Dorm Room Fund returns to campus with new $10.4 million fund

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dorm room fundA venture capital operation launched to invest in student-led startups has raised a new $10.4 million fund, Per SEC filings. The filing is Dorm Room Fund’s largest fund to date, and its first to include investors beyond First Round Capital, the firm that first launched student-focused operations in 2012. SEC filings indicate that fundraise is still ongoing. Both firms declined to comment.

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The original vision of the Dorm Room Fund was tied to First Round Capital’s stipulation that early stage investments for students can be led by students. In 2012, First Round Capital allocated a portion of its assets under management – a capital pool of $3 million – to be managed by a group of students. Today, Dorm Room Funds still only continue to invest in companies where at least one person on the founding team is a student or recent graduate.

The Dorm Room Fund has so far made 326 investments in startups like Brooklinen and SnackPass, as well as in venture firm Harlem Capital Partners. On its website, the operation says it writes $40,000 in secure notes to the startup — and has teams in New York City, San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia.

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While the focus of operations is largely in the United States, we have some signs that its checkwriting focus could be broader: The Dorm Room Fund’s latest investment, per crunchbase, was in the pre-seed round for Alima, a Mexico City-based company that wants to make product purchases easier for businesses.

For Dorm Room Fund, which has been fairly quiet in its investment activity over the past few years, the new capital could boost its student-focused operations. As the big investing world becomes more competitive, investors are encouraged to find talent quicker and quicker – either with in-house accelerators, non-delivery programming or, in this case, explicitly for aspiring entrepreneurs. Through a carved microfund from.

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The strategy may seem particularly relevant today, but there is precedent. Similar to Dorm Room Fund, General Catalyst launched Rough Draft Ventures as a play to gain greater access to the student network. Contrast Capital, another student-focused venture capital firm, recently announced a $20 million fund — its second investment vehicle to date. In 2019, First Round took another step in favor of early talent: it backed the Graduate Fund, a pre-seed fund that targets recent graduates of bachelor’s or master’s programs but that operates independently.

The Dorm Room Fund appears to be gearing up for a refresh of sorts. In 2018, the team launched a CRM for founders raising seed rounds, but a year later the firm’s CEO Ri Wang went on to launch The Grand, a learning and development platform to help people navigate change. left his post. same year, The team hired Molly Fowler, Those who previously worked in politics and urban planning will be the new chief executive officer. It also brought in Chauncey Hamilton as its inaugural COO, who had previously been Chief of Staff to First Round partner Rob Hayes. With the new leadership, Dorm Room Fund has convinced a cadre of LPs that its long-standing focus deserves fresh capital.

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