There’s No Better Time To Be A Student Founder — My Takeaways from AllDRF 2016

Dorm Room Fund held its second AllDRF Summit last month on February 26 and 27, where partners from all four cities came together for a weekend of fun and learning. As somebody who just joined Dorm Room Fund as a member of the newly formed platform team, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But it was through AllDRF that I realized that I was part of something bigger than just another student organization.

Here are some of the key takeaways I had from the 2 days we spent in New York meeting partners from all 4 cities, thinking about the future of DRF, meeting alumni and planning new initiatives to help student founders succeed. I also took away a couple of lessons from the AMA session we had with First Round Capital Partner Chris Fralic and Good Uncle Co-founder Wiley Cerilli.

Here we see all the partners going through Boston Partner Riley’s memory exercise

1. If there’s a rocket ship, get on it

One of the biggest questions that came up a lot during the AMA with Chris and Wiley and the Alumni Panel was how to decide what startup to join or work in both for internships and more importantly, post-graduation.

This was the advice that Chris gave that a lot of alumni echoed, “If there’s a rocket ship, get on it. You should also join a company at a tribe stage. Watching a great leader go through the process of growth and crash is a great opportunity; Watching someone go through rounds of layoffs and still being a great leader and restructuring a company is incredible.”

2. Learn how to sell

One common theme that both Chris and Wiley shared with us was the importance of learning how to sell and telling a good story when it came to building a successful company. Chris shared, “People don’t usually like to go to sales but in general if you want to build something and be part of something great, you need to know how to sell.”

It’s not everyday that you get the chance to hear from such experienced entrepreneurs and VCs like Chris and Wiley.

3. Know what you’re good at

… and what you’re not good at so you can identify talent who can help you. Wiley added to this saying, “If you want to achieve anything, you need to learn how to motivate teams of people. If you want them to build a boat, teach them how to sail the sea and they will build that boat.”

4. There’s no better time to be a student entrepreneur

As the second AllDRF Summit came to a close, I realized that there was no better time to be a student entrepreneur. So much innovation is currently happening with universities, and so many resources are being allocated into student entrepreneurship.

As I spoke with the partners from other cities, I got even more excited as I heard about all the diverse types of startups coming out of these different universities. There’s just this unique cross-pollination and ideation that happens in the university setting where you have students from different backgrounds constantly learning and working on different projects and solutions. With more and more programs and organizations popping up to support student founders, there’s definitely no better time to start than today.

The alumni panel gave us a chance to learn more about the early days of DRF and life after DRF from our alumni

5. You have an opportunity to really impact your peers’ lives.

This was a powerful line that one of the alumni partners, An Nguyen shared with us. She added, “Get to know the founders, both those you say yes or no to; you can learn a lot from working with founders.”

As I looked around me and saw all the different student partners, it was hard not to be amazed by the fact that Dorm Room Fund is giving us this opportunity to really build the startup ecosystems in our respective universities and hopefully help our peers build the next game-changing startup.

While Dorm Room Fund has made over 100 investments since it was founded, there’s a lot more that we can do to serve our community. As part of this new platform team, I’m excited to be working with all these incredible founders and partners in continuing the Dorm Room Fund mission of inspiring and supporting student founders.


We are dedicated to supporting student founders across the country and help them reach new heights. Working on a startup? Get in touch on twitter or here.

The Dorm Room Fund Family with partners from all 4 cities