The 1855 Capital Fund is a $10 million fund that provides seed and early stage venture capital to Penn State-affiliated startups. We focus on companies with roots in Penn State’s world-class research and educational environment. Individual investment size will typically range from $100K to $500K.
We will develop investment opportunities by actively engaging with current faculty, staff, and students, as well as with Penn State’s vast (and powerful) alumni network.
In short, we look for exceptional ideas that are paired to a capable and committed management team. We identify significant commercialization opportunities early in their development cycle and grow those opportunities into high-quality investment opportunities by leveraging the broad expertise of our limited partner pool.
Our fund reflects our university – a Tier 1 research university with broad reach and a wide array of innovations under development.
While we do not discount any idea on the basis of industry or area of business, we expect our portfolio to benefit from quality investments in the areas of:
Along with other Pennsylvania-based sources, we fill a significant gap in the funding ecosystem. From an investment perspective, this puts us at the forefront of of Penn State-related opportunities.
To build broad-based support for Penn State-affiliated startups, we look first to Penn State, the business community, and existing funding resources. Then, we activate the alumni network for everything from investment dollars to mentorship to deal flow.
Our offices are located in State College, PA, which allows us to stay closely connected to University Park’s innovation ecosystem as well as the research and start-up activity across Penn State’s 19 Commonwealth Campuses.
We expect that many of our investments will emerge from the central Pennsylvania region, especially from transformative research at Penn State’s University Park campus and significant human health and treatment breakthroughs from Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Our mission, however, is to be an early capital source for all Penn State-related startups, and we identify and work with teams at Penn State campuses across the Commonwealth. We do, however, emphasize the central Pennsylvania campuses at:
All these areas are underserved by capital sources in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lehigh Valley, and can especially benefit from our close working relationship with Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central Pennsylvania.
We look for companies that:
Though we expect to be early or even the first equity investors in a team, we are interested in being a co-investor with other early stage venture funds.