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Singularity University

Singularity University

Singularity University (abbreviated SU) is a Silicon Valley B-Corp (Benefit) corporation that offers educational programs and a business incubator.[2][3] According to its website, it focuses on scientific progress and "exponential" technologies.[4] It was founded in 2008 by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil at the NASA Research Park in California, United States.[5] SU headquarters are located in Santa Clara, California.

Singularity University
EstablishedSeptember 2008[1]
Academic staff
Peter Diamandis (Co-founder) and Ray Kurzweil (Co-founder)
Santa Clara
ColorsBlue and White
Websitesu.org [43]


Singularity University initially offered an annual 10-week summer program and has since added conference series, classes, and a business incubator for startups and corporate teams.[6]

Instruction is offered in eleven areas.[7][8] Singularity University was created in 2009 based on Ray Kurzweil's theory of "technological singularity." Kurzweil believes that emerging technologies like nanotechnology and biotechnology will massively increase human intelligence over the next two decades, and fundamentally reshape the economy and society.[9] In 2012, Singularity University the non-profit began the process for conversion to a benefit corporation, to include non-profit as well as for-profit aspects.[10] In 2013, the new for-profit corporation incorporated as "Singularity Education Group" and acquired the descriptive "Singularity University" as its trade name.[11]

In 2015, Singularity University and Yunus Social Business (YSB) announced a partnership at the World Economic Forum to use "accelerating technologies" and social entrepreneurship for global development in developing areas of the world where YSB is active.[12][13]

Singularity University also partners with organizations to sponsor annual "Global Impact Competitions," based on a theme and geography.[14][15]

Administration and funding

Singularity University is overseen by a Board of Trustees.[16] Rob Nail, one of the organization's Associate Founders, was named CEO of Singularity University in October, 2011.[17] Director of "Global Grand Challenges" in 2013 is Nicholas Haan.

Singularity University's Associate Founders[18] are Moses Znaimer, Barney Pell, Sonia Arrison Senkut, David S. Rose, Keith and Mariela Kleiner, Klee Irwin, Dan Stoicescu, Reese Jones, Peter L. Bloom, Geoffrey Shmigelsky, Georges Harik and Rob Nail. Original Corporate founding partners and sponsors include Google,[19] Nokia,[20] Autodesk,[21] IDEO, LinkedIn, ePlanet Capital,[22] the X Prize Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation and Genentech.[23] Google subsequently ended its grant of $1.5 million annually.[24]

Global Solutions Program

Students at Singularity University's "Global Solutions Program" (GSP, formerly the "Graduate Studies Program") learn about new technologies, and work together over the summer to start companies.[25] In 2012, the Global Solutions Program class had 80 students, with an average age of 30.[26] In 2015, Google agreed to provide $1.5 million annually for two years to make the program free to participants.[27] The 80 students are selected from over 3,000 applicants each year.[25] A substantial portion of the GSP class comes from the winners of SU's sponsored "Global Impact Competitions".[27] The company withdrew the GSP program in 2018 after Google ended its grant, which covered about half the costs of the program.[24] In February 2018, Singularity University raised $32 million in a series-B venture capital round led by WestRiver Group and Boeing.[28]

Executive Program

The Executive Program is targeted to corporate leaders, and focuses on how rapid changes in technology will impact businesses.[25]

Exponential Regional Partnership

Singularity University has an "Exponential Regional Partnership" with SingularityU The Netherlands. This partnership program serves to help prepare European society and European companies for exponential technologies and give them the tools to use these technologies to meet Global Grand Challenges. The Netherlands was chosen as a starting point for international expansion because of the social, creative and innovative environment with rapid adoption rates for new technologies.[29] Water, food, healthcare and mobility, traditional strengths of the Dutch economy, are the main focal points.

Global Impact Competition

In 2016, SingularityU The Netherlands organized a Global Impact Competition to find the most innovative Dutch entrepreneurs with ideas that leverage exponential technologies to enhance the lives of refugees. [30] Danny Wagemans, a 21-year-old nanophysics student, won the first prize to participate in the 10-week Global Solutions Program. He demonstrated how clean water and energy can be derived from urine by combining a microbial fuel cell and a graphene filter in a water bottle.[31]

Innovation Hub

An Innovation Hub that allows people to experience exponential technologies has been started in Eindhoven as part of the Exponential Regional Partnership. This Innovation Hub was officially opened in Eindhoven by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, in the presence of numerous representatives of the corporate community, government and innovators. Eindhoven was chosen for this hub as it is the heart of the Brainport region, one of Europe's most important tech clusters.[32]

Exponential Conference Series

Singularity University hosts annual conferences focused on "exponentially accelerating technologies", and their impact on fields such as finance, medicine and manufacturing.[33] The conferences are produced with Deloitte,[33] as well as CNBC for the "Exponential Finance" conference.[34]

Singularity Hub

Singularity Hub is a science and tech media website published by Singularity University.[35] Singularity Hub was founded in 2008 [35] with the mission of "providing news coverage of sci/tech breakthroughs that are rapidly changing human abilities, health, and society".[36] It was acquired by Singularity University in 2012, to make content produced by Singularity University more accessible.[36]

In March 2018, Singularity Hub released 695 articles via Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 4.0.[37]

SU Labs

SU Labs is a seed accelerator by Singularity University, targeting startups that aim to "change the lives of a billion people."[38]

The company "Made In Space," which has developed a 3D printer adapted to the constraints of space travel, was founded at Singularity University. The first prototype of Made in Space, the "Zero-G Printer", was developed with NASA and sent into space in September, 2014.[39]

In 2011, a Singularity University group launched Matternet, a startup that aims to harness drone technology to ship goods in developing countries that lack highway infrastructure. Other startups from SU are the peer-to-peer car-sharing service Getaround, and BioMine, which uses mining technologies to extract value from electronic waste.[7]

Impact partners

In 2013, Singularity University and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF announced a partnership to create technologies to improve the lives of vulnerable people in developing countries.[40][41]


An investigative report from Bloomberg Businessweek found many issues with the organization, including an alleged sexual harassment of a student by a teacher, theft and aiding of theft by an executive, and allegations of gender and disability discrimination.[24] Several early members of Singularity University were convicted of crimes, including Bruce Klein, who was convicted in 2012 of running a credit fraud operation in Alabama and Naveen Jain who was convicted of insider trading in 2003.


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