Jennifer Gill Roberts
Grit Ventures Perspectives
3 min readSep 24, 2021


Grit’s Summer 2021 University Fellows!

Genius is evenly distributed by zipcode. Opportunity is not. Grit believes that the most interesting companies in Deep Technology will be founded by AI/Robotics/Energy undergrads, masters, PhD students and faculty from schools around the nation.

Grit hub university partners today include Stanford, UT Austin, Carnegie Mellon, and CU Boulder. In 2022 we will be adding UC Berkeley, USC, UCLA, Texas A&M, Rice, Indiana University and Georgia Tech. Bridging mature innovation ecosystems to emerging ones is core to our strategy, and a key to scaling Deep Technology in the US. Grit is focused not only on investing in startups in our geographic hubs, but also in serving as a catalyst for economic development solutions in these regions, and driving forward innovation, economic growth, and job creation.

Our University Fellows program is designed to seed these regions with diverse talent and to engage (women and underrepresented minority) students in schools across the nation in learning more about technology, entrepreneurial and ventures careers and to train them to source interesting new technologies coming out of the labs at their school and in the surrounding tech community. At a high level, the goal is to inject diversity into the initial socioeconomic networks rooted in technology commercialization, producing new businesses and in some cases, entirely new industries.

Each cohort meets weekly with the Grit team for 6 weeks and learns early stage venture works while tackling a market or technology research project in a strategic focus area. Fellow alumni will continue to benefit from Grit connections to portfolio companies, co-investors and corporate partners.

Fellows are our eyes and ears on campus and will ultimately be leaders in startups, large technology companies and venture funds. This summer we had five amazing fellows from three schools: Carnegie Mellon University, CU Boulder, and the University of Texas at Austin.

This summer is our pilot program; we see strong potential to scale the program across funds and the university system broadly. We are excited about the unique benefits that our Fellows and Grit Labs overall will provide Grit Ventures and our portfolio.

Grit University Fellows, Summer 2021

Our Fellows say it best!

Gilberto Briscoe-Martinez: PhD, Human Interaction and Robotics Group, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2026

“Working with Grit as a Student Fellow has proved to be an invaluable experience in building the foundation of my future entrepreneurial pursuits. I have learned valuable lessons and practical skills through the informational lessons and my research project.”

Isaiah Scott: PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 2024

“Coming from the academic viewpoint of robotics and AI, I was excited to learn more about the entrepreneurial side of things. I had no prior experience in VC, but the hands-on research project allowed me to dive into the topics I really cared about. Jennifer and Christy brought a level of passion and expertise each week that was inspiring, and I especially liked the chance to sit in on real meetings with startups!”

Corinne Alini, Masters, Robotic System Development, Masters, Carnegie Mellon, 2022

“Grit Ventures not only provided a real world education into Robotic Venture Capital, but also the ability to be a part of a diverse community of entrepreneurs and researchers”

Ramon Williams, Masters, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2022

“The Grit Venture Fellowship was truly an eye-opening program. It gave me the opportunity to understand venture capital with a focus on culturally relevant topics while interweaving how diversity and inclusion affect all areas of business. The Grit team is truly creating a network of diverse minds and people with genuine relationships that will follow you wherever your career takes you.”

Grit looks forward to expanding our University Fellows program! Applications will be available in November for our January cohort.