Your Voice | Investing in dorm room entrepreneurs


First Round Capital launches the Dorm Room Fund, a venture capital fund run by students, for students




This morning, First Round Capital announced the launch of Dorm Room Fund, one of the first venture capital funds run by students, for students.

I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities the fund creates for student entrepreneurs and the Philadelphia start-up community. The investment team for the new $500,000 fund will be made up of eight diverse University City students making $10,000-$20,000 “dorm room stage” investments that will jump-start many amazing ideas and start-ups.

First Round partner Josh Kopelman will be an advisor and investment team member for the fund. Having interned with First Round and having helped bring this fund to life, I’m thrilled to be the first (and currently only) investment team member.

For Penn students, First Round is the perfect firm to launch the Dorm Room Fund because of their extensive experience with seed-stage investing, their awesome new space located conveniently at 4040 Locust St. and Josh’s strong commitment to making Philadelphia into the next great start-up city.

That First Round started the Dorm Room Fund here in University City is an affirmation of Penn’s vibrant start-up ecosystem.

Just look around campus and you’ll find PennApps, the largest student-run hackathon in the world, and so many entrepreneurial organizations: Weiss Tech House, Venture Initiation Program, Dining Philosophers, eClub, Wharton Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club and Founders’ Club, just to name a few.

The Dorm Room Fund offers us an incredible opportunity to expand this ecosystem and allow our entrepreneurs’ ideas to grow out of the dorm rooms and coffee shops and into dynamic seed-stage companies. It also represents a unique opportunity for students on the investment team to develop their investing skills and gain exposure to the world of venture capital while building an even better entrepreneurial community at Penn and in Philadelphia.

Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many dozens of student and Philly-area entrepreneurs, so I know firsthand what a remarkable and engaged community we have. I’ve also seen and personally experienced that the first stages of a startup’s life are often the hardest, where a little help can have the most impact.

That’s why I’m so excited about Dorm Room Fund. If we can provide the resources to get over the early obstacles, I can’t wait to see the impact all of our aspiring world-changers can make!
The fund itself will operate like a start-up, with the founding team shaping its future. There are seven open positions for current Penn and Drexel students.

University City students, this is an awesome chance to be part of something that could change the start-up landscape forever, so I encourage you to apply! If you have the hustle to invest $500,000, apply at dormroomfund.com to receive emails about information sessions and next steps.Also check out Josh’s blog at for the official announcement.

If you’re starting a company and looking for investment, or if you want to be part of the founding investment team, don’t hesitate to reach out or come work on your idea with everyone at First Round’s new offices at 4040 Locust. Penn’s start-up future has never looked brighter!

Isaac Sukin is a Wharton junior. He is the platform intern at First Round Capital and a founding member of the Dorm Room Fund. His email address is isukin@wharton.upenn.edu.

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