Announcing Graduate Fund
A pre-seed fund focused on recent graduates.
If you or someone you know is building something interesting and early-stage, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Dorm Room Fund began as an experiment in 2012 with the belief that students were uniquely suited to invest in and support startups founded by other students. What has followed is the growth of an amazing community with over 250 companies and 400+ founders across geographies and industries. Now is arguably a better time than ever before to start a company while in school — advisors are keen to help, student-focused accelerators and funds have emerged, and there’s a sea of potential fellow student founders to hack away on ideas.
But there’s an even bigger community of founders just on the other side of that graduation threshold; and if students can make great founders, then recent graduates make great founders as well. Yet the level of resources and support drops off when you’re no longer in school.
That’s why we started the Graduate Fund — to bridge the gap from zero to seed. We can more fully support these young, early-stage founders by making angel-sized investments with a quick and easy process, but with the weight and network of Dorm Room Fund and First Round Capital.
It can be tough to find those first few non-trivial checks when you’re in the earliest stages of your company, perhaps only looking to raise up to a few $100k. You’re likely too early-stage for big firms and might not have a ready network of angel investors. That’s why it’s common for super early-stage companies to seek out accelerator programs with large networks like YC or Techstars that can help with further fundraising, but often at the expense of additional dilution.
A few of us who have recently graduated as partners of DRF found ourselves regularly meeting and helping young founders at these stages. Help at these early stages can go a long way — from giving advice on how to find product-market fit (or at least reminders to focus on that), to making warm intros to potential hires, investors, and advisors, to helping with creating the right pitch deck, or even just forestalling common startup pitfalls. Graduate Fund lets us take the extra step of acting on our conviction with funding.
We’re targeting founders who may have already had a job or two, recently out of undergrad or grad school, and are thinking about starting their first company. We‘ve invested as early as the first major check, but have also helped kick off or fill out a seed round.
Tell us about what you’re working on — reach out at email@example.com!
Founders we believe in
We’re fortunate to work with amazing founders that we’ve been able to back:
And Comfort is a direct-to-consumer brand for high-quality, minimalist clothing for plus size women.
Floating Point Group makes crypto trading more profitable by using Smart Order Routing to minimize slippage on large trades.
Ally Shoes is making stylish heels that are so comfortable that you’ll want to use them every day.
ZBiotics makes probiotics engineered to solve everyday problems, starting with the day after drinking.
Who’s on the Graduate Fund team?
- Lauren Reeder is a Product Manager at Segment, working on the building blocks for the foundation of the Segment platform. She previously worked in investing at Accel, at a hedge fund in India, and as the first engineer at an EdTech startup while in college at Penn.
- Bruno Faviero is co-founder and CEO of Synapse Technology, which brings AI automation to security checkpoints at airports around the world. Bruno previously spent four years at fintech startup Kensho Technologies, and studied Computer Science at MIT.
- Neal Khosla is the co-founder of two healthcare focused, venture-backed AI startups: Totemic Labs, which makes a wearable free health and safety monitor for seniors, and Curai, which is creating an AI based Primary Care Physician. Neal previously spent time at Google where he worked on Machine Learning and Computer Vision research. Neal studied Computer Science at Stanford.
- Parthi Loganathan was previously a Product Manager at Google, where he launched Hangouts Chat and Google Go. Parthi studied Computer Science at Columbia.