Graduating Partners: What’s Next?

Dorm Room Fund

Good Luck to our 2019 Class of Graduating Partners

Here at Dorm Room Fund, our incredible community is our special sauce. And our student partners are the pillars that make this community possible: it’s their hustle, deep belief in our founders and grit that has created this tight-knit family and catalyst for industry-changing student startups. DRF’s culture is reinforced each and every day by our partners’ shared commitment to each other, to our founders, and to our mission to invest in the strongest community of entrepreneurial students.

Thanks to this team’s characteristic hustle, this year has been a big one in the 6+ year history of our fund. We’ve hit some blockbuster milestones. We:

  • Hired a new executive team, welcoming Molly Fowler and Chauncey Hamilton into the DRF family.
  • Launched the Blueprint Project, a masterclass aimed at empowering founders of color.
  • Expanded Female Founder Track to New York City after a successful first cohort in San Francisco to be the change we want to see in empowering more female entrepreneurs.
  • Started investing out of our third fund, Dorm Room Fund III, 100% backed by First Round.
  • And continued to invest in the best and brightest community of student founders, backing 59 companies over the last school year.

With these accomplishments, Dorm Room Fund has a lot to celebrate — but this time of year is always bittersweet as we watch our graduating partners receive their diplomas and pack up their dorm rooms for the last time.

To our graduating partners: what a profound impact you’ve had on our fund, our founders, and on our entire team. You’ve been culture-setters and role models, and we cannot wait to see what you do next. It has been an honor to work alongside you. We are there with you every step of the way as you go off to change the world, and cannot wait to have you join the ranks of DRF’s killer alumni. Thank you for trusting us to carry on the organization, and for making Dorm Room Fund the best place for student entrepreneurship. #DRF4Life ❤️

We’re super proud of our newest DRF alums — so please forgive us while we brag for a moment about the trails they’ve blazed and what they’re up to next.

Adam Brudnick

Adam is graduating from Berkeley with his MBA, where he immersed himself in the startup world. In addition to finding the best startups at Cal for DRF to invest in, Adam worked to create those startups by founding Berkeley StEP, an innovative pre-accelerator that has already formed more than 20 new teams — several of which are already in our investment pipeline. At DRF he was a go-to partner on all things ‘Frontier Tech,’ and loves startups that are profitable for both the firms and the world. Adam is joining Google in the Alphabet BizOps team, where we’re confident he’ll thrive in supporting their most innovative projects.

Albert Dong

After joining the team as our first Design Partner in 2017, Albert graduated from Brown and is joining TTYL as their very first product designer. Last year, he spent his time growing our HQ team and building MagicWand, our comprehensive internal platform for tracking and researching investment decisions. His proudest accomplishment, though, is helping recruit the next-generation of uber-talented engineers and marketers into the DRF community. He’s excited to explore the LA tech ecosystem after graduation. If you’re a student entrepreneur there, hit him up!

Alex Immerman

Alex Immerman graduated with his MBA from Harvard Business School and is joining Andreessen Horowitz as a partner on the firm’s new late stage investing team. Alex served on the DRF Boston team for the last two years, with the latest as a Managing Partner. Alex will be missed for his willingness to voice his opinions, to ask hard questions and debate, and for his insistence on having fun.

Amulya Kandikonda

Amulya graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University and will be joining the Data Ethics team at Liveramp. She’ll miss the family she’s met through the college entrepreneurship community, both while leading Almaworks, Columbia’s accelerator, as well as during her time as an investment partner at DRF — though she’s counting on seeing lots of DRFers as an alumna in San Francisco!

Andrew Briggs

Andrew graduated from Berkeley with his MBA and will join Airbnb as a Product Manager in San Francisco. Andrew served this past year as a Managing Partner on our San Fracisco team, and is looking forward to his continued involvement in the DRF community as an active alumnus.

Anna Kazlauskas

Anna joined Dorm Room Fund her senior year at MIT. She graduated with a double major in CS and Economics. She spent the majority of her time at Dorm Room Fund helping technical founders with improving their non-technical skills. She will be in San Francisco working with Celo as a software engineer.

Athena Kan

Athena graduated from Harvard after having served as a Managing Partner of the Boston team. She’ll be in San Francisco working on her own company to fix the labor market.

Ben Draa

Ben is graduating with his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. After graduation, Ben plans to take some time off to relax and do as much yoga and reading as possible before marrying his high school sweetheart.

Casey Chow

Casey graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Computer Science and will be working at a startup in Portland, Oregon. While with Dorm Room Fund, Casey served as an engineer-in-residence on our HQ team, building Magic Wand, DRF’s internal platform for tracking and researching investment decisions.

Courtney Andrews

Passionate about continuing her growth in the tech space, Courtney was honored to serve as Managing Partner for the New York team and as co-founder of the Blueprint Project, a series aimed at empowering diverse, underrepresented founders to raise institutional capital. She continues to be inspired by products, entrepreneurs, and venture theory around her and is actively finding ways to share her knowledge in the space with female and diverse founders. After graduating with her MBA from Columbia Business School, Courtney is joining the Public Connections product team at Facebook.

Haywood L. Perry III

Haywood was the first Divinity student hired in DRF’s history. A consummate bridge-builder and dot-connector, he became known for creating a presence that invited our founders to intimately share. Haywood leveraged his DRF experience advising Yale’s Startup & Nonprofit Accelerators, and channeled his lived experience as a Black Queer man, to support the launch of DRF’s Blueprint Project, a masterclass series for diverse, underrepresented founders. Haywood also joined HBCU.vc as a faculty member for their national summit and judged pitch competitions across the country. Haywood will now be making his Bay Area debut, serving as a Summer Associate at Kapor Capital in Oakland.

Karina Akib

Karina graduated with her MBA from MIT Sloan. She’ll be continuing as co-founder of her startup, Carocare, a platform that helps new parents access and coordinate care, focusing on the time after birth and transitioning back to work. Karina will be missed at DRF for her focus on supporting and advocating for female founders, building the founder community in Boston, and making sure the team invests in companies that drive growth and impact.

Karthik Menta

Karthik graduated with his MBA from Cornell Johnson and Cornell Tech and will be working at Omni as a PM intern. Deeply passionate about entrepreneurship and founder diversity, he advised founders across industries from VR to biotech at critical junctures, helped them raise capital, and bolstered DRF’s work to support female founders. Karthik will be missed for his deep commitment to DRF and unique product perspective at meetings. Although we love his evergreen D2C avocado startup idea, we’re more excited to see what’s next for him as he explores building products at the intersection of deep tech and social entrepreneurship.

Lily Peng

Lily graduated with her MBA from Harvard Business School and is returning to the Bay Area. She will continue working on her restaurant investment ventures and will also be joining Earnin as a Senior Product Manager to build products that bring fairness to the financial world. For those visiting or based in San Francisco, she recommends joining her fellow DRFers in stopping by Westwood, the newest and biggest country bar in SF, and for those in Palo Alto, stopping by Taro San Japanese Noodle Bar for some fresh udon noodles and delicious izakayas!

Mario Ruiz

Mario graduated this Spring with his MBA from Yale. Along with his role as a Managing Partner of the New York team, he also co-founded and co-led the Blueprint Project to help support diverse, underrepresented founders. This summer, he will be joining PayPal’s venture team in San Jose where he will oversee FinTech investments in the U.S. and internationally.

Matthew Mizbani

Matt graduated from Wharton undergrad after two years with DRF. In that time he’s been involved with shaping the team’s crypto thesis and redesigning parts of the team’s recruiting process. Matt will be missed for his willingness to make his voice heard at pitch meetings and to ask tough questions to get to ground truth about companies and founders. Matt is joining Morgan Stanley’s Technology Investment Banking group in Menlo Park.

Mina Iskarous

Mina graduated from Northeastern with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in BioEngineering. After getting exposure to the best student founders through Dorm Room Fund, he has decided to join a stealth, early-stage healthcare venture in Boston. He is looking forward to building products just as much as he is looking forward to building teams and culture at this new company.

Qin En Looi

Qin En graduated from Stanford in Management Science & Engineering, having completed his undergraduate education in just 2 years! Over his 1.5 years at Dorm Room Fund, Qin En brought his critical thinking skills to the team, and served as the team treasurer. He will be returning to Southeast Asia, where he aspires to build his next startup, and will be joining Boston Consulting Group.

Shawn Xu

Shawn graduated from the MBA/MA International Studies dual-degree program at the Wharton School and the Lauder Institute, and will soon be joining the investment team at Floodgate. Shawn concluded his term at the fund as one of the Philadelphia team’s Managing Partners. While in DRF, Shawn has advanced our understanding of how student entrepreneurship is evolving. Behind closed doors, we call Shawn the “Nice Guy VC” for his knack for building relationships with founders. We will miss his infectious optimism, thoughtful pep talks, and network!

Will Nichols

Will graduated with his MBA from NYU Stern and will remain in New York to join the investment team at FJ Labs, a VC and startup builder focused on online marketplaces. He will continue to build on the foundation he built at Dorm Room Fund over the past two years, staying plugged into the early stage startup ecosystem in NYC.

Will Manidis

After joining the team as a freshman and concluding his term as Managing Partner, Will left Olin College to start Cascade Bio, a DRF-backed company. Will will continue his role as co-founder of Cascade, hoping to grow it to be a premiere biotech company in Boston. Will was recently named to the 2019 Class of Thiel Fellows.

Yanika Magan

Yanika graduated from UC Berkeley having studied Political Science and Economics. At Berkeley, Yanika was involved in a variety of student organizations including the ASUC Student Legal Clinic, a student-run non-profit called Project Rishi, and the co-ed entrepreneurship fraternity Sigma Eta Pi. Upon joining DormRoomFund in the fall of 2017, Yanika spent her time connecting with student entrepreneurs passionate about tackling challenging problems. Yanika will continue to explore her interests in fintech, specifically within real estate investment tech, at Juniper Square on the product operations team. She looks forward to continuing to meet ambitious entrepreneurs in San Fransisco and spending more time with fellow DRFers as an alumna.

Yoni Dejene

Yoni graduated from Wharton with concentrations in Statistics, Operations and a minor in CS. He’ll be working on his company Alama, which trains Africa’s top software engineering talent and connects them with startups looking for engineering talent. Hit him up on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/yonidejene/) if you’re looking for engineers!

Zann Ali

Zann graduated with his MBA from MIT Sloan. During his two years on the team, Zann sourced dozens of companies across myriad verticals — everything from medical devices to blockchain to consumer marketplaces. His jack-of-all-trades skill set paired with sharp insights during pitch meetings helped us back some of the strongest teams across the Boston entrepreneurial ecosystem. We’ll also miss Zann’s sense of humor and infectious smile. We’re excited to follow Zann’s next step at 2048 Ventures in New York, where he’s continuing to be a first-check investor in teams that are redefining categories and building game-changing businesses.

Zoe Lu

Zoe graduated last December from MIT with double major in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering — Product Development after serving two years at DRF — first as an Investment Partner and then as a Managing Partner on the Boston team. She joined Two Sigma full-time as a Product Manager in Platform Engineering this February, where she is excited to leverage resources from Two Sigma Ventures and the First Round and DRF community to stay active in the entrepreneurial and VC world.

Dorm Room Fund

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