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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.

This story appears in the October 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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 , Miami University, Pennsylvania State University, University of , 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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