Over the last few months the Dorm Room Fund Philadlephia team has made their first investment and had their first moments of truth. Alongside our Director of Dorm Room Fund, Cece Cheng and our Platform Insights Lead, Aaron Szekel, I have been working with the Philly team as I do our other portfolio companies to find answers to critical questions about the business and create data that supports their vision. The team has been amazing and their early success (combined with overwhelming student demand from NYU, Princeton, Columbia and Cornell) means the Dorm Room Fund is coming to New York.
If you are a student at one of the Dorm Room Fund NYC schools and want to apply to join the investment team, please do so here. For more coverage on the announcement, see AllThingsD, TechCrunch, Mashable or Forbes.
My partner, Josh, described the thinking behind the Dorm Room Fund in this post and since then we have been testing the hypothesis in Philadelphia. As we announce the expansion to NYC and deepen our commitment to take Dorm Room Fund national, I want to say thank you to the team in Philly that made this all possible. Here goes:
Dear Dorm Room Fund Philadelphia Investment Team,
Thank you for your willingness to take a risk, partner with First Round and try to build a start-up while you are in school. Thanks for your dedication and effort to push through all the basic blocking and tackling that is required to get something off the ground and thank you for never losing sight of the thing you wanted to be a part of when you applied to join the team.
I love working with you guys and have learned a ton.
You have have been extremely thoughtful about how you would build the Dorm Room Fund brand, how you would engage student entrepreneurs and the experience you would provide for them. You worked through creating an operating strategy, deciding the terms and form of the investments you would make and brought amazing and unique perspective to the types of companies and founders you wanted to work with and support.
The experiment continues and there is a lot left to be done, but you have laid the ground work for a national network of Dorm Room Fund entrepreneurs and I have no doubt that this semester will bring more great investments and more great ideas on how to support student entrepreneurs and the startup ecosystem in Philadelphia.
I could not be happier that you all decided that it was not good enough to work your butts off, graduate and get one job but that instead you wanted to join the start up industry and help create hundreds or thousands of jobs – and I love the fact that each one of you who will graduate in May is continuing this commitment to the startup industry in “real life”.
You decided to take the time and make the effort to support founders in the earliest days of an idea. You decided to help your classmates commit to try, to make it easier for them to startup and feel what it is to but your beliefs out there, in the market for judgement – and to succeed or to have to adjust and try again. You are helping them take a shot and are putting some of the most amazing, talented students in the world on the path to building a career in the startup industry.
In the process, you have built your own startup — and it is working.
Thank you for your incredible effort and congratulations on your success,