon Valley Spring School is a 9-day program with a build-in focus track of 5 days (paired with exclusive after-journey implementation-workshops) for the most busy people among us. So you can choose the timeline that fits your schedule best to enhance your analytical skills,  intercultural competence and creative thinking in a once-in-a-lifetime experience with future digital change makers!


It’s Not Only a Book – It’s A Mission

From the last two Silicon Valley School series, an outstanding collection of unique insights into Silicon Valley has emerged. The anthology „One plus one equals eleven“ captures the Silicon Valley spirit in 20 interesting short stories. Within 4 chapters, well-known Silicon Valley entrepreneurs talk about their perspective on the Eco-System, the tools for startup formation, mega growths & mega markets as well as entrepreneurial success stories. Let yourself be inspired! Learn more about the book and how to get it here: https://www.oneandoneeleven.com/



Testimonials – FAU Silicon Valley Spring School March 2019

  • Dr. rer. nat. Thilo Bauer

    I wouldn’t have expected such an outstanding program! Within these ten days, I got to places I have always wanted to be and met people I never thought I would…
  • Sophie Nehrig

    When I started my studies at FAU, I couldn’t dream of going to Silicon Valley sometime. As a future entrepreneur, I couldn’t miss Silicon Valley Spring School. This is the…
  • Prof. Dr. Holger Hackstein

    The time in Silicon Valley was an eye-opener for new ideas, concepts and interdisciplinary start-up projects. I was thrilled by the straightforwardness and innovation culture.
  • Prof. Dr. Dominique Schröder

    Herr Professor Schröder, Sie sind Lehrstuhlinhaber für Angewandte Kryptographie und waren Teilnehmer der ersten „FAU Silicon Valley School“. Wie haben Sie davon profitiert?
  • Prof. Dr. Siegfried Balleis

    I made my decision to attend FAU’s Silicon Valley Spring School within a few hours! I have never regretted this decision – on the contrary: These ten days have been…

Program Details

Key Facts

1 Program – 2 Options: You can choose the timeline that fits your schedule best

  • 1st Option – Full Stay – 9 Days of Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Deep Dive
    26th of March 2020 till 3rd of April 2020
    No further dedicated workshops after the FAU Silicon Valley Spring School 2020 is over. Our consultants are however always there to accompany and advice all activities, joint projects and start-ups resulting from the journey.
  • 2nd Option – Focus Track – 5 Days of Intensely Focused Input Combined with 2 After-Journey Implementation-Workshops at your Company
    27th of March 2020 till 31st of March 2020
    The focus track combines the shorter stay with two dedicated implementation workshops scheduled after the Silicon Valley Spring School 2020 at your company. During these workshops, you will translate your learnings into local practice together with our consultants – perfect especially for industry leaders trying to bring the Silicon Valley Spirit into their own companies.

Program fee:

  • 7.800€ + VAT
    This includes the costs for the whole program, all speakers and all related materials, all company visits, transfers and catering, as well as the implementation workshops (if focus track is chosen). The program fee does not cover the costs for flight, accommodation and catering outside of the program duration.
  • If you are a member of the FAU Family (Student, Researcher, Alumni, etc.) get in touch with dta-gp@fau.de for information on applicable grants and special rates

Key Learnings and Educational Objectives

Key learnings

  • Business Design
    You will get an in-depth introduction into state-of-the-art methods comprising business design. Setup, discover, design, implement and decide upon your next product or service – for yourself, your department or your whole company.
  • Case Studies
    Learn from the successes and the failures done by seasoned serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the Silicon Valley eco-system.
  • Lectures
    Upgrade your knowledge and expertise through high-class input from world leading experts and researchers on topics like technology trends, IP-law, business planning, ux/ui-design, shared mobility, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies.

Educational Objectives

  • Networking
    Meet and spend significant time on exclusive networking events together with entrepreneurs, business representatives, and professors. Make an outstanding step to expand your professional network globally.
  • Company Visits
    Discover the Silicon Valley, the Californian business ecosystem, and the local culture with insiders during company visits and social activities.

Preliminary Schedule

Special Rates for Participants from FAU

Reduced Participation Fee for FAU students

The FAU offers all students the possibility to apply (till the 10th of January) for a participation grant of 7.100€. That means your participation fee can be reduced to 700€ + VAT. To apply simply follow the process described on the application platform – click on the „Apply here!“ button below.

Reduced Participation Fee for FAU Staff, Phd students, Professors & Lecturers

Apply till the 10th of January 2020 and you will receive a travel allowance of 4,400€. That means your participation fee will be reduced to 3,400€ + VAT. To apply simply follow the process described on the application platform – click on the „Apply here!“ button below.

About The Partner Institutes

Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

When it comes to innovation, FAU is a world leader. According to the latest Reuters ranking the University is at the top in Germany, and ranked at an excellent 2nd position in Europe and 14th position worldwide. Founded in 1743, FAU is today one of the largest universities in Germany with about 40,000 students, 4,000 academic employees and about €200 Mio annual third-party research funding.
As innovation leader, FAU designs unique learning experiences that carefully combine internal and external further education and provide leaders and learners with inimitable network opportunities that span across boundaries: institutional boundaries, disciplinary boundaries, but also the boundaries of generations, backgrounds and diverse strengths and talents.

San José State University

San José State University is the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast. SJSU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. As a comprehensive public university located in the heart of Silicon Valley, it offers students an exceptionally rewarding learning environment. The distinctive character of SJSU has been forged by its long history, by its location, and its vision—a blend of the old and the new, of the traditional and the innovative. It is ranked fifth in Top Public Schools and 52nd in Best Value Schools.

Silicon Valley Fall School 2019 – Report

Day 01 - Fall School 2019

On the first day, we had a kick-off meeting for our FAU Silicon Valley Fall School in San José (USA)! But wait it‘s not a school, it‘s a start-up, at least that‘s what Gurmeet our partner from San José State University told us. See what happened in the next days…

Kick-off Session
San José State University
Campus of the San José State University

Day 02 - Fall School 2019

On the second day of the School, our participants learned all about start-ups and what makes the culture in Silicon Valley so special. The ultimate formula for a successful start-up consists of: Competence- + Trust + Fun! Our inspirational speakers shared some great insights like: It‘s always better to try out rather than not to try our your ideas. You CAN fail, the importance lays in remaining trustworthy. The day ended with a visit to Falcon X – THE Tech Incubator in Silicon Valley where FAU and local Start-ups got the chance to pitch their ideas followed by a dinner at an Italian Restaurants where we got introduced to many amazing entrepreneurial Silicon Valley personalities!

Keynote-Speaker Dr. Meyyappan – Chief scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center

Welcome of the CEO of Falcon X

Start-Up pitches from our participants

Falcon X – THE Tech Incubator at Silicon Valley

Day 03 - Fall School 2019

On the third day, leading AI and Ex-Google senior manager Ajay Malik inspired our participants with the latest opportunities in AI and Quantum Computing. Highlight followed highlight –  Mr. Maliks talk was followed by speeches from a senior manager of Credit Karma – the largest Fintech in US and Stanley Chang – IP and Legal tech expert in the Silicon Valley. At the end of the day, our group took a tour of Stanford University campus and had an interesting session on how innovations are implemented there.

Ajay Malik on enrepreneurship opportunities in AI and Quantum Computing
Visit at Stanford University Campus

The Silicon Valley Fall School – Participant Group

Day 04 - Fall School 2019

What to do on a Sunday in Silicon Valley? As our program host says, Sunday is like Monday here. Thus, we started the day with an amazing session of one of the world leading experts in UI/UX Design (former head of UI/UX at Oracle & SAP). Then, we went on to one of the former TESLA board members, who started his own mobility business concerning green heavy duty vehicles. Followed by an inspiring talk by THE Californian sustainability evangelist Danny Kennedy, we finished off the day at the amazing vineyards of Napa Valley.

Dr. Danile Rosenberg – Leading UX/UI expert
Danny Kennedy – Clean energy evangelist
Visit at Robert Mondavi Vineyard

Day 05 - Fall School 2019

We started our day at 7am this morning at Facebook where we had a chance to learn about the security measures they take and got to tour the amazing campus facilities. It seems like an incredible place to work at. We then headed to Google where we got to have lunch with all the Google employees at their cafeteria! Our last stop of the day took us to Amazon where we got to tour their facilities and get insights into the whole logistics processes. Really impressive how much technology they have in place.

Facebook – Campus Visit
Visit at Google
Visit of an amazon fulfillment center

Day 06 - Fall School 2019

On our last lecture day, we‘ve learnt life-lasting lessons from the co-founder of Hyrecar, Mr. Smile Chopra – a 300million $ real estate entrepreneur, Mike Horan – expert for mobile energy solutions, Prof. Banafa – THE Blockchain and Cryptocurrency expert in Silicon Valley and Sukhi, now 70 years old- founder of a billion dollar, family – owned food enterprise, who even brought us dinner. So entrepreneurial success is not about whether you are young or old. It’s not about gender nor about your origin. It all depends on your personal strength, your character and how passionate you are to pursue your dreams. Now we are off to San Francisco for 3 days of TechCrunch Disrupt Conference.⠀

Prof. Banafa – THE Blockchain and IoT expert in the Silicon Valley


Sukhi – 70 years old bilion dollar entrepreneur
Mike Horan – Expert for mobile energy solutions

Day 07 - Fall School 2019

Today was the start of the Disrupt SF TechCrunch conference, where innovative start-ups from anywhere in the tech sector show what they are made of. So what do you do when you’re Germany’s #1 innovative University? Naturally, we couldn’t miss out on the many start-ups presenting their solutions in exciting fields, e.g., Artificial intelligence, security and privacy, IoT and Robotics, and of course blockchain. Already impressed by this wide array of innovation, we were even more blown away by the insights gained from the additional talks from industry experts happening in parallel! All in all, this has been an amazing event already and we are hyped for the upcoming additional two days!

Will Smith at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2019

Day 08 - Fall School 2019

On the second conference day, we checked out even more start-ups, participated in a Lenovo survey and test. There is even a Hackathon taking place during the conference and furthermore, there are many networking opportunities with outstanding entrepreneurs. It‘s great to see so many new innovations, technologies, and entrepreneurs coming together in great businesses.


Start-up battlefield session

Day 09 - Fall School 2019

Last day of the FAU Silicon Valley Fall School: Once again we were able to see great presentations and the finals of the hackathon and pitch event. Ashton Kutcher was also part of the jury and the CEO of Snapchat stopped by. We also had a final meeting with our host from San José State University where we all received our official certificates.

Certificate ceremony on the last day
Congratulations to our participants from industry


Program Partner