As reported by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dorm Room Fund, a venture capital organization that was founded to invest in student-led enterprises, has established a new $10.4 million fund. The filing is Dorm Room Fund’s biggest fund to yet, and it looks to be the first in which investors other than First Round Capital, the business that founded the student-focused organization in 2012, have participated. According to the SEC report, the fund-raising campaign is still underway. In both cases, the companies refused to provide comment.
Initial plans for Dorm Room Fund were connected to First Round Capital’s claim that early-stage investment could be directed by students, for students, and that this could be achieved. A part of the company’s assets under management, a $3 million capital pool, was therefore assigned to be handled by a group of students in 2012, according to First Round Capital. Dorm Room Fund continues to exclusively invest in firms in which at least one member of the founding team is a student or recent graduate, even in this day and age.
At this point in time, the Dorm Room Fund has made 326 investments, including in firms such as Brooklinen and Snackpass, as well as venture capital company Harlem Capital Partners. According to its website, the business invests $40,000 in SAFE notes into the firms it supports, and it has staff in New York City, San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia, among other locations.
While the operation’s primary concentration is on the United States, we have received some indications that it is expanding its checkwriting focus. These include: According to Crunchbase, Dorm Room Fund’s most recent investment was in a pre-seed round for Alima, a Mexico City-based firm that aims to make product buying more convenient for enterprises worldwide.
Fresh funding might provide a boost to Dorm Room Fund’s student-focused activities, which have seen a marked decrease in activity over the previous several years due to a decrease in investment activity. In order to stay competitive in the wider investment world, investors are being pushed to uncover talent as early as possible – whether via in-house accelerators, non-dilutive programs, or, in this instance, a microfund dedicated only to budding entrepreneurs.
Although the method may seem particularly pertinent right now, it has been used in the past. The introduction of Rough Draft Ventures by General Catalyst, in a similar vein to Dorm Room Fund, was an attempt to get more access to university student networks. Contrary Capital, another student-focused venture capital company, has announced the creation of a $20 million fund, which will be the business’s second investment vehicle. Continuing its support for early talent, First Round contributed to the Graduate Fund, a pre-seed fund that targets recent graduates of undergraduate or master’s degrees but that operates independently of the company.
The Dorm Room Fund looks to have been preparing for a relaunch of some type recently. When the team released a CRM for entrepreneurs raising a seed round in 2018, it was followed a year later by the departure of the firm’s CEO, Rei Wang, who went on to start The Grand, a learning and development platform that assists individuals in navigating transition. Molly Fowler, who had previously worked in politics and urban planning, was chosen as the team’s new chief executive in the same year as the previous one. It also hired Chauncey Hamilton as its first Head Operating Officer (COO), who had previously served as the chief of staff to First Round partner Rob Hayes. Dorm Room Fund seems to have persuaded a group of limited partners (LPs) that its long-term goal is worthy of further cash under new leadership.