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VC Firm First Round Capital on Funding Student Startups

Published: Aug 12, 2013 06:00:48 AM IST
Updated: Aug 8, 2013 02:09:45 PM IST
VC Firm First Round Capital on Funding Student Startups
Image: Dorm Room by Meghan Casserly
Scholar investors in Philadelphia

In 2012, first round Capital, a Philadelphia VC firm, put $500,000 into a fund for students to invest in startups. Dorm Room Fund has since expanded to colleges in two more cities. Its 15 investments, mostly $10,000 to $20,000, include screen-sharing software Firefly and online used-car retailer ZenKars. We spoke to First Round partner Phin Barnes.

Where did the idea originate?
 “First, college students can create incredible companies. Second, the best VC funds are run like startups, so we should find students who want to build a VC startup.”

How do you choose your committees of students?

 “We have an open application for anyone from undergrads in liberal arts to people getting their PhD in biology. And as they graduate they select their replacements.”

How do they find their investment opportunities?

 “They tap their personal networks. They work to deeply understand problems and meet incredibly smart people.”

(This story appears in the 23 August, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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