College Students Launch New Venture Capital Fund

Johns Hopkins University backs Baltimore's growing student-based entrepreneurial community

A new venture capital fund that launched on the campus of Johns Hopkins University is designed to help a growing student-based entrepreneurial community. “A lot of students are not necessarily knowledgeable about how to raise funding and what resources are available in the ecosystem,” notes A-Level Capital Fund co-founder Demilade Obayomi, according to TechnicallyBaltimore.com.

A-Level Capital is a venture capital fund run by students that, in turn, helps support student-run startups. The goal is to help businesses that have a good idea of what they want to do, but are too early-stage for angels or traditional VCs. (It’s an idea similar to Philadelphia’s Dorm Room Fund.) The money could help over the first six to 18 months of a startup’s life, before companies pitch accelerator programs like AccelerateBaltimore or the Blue Jay Syndicate, which is an angel fund focused on Hopkins founders.

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“If we could be helping deal flow at the student level, it would be much more effective once they’re a little more developed to pitch to the Blue Jay Syndicate and get a larger investment,” adds A-Level Capital co-founder Elizabeth Galbut, reports TechnicallyBaltimore.com.

An 11-member student investment team was assembled from schools and programs across the university, six of whom are student partners. To raise money, they began tapping JHU alumni and mentor networks for support. Galbut approached Dave McClure of famed San Francisco accelerator 500 Startups, who is also an alumnus of the program. Now he is one of the fund’s first investors. The goal is to raise enough money to support 80 companies over four to five years. Most of the investments will be about $20,000.