Typically, the dorm room is a place where we relax, do homework, and can escape from the hectic city atmosphere. It is also a place where creativity is at its best. Lately, it’s become a breeding ground for people to collaborate and create the next big thing. While students are thinking up innovative new businesses and products every day, they often struggle with turning these dreams into reality. This is where First Round Capital’s new Dorm Room Fund comes into play. It is a seed fund run by students to invest in student startups. The whole process is designed to make it as easy as possible for young entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into real businesses. First Round Capital’s managing director, Josh Kopelman, said on his blog “college campuses are wonderful ecosystems for creating disruptive ideas. And I’m not the only one that noticed and took advantage of this. For other examples, look no further than today’s largest tech companies — it’s not surprising that Facebook, Microsoft, Dell, Yahoo, Google all started in a dorm room.”
The way it works is that a student-led investment team will receive $500,000 to invest in student-run companies over the course of two years. First Round Capital believes that universities are gold mines for smart and success-bound entrepreneurs, and who better to find those people than other students who live and study alongside them. Think you’ve got a future in venture capital? Apply to be on the investment team by March 11 at 9pm. Think you’ve got an awesome idea for a business? Find your peers on the investment team and buy them lunch.
The Dorm Room Fund was first launched in Philadelphia at University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University last fall. First Round Capital created a fund for a group of students from both universities to manage. Their goal was to invest $10,000 to $20,000 in start-ups created by current students and recent graduates. So far, the Philly Dorm Room Fund has successfully added Firefly to their portfolio – a business that actually grew out of a hackathon hosted by Penn. The students are now working hard supporting Firefly and seeking new student ventures that are in need of investment.
Much has been written about the thriving startup scene in NYC and the emergence of “Silicon Alley” as the next hub of entrepreneurship. NYU is experiencing the same boom. The NYU Entrepreneurs Network, a collection of 21 undergraduate and graduate clubs that support entrepreneurship across 10 NYU schools, exemplifies the high level of student interest in startups. In addition, NYU recently hosted the 2nd Annual NYU Entrepreneurs Festival a student led entrepreneurship event that brought together entrepreneurs and other members of the startup community from NYU, NYC, and beyond to show off their work and gain knowledge and wisdom from others. These are just a few examples of how NYU is creating a community that is a vibrant and dynamic place to work and innovate. Events, workshops, and resources to connect and nurture entrepreneurs at NYU are plentiful. The Dorm Room Fund is a welcome addition to the mix.
This Dorm Room Fund is a great opportunity that has reached out to only a few colleges, including New York University – the next step is for you to reach back at http://www.dormroomfund.com.