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School of Investment Student-run venture funds offer startups a financing alternative, but they may not be the place to seek guidance and connections.

By Gwen Moran

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Facts About Student-Run Venture Funds
• Average age of funds surveyed: 5 years

• Funds with profitable exits: Five of 13 surveyed

• Typical investment: $10,000 to $250,000

• Typical equity stake: 1 percent to 15 percent

• Total value of funds: $39.8 million

The hunt for money can be exasperating. Venture investment is down. Commercial loans are harder to secure. Maybe it's time to turn to your local university for VC money.

A 2010 report from the University of Oxford located 17 student-run venture funds at schools such as New York University, Miami University, Pennsylvania State University, University of California, San Diego and Yale University. Some of the efforts are backed by the schools, while others are funded by a combination of university investments and stakes from VC firms. The report found that although these funds list education as a primary objective, they're thirsty for viable deals that will yield impressive returns.

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