People tend to ask me, “Why did you join Dorm Room Fund and put so much time into it? Do you get paid? Do you get equity in the startups?” The answer to that has always been the same — I don’t get paid, and I don’t get equity. I joined Dorm Room Fund because I love the mission of supporting student entrepreneurs and the college communities that help them succeed. More importantly, I joined and have stayed on the team because I love all of the talented and interesting student entrepreneurs that I’ve met and learned from along the way. People with varying skills — designers, hackers, business hustlers, etc. — and in myriad industries and niches. One of the great ways that we give back to these communities of entrepreneurs and support the next generation is through our tradition of giving the carry from our portfolio’s successes back to the schools that are at the heart of our mission.
When one of the startups in our portfolio exits, Dorm Room Fund sees a return based on our stake in that company. 80% of that return goes back to the LPs that seeded the fund. In traditional venture funds, the rest of the carry would go to the general partners who made the investment. In our case, we give that money to the schools that we’re a part of. The carry is evenly distributed across organizations that we choose to support at schools in each city.
We’re proud to announce the organizations that we’ve dedicated our carry to. Groups that are already helping turn students’ ideas into products and helping them gain entrepreneurial experiences, and also organizations that will be around in 3, 5, or 10 years when our companies start to see successful exits. Below is a list of each organization and why we chose to support them.
Dorm Room Fund Boston
TechX is one of the most active student groups on campus — they run the annual 1,000-person hackathon HackMIT, the hardware hackathon MakeMIT, give thousands of dollars in grants to students to work on interesting projects, and collaborate on running MIT’s tech-focused spring career fair. We think that TechX is driving innovation at MIT, and look forward to contributing to their successful programs.
NUCEE is Northeastern’s umbrella institution which funds all of the entrepreneurial endeavors at Northeastern. One of the things that sets Northeastern entrepreneurial programs apart from others is that the two defining organizations, IDEA, Northeastern’s venture accelerator, and the Entrepreneurs Club, are student run. We’re working with NUCEE to allocate all carry to these student-run organizations, as we feel the money will account for maximum learning per dollar in the hands of students.
Boston University Entrepreneurship Club
One of Dorm Room Fund’s goals is to support and inspire careers in the start-up industry by helping students take their ideas from their dorm room into the market. We chose the Boston University Entrepreneurship Club as one of the recipients of the carry because of the overlap in the two organizations’ goals. E-Club acts as a networking organization that provides a variety of resources for students interested in entrepreneurship. With direct connections to virtually every other entrepreneurship and tech club on campus, E-Club provides a unique environment for students looking to engage in the community. Beyond networking, E-Club also holds project-based weekly meetings devoted to helping student entrepreneurs through their business development process. The club is essential in growing the entrepreneurial community at BU as well as in Boston, and we are closer to achieving our goal by supporting these efforts.
Boston College Entrepreneurship Program
The entrepreneurship program at Boston College is dedicated to inspiring students to follow their passions, learn from incredible mentors, and build great companies. Current programs like the Boston College Venture Competition and the award-winning TechTrek program are just the beginning of a growing organization of alumni and mentors at Boston College dedicated to supporting student entrepreneurs. Our pledge to support entrepreneurial organizations and initiatives like this at Boston College aligns directly with our goal to empower and inspire more students to start innovative companies in Boston.
Dorm Room Fund New York
Columbia — CORE
As the largest entrepreneurship organization at Columbia University, CORE works to help inspire and educate students across campus about launching startups and getting involved in the startup community. CORE organizes speaker events with notable founders and innovators and educates students through workshops, challenges, and entrepreneurial programs. CORE also works to help students find opportunities in the New York startup ecosystem through their jobs board, recruiting events, and through their partnership with the career center. CORE also holds regular events and series on social entrepreneurship, edutech, greentech, fintech, and inspiring women entrepreneurs and brings the forefront of entrepreneurship to campus at the annual #StartupColumbia Entrepreneurship Festival. We congratulate CORE on the success of the many initiatives just launched in the past year and look forward to supporting even more.
Create@Cooper is an up and coming organization dedicated to empowering the students of The Cooper Union to create their best work. Members share skills, showcase projects, and immerse themselves in New York City’s hacker ecosystem. We admire Create@Cooper’s passion and innovation and appreciate the opportunity to support them in building a better tomorrow.
The POPSHOP is a co-working space founded by students run by students, and built for students. A lot like Dorm Room Fund. The POPSHOP serves as the center of activity for Cornell’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. In the middle of the night, or in the middle of the day you are bound to see multiple students coding new apps, drawing our wireframes or building pitch decks within the space. It’s a place we go to build new things, become inspired by those around us, and develop long-lasting friendships.
The Startup Projects are a unique part of the Cornell Tech experience, giving students the opportunity to found startup companies and create products of their own invention. The Startup Projects allow Cornell Tech students to embark on a natural startup experience as part of their education, while remaining full-time students. It’s hard to imagine a program more aligned with Dorm Room Fund’s mission of supporting full-time student entrepreneurs, and we’re thrilled in turn to be supporting the Startup Projects at Cornell Tech.
The NYUEI sits at the nexus of all entrepreneurial activities across NYU. Charged with leading a university-wide initiative to accelerate the pace of technology commercialization and the launch of successful startups, the institute’s team of startup experts and thought leaders offers educational programming, events, resources, and funding to inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs across NYU. We’re excited to support NYUEI as it launches the Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab, a 5,900 sq foot facility located at the heart of NYU’s Washington Square campus to further embody their mission to be at the epicenter of all things NYU entrepreneurship.
The Princeton Entrepreneurship Club is dedicated towards strengthening the university’s community of entrepreneurs by providing students with resources and mentorship to help them succeed. E-Club runs hackathons, classes, elevator pitch and business plan competitions, and trips to New York and Silicon Valley startups, among a myriad of other events. As the campus’s largest and most active student entrepreneurship organization, we’re thrilled to partner with E-Club to help support the fast growing startup community at Princeton.
Dorm Room Fund Philadelphia
University of Pennsylvania — Wharton Founder’s Club
Wharton’s Founder’s Club is one of the primary entrepreneurial organizations on campus. The group is comprised of current founders, aspiring entrepreneurs, and tech enthusiasts who meet regularly to socialize, learn from each other’s experiences and give back to the Wharton community. We’re really excited about supporting Founder’s Club as a fellow student-organized group that encourages and enables students to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations.
Dorm Room Fund San Francisco
Stanford and UC Berkeley — Kairos Society
The Kairos Society Northern California Chapter was founded in 2012 to bring together top student entrepreneurs and leaders from a variety of disciplines to create a unique local system helping students accelerate their startup pursuits and impact. The chapter now has over 40 students from both Stanford and UC Berkeley, the majority of which are working on high-impact startups, some working on nonprofits and leading on-campus groups, and others working on groundbreaking research. The Kairos Society has been a great benefit to both schools, providing a community capable of helping undergraduate entrepreneurs be successful and overcome many barriers in their impact-driven, startup journey.