Can universities retain the next Mark Zuckerberg?
- Harvard University is the latest to address the growing trend of student entrepreneurs dropping out by offering seed-stage investment through The Experiment Fund, helmed by venture capitalist Hugo Van Vuuren and aimed at mentoring the Ivy League school's student entrepreneurs.
- The news is fitting, since considering Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard after founding Facebook, giving future students the idea they could do the same—especially with options like investor Peter Thiel's fellowship program, which offers student entrepreneurs up to $100,000 to leave school for two years or skip it entirely.
- A number of other funds also look to help schools retain the Zuckerbergs of the future, including Upstart, Stanford University's StartX and First Round Funding's Dorm Room Fund.
From the article:
... If the [Experiment Fund] accepts a project, students get seed funding, but only after they have graduated (or left). That gives them the freedom to concentrate on their studies, knowing that money will be available afterwards, and makes it easier for the university to ward off the predations of venture capitalists seeking to recruit its students. Cherry Murray, dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, went so far as to refer to the fund as the “anti-Peter Thiel approach,” according to the Globe. ...
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