Wharton senior Stephanie Weiner was just named one of 22 rising venture capitalists by Business Insider. She was the youngest and the only college student awarded the honor.
Weiner is a very active member in the Penn entrepreneurial community. In her sophomore year, she became a member of the Weiss Tech House, a student-run hub of technological innovation at Penn. Later, she became a co-founder of PennLets, an online platform that helps students sublet apartments.
After studying abroad in Australia, she came back to campus and was selected as a partner of Dorm Room Fund, a venture capital firm run by students that invests in student-run companies.
“Dorm Room Fund has been the most enriching part of my college life,” Weiner said, noting that it gave her a start in investing. She worked with two Dorm Room Fund deals, and helped turn several ideas into businesses.
“We do most things partners normally would do at a larger fund. We source deals, much of which includes looking into the community and trying to encourage people to start companies and apply for funding,” Weiner said.
The Dorm Room Fund’s Philadelphia branch has considered investing in companies started at colleges across the East Coast. “Once [the companies] are in the portfolio we help them raise more funds, provide business development opportunities and match founders with mentors. It is a lot of fun,” Weiner said.
Weiner became interested in technology at a very young age. “My dad is an Apple nut, and I owned a computer since I was tiny. We have waited in line at five o’clock in the morning for the new iPhone. I was making websites in high school,” Weiner said. She once felt pressure from other classmates who were predominantly interested in the banking world, but she chose to continue with her passion in technology. “Technology is pushing forward every industry,” Weiner said, noting that its ubiquity is what inspires her to pursue it as a career.
Although tech — and the venture capital industry — are known for under-representation of women, Weiner has embraced them. “I like being the only girl at the table,” Weiner said confidently. She is very optimistic about the increasing participation of women in the industry. “The need for female founders and venture capitalists is real, but I am happy to be seeing more young women in the field.”
Although Weiner is already in her final semester at Penn, she is still actively connecting the Penn community. She co-founded The Bell Society, a technology and entrepreneurship-focused senior society that aims to connect like-minded people to create great things together in the future.
“One of the most valuable things at Penn is the people,” Weiner said, “At Penn we have brilliant makers, thinkers, hackers, statisticians, designers and founders. It is powerful to bring all of them to the same room and hopefully tackle big problems.”
Additionally, Weiner is helping a team of four senior engineering students develop their senior design project into a business. The team made an autonomous pontoon boat capable of collecting and transmitting data from long voyages to scientists. “It is energizing to hear ideas and think about where they can go and how they will get there,” Weiner said.
Weiner will be joining Bain Capital in New York City after graduation.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.