Good Luck to the Graduating Dorm Room Fund Partners!
This past school year marked Dorm Room Fund’s 5th year in operation. We achieved many significant milestones and blew past our goals:
- We made our 200th investment
- We supported student founders from over 50 different universities across the country
- We built VCWiz, a product to make fundraising more accessible for first-time founders
- We helped our portfolio companies raise over $400 million in follow-on funding
But most importantly, we further developed our community and built even stronger bonds as one Dorm Room Fund family.
This post is dedicated to our graduating partners who have made Dorm Room Fund the best place for students founders to start a company. We are incredibly grateful for your hard work and your contributions to the organization. Thank you for creating the strongest community of entrepreneurial students.
You’ve made a profound impact on the Dorm Room Fund community for life. The Dorm Room Fund community and the First Round team will always be here for you as you start your careers and as you continue to further your work in entrepreneurship.
Rei, Phin, and the First Round team
Erin Booth: Erin will be graduating with her MBA from Stanford. Given her experience in startups and venture she consistently provided constructive feedback for every partner’s investment perspective. Erin will be missed for her clear and insightful investment theses and her passion for HQ Trivia, which often inspired a second-wind across the team. We’re looking forward to exciting stories from her next adventure.
Davey Bloom: Building on two years as a partner on the Bay Area team, Davey will continue to pursue his interest in venture capital as an investor at Global Founders Capital. Davey has been a leader in the Berkeley startup community and looks forward to continuing to help entrepreneurs build companies. Davey is excited to live in the SF and will continue to be an active member of the DRF community.
Josh Ephraim: Josh is graduating from Berkeley with his JD/MBA, after serving this past year as co-managing partner. Josh was instrumental in fostering entrepreneurship at Berkeley in many ways, including creating Medium posts on blockchain, ICOs, and campus resources for entrepreneurs. Josh is joining Gunderson Dettmer to practice startup law, where we’re confident he’ll keep going the extra mile in supporting entrepreneurs.
Jamie Macfarlane: Jamie was extremely proactive at building Dorm Room Fund’s brand on the Stanford campus, and sourcing the best deals from among his business school peers. He has seen the power of Dorm Room Fund, backing great entrepreneurs at an early stage, and wants to bring this model back to Europe to support the next great generation of founders across the continent. He will be launching Fresher Ventures, the first pan-European student VC over the summer.
Jeff Oldenburg: Jeff is graduating with his MBA from Berkeley, as he prepares to start a search fund. Jeff brought specialized and extensive experience in finance to the DRF community, making him an invaluable coach to student founders and DRF partners. Working with Jeff over the past year has been an amazing experience and we can’t wait to hear updates about his search fund!
Ben Penchas: As co-managing partner for the past year, Ben has been integral part of the DRF community, and will be pursuing his passion for novel applications of AI by working as a machine learning engineer at Landing.ai. He will also be finishing up his master’s degree in CS at Stanford. Ben is looking forward to exploring more of the Bay Area and meeting more people in the startup ecosystem.
Josh Tobin: Josh is graduating with his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Berkeley, where he was the team’s go-to partner whenever we had any technical question. He’ll continue to pursue his interest in AI/Robotics at OpenAI. We will miss Josh’s insightful reminders about reflecting on DRF’s investment philosophy when making tough investment decisions and his leadership during conference call audio/video crises.
Catherine Xu: Cat is graduating from Stanford and will be joining Google as an Associate Product Manager. She has been very active at DRF, including leading the first Bay Area DRF summer team, mentoring new DRF partners and student founders, and contributing as a thought leader to diversity in entrepreneurship at both DRF and Stanford. We’re looking forward to Cat’s continued leadership as a DRF alum.
Kelsey Bishop: Kelsey is graduating from Boston College and will be joining Omni’s Growth team. Kelsey’s tireless commitment to the DRF community always stood out as she turned All DRF into a retreat into the woods, grew out the entrepreneurial community at BC, and championed our first diversity and inclusion efforts. We’ll miss the energy that she brought to the team and hearing about her study abroad trips across Portugal!
Nathaniel Brooks-Horwitz: Nathaniel is on leave from Harvard to work on his company, Nivien Therapeutics, to enhance effectiveness of cancer frontline treatments. He’s changed the way DRF invests, shifting our portfolio from one with effectively 0 investments in biotech to one that includes C16 Bio, NERv, BioBot Analytics, Reverie Labs, and more. While we’ll deeply miss the critical insights and lightness he brought to every meeting — he once improvised a lightning talk on the emotional and psychological benefits of pilates — we’re excited to see what’s next for him.
Bryan Giudicelli: Bryan is graduating with his MBA from from MIT Sloan. He’ll be joining FoxRock Properties while also working as Managing Partner of his fund, Four Score Capital, to invest in commercial real estate technology companies. From always looking like he had just come from golfing to passionately advocating for companies, Bryan brought a unique energy and insights to the team that kept us going even when we were on our second or third pitch of the night. We wish him the best!
Joe Kahn: After a year of serving as Managing Partner, Joe is graduating from Harvard. He’ll be building on his experience starting his first company, Slide, to scale patient advocacy as CEO of Karuna Health. Joe has grown the team so much since joining DRF; he spearheaded our first diversity and inclusion efforts and worked with Lisette to make the experience for companies as streamlined as possible. We will dearly miss his genuine investment in other partners’ personal growth, passion for feedback, and clear glasses frames.
Mikal Khoso: Mikal is graduating from Northeastern to join the investing team at Wavemaker Partners. He brought in a wealth of experience from his time at Underscore VC while also integrating his thoughtfulness about philosophy, economics, and crypto into discussions. Mikal was our resident Stoic, and we’ll miss his optimism when we shared our highs and lows of the week as a team.
Yasyf Mohamedali: Yasyf is graduating with his Master’s from MIT in Computer Science after serving as both Managing Partner and then Head of Engineering on the team. Yasyf shaped Dorm Room Fund into what it is today, building out VCWiz to democratize capital and internal tools to streamline our workflows so we could talk to even more companies. We can’t wait to continue celebrating his birthday at every DRF event (whether it actually is his birthday or not), even though he’s likely to miss his flight getting there! We look forward to his next journey working on Karuna Health as CTO.
Kate Murdock: Kate is graduating from Northeastern to join the investing team at Openview. Kate oversaw the growth of the DRF Boston team as she was one of the partners on the first team. She’s been a wonderful addition to DRF; she’s largely responsible for the growth of entrepreneurship at Northeastern, and she’s remained an engaged alumna ever since. We wish her the best in her new role!
Phoebe Peronto: Phoebe is graduating with her MBA from Harvard Business School to join the Salesforce’s corporate venture arm. She brought in such a valuable and experienced perspective from her time at GV, and we’re sorry to see her leave the team. Best of luck with everything!
Isabelle Phelps: Isabelle is graduating with her MBA from MIT Sloan. Isabelle was unmatched at sourcing companies — within her first couple of weeks, she worked with Bryan to compile a list of 100+ startups at Sloan. She also spearheaded a mentorship program for our companies and served as Managing Partner for our first NYC summer investment team. We’ll miss her sharp insights during pitches and the warmth she brought to the community, and we’re excited to see her continue her thoughtful investments in consumer technology at Lerer Hippeau.
Riley Soward: After joining the team as a freshman and concluding his term as Managing Partner, Riley is graduating from Boston College. Riley led the team with Yasyf with an efficiency and efficacy that dramatically increased the outcomes of DRF. His perspective as an entrepreneur — his last company, Campus Insights, has since been acquired — has been incredibly useful as we assessed different companies. We’re excited to see his next adventure in San Francisco!
Lisette Tellez: After a year of serving as Managing Partner, Lisette graduated from MIT in December. We look forward to seeing her on the investing team at Ocean Azul Partners. Lisette was an extraordinary addition to the team; she worked with Joe to streamline the investment process for companies, led the team with remarkable energy, and somehow knows everyone in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Boston. Although she wore shorts no matter how cold it was outside and made us feel unathletic as she did crossfit and competed in varsity volleyball, we’ll truly miss Lisette!
Mike Annunziata: Mike is equal parts investor and entrepreneur. By day, he’s helping make Dorm Room Fund a household name at Cornell. By night, he’s running Farther Farms, an innovative food processing company backed by Dorm Room Fund. Mike’s dualistic insights were crucial in helping us find and back great founders in the past year. We were incredibly excited to see Farther Farms raise a seed round from great investors, but not at all surprised. We look forward to buying our Farther Farms produce!
Udit Jain: Udit’s commitment to supporting great founders is unwavering. A Yale student, Udit led the the most number of investments on the team, helping support ambitious teams as they went from dorm room musings to multi-million dollar valuations. Udit’s incredibly sharp insights during pitch meetings in conjunction with his fund-wide investment analysis have left a lasting impression on Dorm Room Fund’s overall philosophy. We know that casting off his entrepreneurial roots is out of the question, so we’re extremely excited to see Udit continue working on Snackpass, a DRF & First Round company, as CTO.
Zach Liu: We’re often asked about how we’ve managed to successfully scale Dorm Room Fund; this semester, Zach has been a force of nature in improving our firm-wide platform and enabling our growth. As one of the minds behind DRF’s engineering, Zach helped build the application process enabling student founders to pitch DRF remotely. In addition, Zach’s ushered in data-driven and automated processes by improving Votebot and leading our top-secret project, Magic Wand. A soon-to-be Princeton graduate, Zach will be working on self-driving cars(!) at Nuro. We’re hoping he’ll let us sit inside one of them.
Nashilu Mouen-Makoua: If you run into one of our founders, don’t be surprised if you end up listening to them rave about Nash. Having served the NYU entrepreneurship ecosystem for well over a year, Nash is graduating with an MBA from NYU Stern. She’s been a great spokesperson for Dorm Room Fund, attending pitch competitions and participating in VC panels on behalf of the fund. Post-graduation, she’ll be sticking around to join our very own First Round Capital!
Andrew Ng: An entrepreneur by training, Andrew has lended a helping hand to too many student founders to count — veterans and first-timers alike. From offering YC practice interviews to providing in-depth technical advice, Andrew’s been a steadfast supporter of founders both at Princeton and beyond. We’re looking forward to hearing about his work when he joins SignalFire after graduation!
Sara Sakowitz: At heart, Sara is an entrepreneur. While at Columbia, Sara founded Blue Moon Box, an e-commerce company that builds educational products for aspiring young engineers and scientists. She’s had an outsized impact on Columbia’s entrepreneurship because of her immense empathy for student entrepreneurs, which manifests itself in her work on CORE, Columbia’s entrepreneurship club, and Almaworks, Columbia’s incubator. We’re excited to see Sara begin work on Bite, her new venture!
Monica Shi: Monica took up the mantle as managing partner this year, and helped lead the team through crucial investments while supporting our great founders all the while. A Princetonian through and through, Monica led HackPrinceton, one of the biggest university-focused hackathons in the country. Though we’re worried that we won’t be able to figure out how to use Bluejeans without her, we’re extremely excited to see what business school she attends after McKinsey!
Sweyn Venderbush: Sweyn’s immense dedication to Dorm Room Fund spans three years. Having led the team as managing partner and having contributed to numerous DRF success stories, Sweyn has been a peerless advocate for student entrepreneurs. A graduate of Yale, Sweyn will be joining Google as an Associate Product Manager. While we’ll miss his sharp insights, infectious sense of humor, and keen sense of style, we’re excited to see what he works on next.
Lilly Wyden: Over the last year and a half, Lilly has helped shape the direction of Dorm Room Fund’s investment thesis. Her astute contributions to our investment discussions as well as her previous investing experience made her an invaluable member of the team. A champion of our diversity efforts, Lilly co-authored our forthcoming firm-wide diversity report (keep an eye out for it!). Now that she’s graduated with an MBA from Columbia Business School, we can’t wait to hear about what she does next!
Priyadarshini Banerjee: Priya is graduating with her MBA from Wharton and will be heading to Singapore to join Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s new venture fund B Capital Group. Priya brought an experienced investor’s perspective into our partner meetings, and helped plan our annual All DRF partner summit (best weekend of the year!). We wish Priya the best as she takes the next step in her career in Southeast Asia!
Trent Buezli: Trent is graduating from Wharton and has been on the DRF team for 2 years. He has an incredible amount of humility and empathy so it’s no surprise that every member on the team and all the founders he’s worked with enjoy his presence. We’ll really miss Trent (especially at next year’s dodgeball tournament at All DRF) and we wish him the best as he joins Insight Venture Partners.
Christine Esserman: Christine is graduating from Wharton and has been on the DRF team for 3 years. She brings thoughtful and honest comments to every meeting, and we’ll certainly miss her sense of humor. Christine stepped up as our managing partner, and we’re lucky to have had her in our corner. We’re all looking forward to the amazing work she’ll do at Accel!
Nick Kim: Nick is graduating with his MBA from Wharton. Anyone who’s met Nick can tell you that he was born to be an entrepreneur. He built his moving logistics startup Walnut in his time at DRF, and always brought the perspective of a battle-tested founder into our pitch meetings. We will miss his fantastic energy, sharp sense of humor, and tough questions. We wish Nick the best of luck in his angel investments and operating partnerships, as well as an easy move to Los Angeles!
Matt Klein: Matt is graduating with his MBA from Wharton. Matt’s down-to-earth personality makes him one of the easiest people to get along with, and we will miss his never-ending enthusiasm. We wish him the best as he returns to Los Angeles to join growth equity firm Arrowroot Capital.
David Ongchoco: David joined DRF as the first head of marketing. As an investment partner, he led the expansion of DRF to reach schools all over the U.S. David also started Youthack, an organization that supports startup founders from Philly to Manilla. We’re excited to see him join Learn Capital and we’ll greatly miss his passion for supporting founders.
Matt Wachter: Matt has been on the DRF team for 3 years and in that time he’s backed dozens of founders. Everyone on the team will miss his thoughtful leadership as a managing partner, as well as his obsessive love for Asian fusion food. We’re proud to see Matt continue supporting awesome companies at General Atlantic in New York.