Move-In Day — Meet Dorm Room Fund’s New Partners

Dorm Room Fund
Nov 20 · 20 min read

In August, we put out a call for new partners to join the Dorm Room Fund team. A few weeks later, we received 900+ applications — nearly twice the number of applications we got last year!

With hundreds of applications, the selection process was no easy feat. After countless coffee chats and a slew of super days, we are stoked to announce the 37 new members of the Dorm Room Fund family!

This fall’s rigorous application process resulted in an acceptance rate of less than 4% —on par with some of the most selective schools in the country. We’re also extremely proud to share that over 40% of our investment team members are women, over 4-times the VC industry average of 9%.

Our new partners come from a variety of backgrounds — from serial founders to former professional soccer players. They are all united by their passion for helping student entrepreneurs succeed.

We are especially excited about the 6 new members to our ever-expanding HQ team, who are focusing on supporting our community companies, creating content and internal tools, and making Dorm Room Fund more accessible to student founders across the country!

Are you a student working on the next game-changing startup? Apply to Dorm Room Fund here and one of our investment team members will follow up shortly to hear more about what you are working on.

In the meantime, read on below to get to know the newest DRF members in the Bay Area, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and our remote HQ team!

Bay Area

Andy Chen

Andy is a first-year MBA/MEng (bioengineering) student at UC Berkeley. He is a physician-entrepreneur working to make a significant impact on human health and well being. Before graduate school, Andy was a trained physician, co-founder of a medical device startup, and associate at a health tech VC. In addition to being a Dorm Room Fund partner, he is a Venture Fellow in Berkeley SkyDeck and Haas Venture Fellow. Andy received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan. He enjoys playing basketball and reading with a good cup of coffee.

Isabelle Zhou

Isabelle is a junior at Stanford studying symbolic systems with a concentration in human-computer interaction. Prior to joining Dorm Room Fund, she worked as an investor at Two Sigma Ventures, an investment fellow at Pear VC, and a software developer at Amazon. Isabelle is currently incubating a community initiative that empowers female founders; she also closely follows trends and developments in the B2F (business-to-female) space. Outside of her passion for closing the gender gap, Isabelle is interested in intelligent automation and the future of work. In her free time, she loves to solo travel, binge watch MasterChef, and jam to Taylor Swift.

Jessica Leão

Jessica is a first-year MBA student at Stanford. Previously, Jessica worked in product strategy at Palantir, developing the launch strategy for their flagship product’s newest upgrade with AI capabilities. During the summer prior to the GSB, she worked at Fortress Investment Group as an associate in their IP private equity and venture debt group. Jessica received her BA from Yale University in American studies in the technology and computer science track, studying data privacy and social networks. She is originally from Salvador, Brazil and in her spare time loves spending time with her dog, throwing dinner parties, and reading the whole internet.

John Forbes

John is a freshman at UC Berkeley studying cognitive science and developing interests in climate change and entrepreneurship. Prior to DRF, he built startups including a t-shirt company and a wellness app as well as working with SnapMD as a BD intern through their Series B. John has also been a live musician for over 10 years — performing over 100 times at places from America’s Got Talent auditions and Hollywood clubs to shows at “The Lighthouse Cafe”. John spends his free time learning everything he can, engaging in philosophical discussions, and reminiscing about his Model UN days.

Kerry Omughelli

Kerry is a first-year MBA student at Stanford. Previously, Kerry worked as an automation engineer in the energy industry designing systems and facilities to operate smarter and safer without human intervention. Kerry also founded and operated a nonprofit focused on STEM education in Africa called Grow with Nigeria. Kerry graduated from Texas A&M University with a BSc in Electrical Engineering. He is originally from Lagos, Nigeria and enjoys watching theater, playing futbol, and reading sci-fi fantasy novels.

Medha Kothari

Medha Kothari is a fourth-year computer science student at UC Berkeley. She has dedicated the last 3 years of her life to understanding blockchain technology and has co-founded she256, a 501c3 nonprofit aimed at increasing diversity and breaking down barriers to entry in the blockchain space. Previously, she interned as a software engineer for Celo, a crypto startup focusing on financial inclusion in emerging markets, and for SAP’s Innovation Center in Palo Alto. On campus, she led the consulting arm of Blockchain @ Berkeley. She enjoys painting, trying new foods, dancing, going to concerts, and exploring new places.

Shiroy Aspandiar

Shiroy is a first-year MBA student at Berkeley Haas pursuing interests in venture capital, entrepreneurship, and blockchain. He has a passion for educational equity and taught for four years through Teach For America, later serving as a Dean of Instruction at KIPP. Immediately prior to Haas, he co-founded One Jump, a platform dedicated to closing the opportunity gap for low-income students, and Impact Hub Houston, one of a hundred globally connected hubs supporting social entrepreneurs. In his spare time, he loves to bake, explore new cities, and talk about all things psychology, philosophy, and religion.

Shreyas Parab

Shreyas is a sophomore at Stanford studying biomedical computation. Prior to joining Dorm Room Fund, Shreyas worked at Rock Ventures, the parent company of companies like QuickenLoans, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dictionary.com, StockX, and more! He worked on the Special Projects team, a group of operators that work directly with the chairman to implement crazy, cutting-edge ideas into the portfolio. Prior to RV, he worked at QuickenLoans and StartUpHealth, an early-stage healthcare VC. He is an avid juggler & street performer, reformed tie salesman, blogger on regulating artificial intelligence, and a former beekeeper.

Boston

Alex Wendland

Alex is a senior at Harvard studying computer science. He took 2 years off from college to cofound and serve as CTO at a digital therapeutics company called Luminopia. Outside of healthcare, he’s worked at several startups in cybersecurity (FireEye), encrypted file sharing (Keybase), and privacy regulation (Transcend). At school, he works with Harvard Women in Computer Science and would love to chat about striving to be a better ally!

Andrew Walsh

Andrew is a first-year MBA student at Harvard Business School. Before HBS he worked for 5 years at Bessemer Venture Partners where he focused on consumer products and services as well as enterprise software from seed to growth. He is passionate about working with founders who are taking unconventional approaches to solving hard problems. Andrew holds an AB from Harvard College where he studied economics and neurobiology. In his spare time, he loves skiing, exploring restaurants (recommendations welcome!), and rooting for all of his favorite Boston sports teams.

Angela Winegar

Angela is in her second of three years pursuing a joint MBA and Master of Public Policy at the Harvard Business & Kennedy schools. She worked as a Summer Associate at Norwest Venture Partners and pursued research in consumer tech policy, fintech, and defense tech during her first year at the Harvard Kennedy School. Before school, Angela served as Chief Marketing Officer of Freshly Picked, a digitally native baby & motherhood retail brand, where she was responsible for all growth and digital initiatives. Prior to that, she worked in corporate strategy at Pluralsight (pre-IPO) and as a consultant at Bain & Company focused on growth strategy for tech clients. Angela is originally from Mesa, Arizona, holds a BS in economics from Brigham Young University, and enjoys hiking, skiing and snowboarding, and traveling.

Ashley Aydin

Ashley is a first-year MBA student at MIT Sloan where she came to pursue her interest in entrepreneurship. Prior to Sloan, she was on Estee Lauder’s Global Omnichannel & Online Strategy team. She has also worked at Saks Fifth Avenue, e-commerce startup Shoptiques.com, and Morgan Stanley. Aside from spending her free time living and breathing anything and everything consumer, she is focused on expanding a women’s entrepreneurship network she co-founded — Lady Launchers. Ashley is originally from Staten Island, New York and holds a BA in economics from Brown University.

Jason Seibel

Jason is a senior at MIT studying electrical engineering and computer science. In the past, he has been a co-founder of two startups, one of which was an MIT Solver. He worked as a researcher at the MIT Media Lab on improving political engagement and at MIT CSAIL on autonomous cars. Jason has had internship opportunities at Dollar Shave Club, Thunkable, and Uber ATG. At school, he was a HackMIT organizer, a member of the Institute Committee on the Undergraduate Program, and was the chair of UA Special Projects. He enjoys cooking, music (percussionist), philosophy, and hacking.

Loewen Cavill

Loewen is a senior at MIT studying mechanical engineering with robotics and minoring in computer science. Her research work has focused on technologies to decrease the cost of solar panels, creating biomaterials for architecture and modeling theoretical energy storage requirements. She worked as a hardware engineer at an AV startup called Optimus Ride, as a manufacturing engineer for jet engines at GE, and is working on high-speed levitation vehicles with the MIT Hyperloop Team. While working at Bessemer Venture Partners she focused on frontier tech, robotics, and brain-computer interface technologies. Loewen loves wood carving, talking about cattle farming, and running.

Michael Truell

Michael is a sophomore at MIT studying computer science. In the past, he’s worked on AI at Google, IBM Research, and MIT CSAIL. He built halite.io as a SWE intern for two summers at Two Sigma. Now, Michael leverages his deep learning experience and wet lab skillset to perform computational chemistry research at the Broad Institute (Regev Lab). In the near future, Michael wants to work on therapeutics at a biotech startup.

Sarah Moseson

Sarah is a junior at MIT studying business analytics and international development. She is one of the leaders of MIT’s undergraduate entrepreneurship club, StartLabs, and is a member of MIT’s varsity soccer team. This past summer she was a True Ventures Fellow working with True Ventures and a high-growth start-up in True’s portfolio, Better Place Forests. She is very interested in wearable tech, innovation in food, and bio-hacking. Sarah is extremely excited to be part of Dorm Room Fund to help provide student entrepreneurs with resources to make their ideas a reality.

HQ

Alexander Becker

Alex is an MBA student at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, unabashed history nerd, and marketing enthusiast. Prior to Tuck, Alex helped grow the Product Marketing team at Catalant Technologies, a Boston-based enterprise SaaS company, and began his career working with early-stage technology companies at Silicon Valley Bank. Alex is fascinated by the future of work and enterprise technology, and passionate about expanding access to opportunities in tech within underserved communities. Outside of work you can find Alex whitewater kayaking, sneaking into lectures for fun, and exploring local diners. Alex holds a BA in History from Dartmouth College, where he focused on the history of technology and U.S. corporate innovation.

Andy Reed

Andy is currently a senior at the University of Michigan studying business and UX design. He is also an Entrepreneurs Leadership Program fellow. Prior to joining Dorm Room Fund, Andy was a Product Content Strategist Intern at Airbnb and a Product and Support Strategist Intern at Virtru, an email encryption startup in Washington, D.C. He also has contributed to several publications on campus, including Wolverine Blockchain and Wolverine Cuizine. Outside of design and writing, Andy is a huge soccer fan, advocate for environmental sustainability, and a lover of the great outdoors.

Arun Kirubarajan

Arun is currently a student at the University of Pennsylvania studying computer science and cognitive science, where he researches machine learning (NLP) and teaches one of the computer sciences courses. Before joining Dorm Room Fund, Arun was an Expert in Residence at the Wharton School, helping baby startups take their first steps. Arun previously worked on location intelligence at Foursquare and is an incoming intern at Bridgewater Associates. Outside of computer science, Arun likes brewing coffee, playing Super Smash Brothers and riding his skateboard.

Kanwar Sahdra

Kanwar is a computer science student at Western University. Prior to joining Dorm Room Fund, he took a year off school to work on product and engineering at Republic, a fintech startup spun out of AngelList. Before that, he helped work on an attempt at developing the world’s first vaccine for Hepatitis C at the University of Toronto. Outside of tech, Kanwar loves to box, do improv comedy, and read.

Meryl Breidbart

Meryl is an MBA candidate at the Yale School of Management focusing on entrepreneurship and venture capital. Prior to joining Dorm Room Fund, Meryl founded Chirps, an insect-based snack company, for which she serves as Creative Director. She has also worked with several other startups on brand and brand strategy and is excited to continue to do so with the DRF community. Outside of her love for brand and brand strategy, Meryl loves to bake and hang out with her husband, Sam, and dog, Moses.

Zain Khoja

Zain is currently a student at Cornell studying information science. Most recently, he was a Systems Design Intern at GitHub. This upcoming summer, he’ll be a Product Design Intern at Instagram. At Cornell, Zain is part of Cornell AppDev, an engineering project team that creates apps for the student body and local community. When he’s free, Zain enjoys drinking sweet tea, rooting for the Dallas Mavericks, and talking nonstop about Texas.

New York

Brent Willess

Brent is a first-year MBA student at Yale focused on tech and entrepreneurship. Prior to school, he was at Uber for six years and saw the company grow from 400 to 20k+ employees. He worked in product development and strategy and most recently helped launch a new team out of Uber’s Incubator focused on integrating ride-hailing, bikes, and scooters with public transit. Brent is originally from Virginia and graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in finance. He loves traveling with his wife, Lily, and is an avid open-water swimmer, having swum across the English Channel in 2019.

Chris Shei

Chris is an aspiring renaissance man currently pursuing his M.Eng in computer science at Cornell Tech. Previously he was the Head of Developer Relations at Jet.com and was also on the founding team of WayUp (YC’15). A dedicated lifelong learner, Chris enjoys exploring and understanding new technologies including blockchain, ML, and AR/VR. When not hacking away on personal projects, Chris can be found boxing, traveling, playing poker, and pursuing whatever other activities happen to interest him at the time. In his free time, Chris writes about his thoughts on living a fun and interesting life on his blog Bespoke Life.

David Dellal

David is a second-year PhD student in biomedical engineering at the Yale School of Medicine. He has worked on several MedTech ventures and projects, as well as previously conducted research on bolstering innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems. He is the inaugural Director of Entrepreneurship for the Yale Business Society where he is building a coalition to develop the Yale startup scene. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Floe, an early stage Cleantech startup. Originally from NYC, he holds a BS in mechanical engineering from MIT. In his spare time, he loves skiing, cooking, and discovering classic films.

Havi Nguyen

Havi Nguyen is a sophomore at Columbia University studying computer science. She has a love for building products and design. Previously, Havi has interned as a Product Manager at Dow Jones. As a first-generation student, she’s passionate about equality in accessing tech education through connecting young female students to mentorship at Built By Girls and teaching programming classes to underrepresented students at Google. On campus, Havi is part of Columbia’s Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE). In her free time, Havi enjoys FaceTiming her little sisters back in Texas, picking up random instruments (currently the ukulele), and amateur photography.

Isabel Sheinman

Isabel is a first-year MBA at the NYU Stern School of Business, focused on entrepreneurship, media & entertainment, and venture capital. Prior to school, Isabel co-created NABU, a nonprofit built to solve the imbalance in children’s book creation and distribution globally. Her role was multi-faceted but centered around resourcing the organization with funds, partners and community. Isabel spent months at a time in Rwanda and Haiti as the organization built its regional offices and now serves on the Board of Directors as a strategic advisor. She is also on the Advisory Board of BYkids and No Longer Empty, as well as serving as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper Community, leading a team in developing multicultural children’s books for New York’s public libraries and schools. Isabel is a born-and-bred New Yorker, with a BA in philosophy and psychology from Georgetown and a love of cooking, eating, traveling any and everywhere, hiking, and yoga.

Lola Lafia

Lola Lafia is a sophomore at Columbia. While her interests are dynamic and variable, they currently include food tech, green tech, clean tech; the power of platform technology to empower individuals through the sharing economy; design, photography, and using art to transcend boundaries between people… and more. She previously worked at RunFriendly, a sports tech startup in London deploying an app that allows an urban citizen unlimited access to showers at athletic facilities five minutes or less from anywhere you are at any point all over the world. Lola runs a private chef, in-your-home dining experience called Teen to Table with her 13-year-old brother in New York City. On campus, Lola is part of Columbia’s undergraduate entrepreneurship organization, a music group that organizes concerts with Columbia bands, and an art magazine. Lola sees New York City as the most sublime intersection of people, culture, industry, and possibility.

Shruti Agarwal

Shruti is a junior at Cornell University pursuing a double major in business and information science. She has previously interned at CerraCap Ventures and Ernst & Young. On Cornell’s campus, she serves as the VP of Operations for Forté, an all-women’s organization geared towards female empowerment in business, and the Marketing & Operations co-lead of Cornell AppDev, a project team that produces mobile applications for Cornell and the greater Ithaca Community. Shruti is also an analyst at Cornell Venture Capital and Cornell Hedge Fund. Prior to Cornell, she first forayed into the world of startups as the CFO of a student startup aimed at up-cycling waste products. Shruti is originally from Singapore and can be found bullet journaling or taking photographs of sunsets in her free time.

Tom Guthrie

Tom is a first-year MBA student at Columbia focused on VC and entrepreneurship. Prior to business school, he worked in a chief of staff role at Capsule, focusing on strategic planning, internal communications, and scaling growth channels. Before that, he helped to start the New York office of FiscalNote (a DRF portfolio company!). He is a leader of the Chief of Staff Tech Network and is building a community for generalists at startups called onejob. Tom is from Maine and New Hampshire and graduated with a degree in international politics from Georgetown. He loves running ultramarathons and hosting dinner parties.

Philadelphia

Alex Torrey

Mission-driven consumer startups are Alex’s love language. Currently a first-year MBA at Wharton, Alex is excited to try his second venture. Before moving to Philly, Alex was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Techstars. Previously, Alex was in Chicago at DDB/We Are Unlimited creative agency where he directed brand strategy (including a Super Bowl ad) for McDonald’s $1.5-billion US ad account. Also in Chicago, Alex led Strategy at Dentsu Aegis global consumer experience agency MKTG, serving clients Nike, Apple, Beats, and Gatorade. Prior to that, Alex co-founded a consumer startup. The failed experiential shopping platform with a social mission was sold in Bloomingdale’s and got a deal from Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner on Shark Tank. Alex started his career as a CIA Analyst, including a yearlong tour in Afghanistan. Beyond that, Alex was a Marketing Guest Lecturer at the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, and served on the board of Chicago’s American Marketing Association as Director of VC and Startup Relations. Alex is a morning jogger (former Ironman triathlete), a cold-brew coffee and local IPA drinker, chilaquiles and Chicago-style hotdog eater, and hands down the #1 uncle in the world.

Chris Seitz

Chris is a first-year MBA student at Wharton where he is the healthcare management program. Prior to Wharton, Chris worked as an associate at Excel Ventures, a $250M life sciences and healthcare venture capital fund in Boston. At Excel, he sourced new investments, conducted diligence, and helped manage a portfolio of over 20 companies. Companies Chris was involved in include: Molecular Templates ($MTEM), Openwater, NeoSensory, and ClearData. Outside of Excel, Chris advised various startups through the incubator MassChallenge. Prior to Excel, Chris was a healthcare strategy consultant at Health Advances. Chris graduated from Williams College in 2015, where he majored in biology with a focus on pre-medicine and played varsity soccer. During the winter months, you can find Chris skiing all over the world, from Wyoming to Japan. Most importantly, Chris is the proud oldest brother to 5 siblings, two of whom are only 5 years old.

Daniel Bessonov

Daniel is a first-year student at Penn studying computer science, statistics, and entrepreneurship. Before joining DRF, Daniel was a full-stack developer at Genecloud (genomics privacy), nFlate (apparel marketplace), and whiteCryption (software security). As a self-proclaimed mobile developer, Daniel is passionate about great products, great design, and great user experiences. Outside of CS/entrepreneurship/VC land, Daniel is a big fan of unsweetened ice tea, open-water swimming, and all-things standup and improv.

Elijah Conniff

Elijah is a junior at Wharton with concentrations in Finance and Management. Elijah is a Joseph Wharton Scholar and a Questbridge Scholar. Prior to joining Dorm Room Fund, Eli served as a data & customer success intern for Gladly — a Greylock backed customer support software platform. At Penn, Eli serves as a representative on the Wharton Dean’s Undergraduate Board (WAB), sits on the Curriculum Innovation and Review Committee (CIRC), and plays intramural basketball and soccer. In his free time, Eli enjoys eating spicy food, running, and spending time with friends.

Sanya Ohri

Sanya is a first-year MBA student at Wharton and is also pursuing her interests at the Education and the Design schools. She is interested in identifying the most impactful ways in which technology can be leveraged for social impact. Prior to Wharton, Sanya was part of Khan Academy’s founding team in India, where she worked across marketing, strategy, business and product development for the India market. Previously, she was also a consultant with Bain & Company, where she specialized in the private equity arm, performing due diligence on growth and mid-market stage companies. Sanya completed her engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi where she was involved in journalism and volunteering. You are likely to find her perpetually caffeinated and/ or exploring new restaurants in Philadelphia (share your favorites with her!)

Stephanie McCaffrey

Stephanie McCaffrey is an MBA candidate at the Wharton School seeking concentrations in entrepreneurship and social impact. Prior to 2019, she was a professional soccer player for the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League. She graduated from Boston College in 2015 where she was a four-time all ACC honoree and team captain her senior year. The Massachusetts native also spent time playing with the World Cup Champion United States Women’s National Soccer Team in 2015 and 2016. Stephanie first sought to impact her passion for women’s empowerment in the fall of 2016 when she and two fellow professionals launched the female athlete lifestyle blog, Sporting Chic. After running Sporting Chic for a year and enjoying over 100,000 total page views, Stephanie realized the potential reach of her platform and decided to move on to something that would make more of a direct impact in using sport as an equalizer. That’s when in 2018 she launched Hidden Gems Soccer, a 501c3 nonprofit seeking to find an innovative way to make young girls feel worthy of opportunity.

Tej Singh

Tej is a junior at Wharton who lives in the startup, media, and VC world. He believes in learning by talking to as many people from diverse backgrounds as possible. Since he was partly homeschooled (Stanford Online HS), he started it early and has interviewed 150+ business leaders such as the Chairman of Alphabet, CEO/CMOs of Microsoft, Apple (former), J.Crew and Airbnb. Some interviews were done for Cheddar from the floor of the NYSE. After working as a Summer Analyst earlier at Bain Capital Ventures and Altos Ventures, Tej returned to Silicon Valley in 2019 to work at Coatue, a $17B hedge fund with investments in DoorDash, Lime, Reddit, and Instacart. On Fridays, he commutes to NYC to work on the M&A team at IAC (Tinder, Vimeo, and College Humor). Tej has also worked at Jerry Media, creating strategies to monetize its 55M+ followers across 30+ Instagram accounts such as @FJerry. He was also the Head of the Gen-Z dept. at Zimmerman Advertising, whose clients have included McDonald’s, Papa John’s, and Nissan. Tej dabbles in business journalism (published 43 articles on HuffPost) and likes to run (more like jog), play golf, and catch up on shows such as Billions, Succession, and The Blacklist. In elementary school, when everyone around him wanted to be either an astronaut or a firefighter, Tej had the PGA Tour Commissioner as his backup job, i.e., if a pro-golfer career did not pan out. Perhaps, he was smitten by the Tour’s tagline: These Guys Are Good.


Get more Dorm Room Fund news and updates on Twitter and learn more on our website. Ready to take your business to the next level? Apply here to be considered for an investment from Dorm Room Fund. Until next time! 🚀

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