Now here’s a wacky idea. Pick a student team and give them $500,000. Ask them to invest it in 10 student-run companies per year, at $10,000 to $20,000 each.
Members of the Dorm Room Fund Philadelphia team
That’s what First Round Capital has already done with its Dorm Room Fund in Philadelphia, and the firm’s Phin Barnes said it was working well enough that this week the second Dorm Room Fund will launch in New York at Columbia, NYU, Princeton and the Cornell Tech campus.
And there are more programs to come, said Barnes, describing Dorm Room Fund as “a way to delay making a choice” between dropping out of school to start a company and staying in school while pursuing entrepreneurship.
First Round Capital doesn’t take a proprietary interest in the startups, though it hopes to see a financial return as the sole investor in the fund.
The Philadelphia-based Dorm Room Fund has made four investments since late last year, with one of them announced so far: A screen-sharing customer service tool called Firefly.