The Weiss Tech House Innovation Fund
The Weiss Tech House Innovation Fund is a student-run, mini-venture capital fund that offers non-dilutive funding to student-founded Penn startups. We provide current Penn founders — across all of the university’s undergraduate and graduate schools — with funding amounts ranging from $500 – $2,000, depending on their specific needs, to develop their innovative ideas. Take the first step and apply here!
Our mission is to promote, cultivate, and support student entrepreneurship in the Penn community. We look for founders who are dedicated, passionate, and attacking viable market opportunities. Our funding and resources enable our portfolio companies to build-out their products, acquire pilot customers, and secure angel or pre-seed funding.
How We Help
Mentorship from Alumni Founders, Philly Tech Leaders, and Industry Experts:
Our alumni founders are always happy to give back to our portfolio. We’ve also established relationships with local founders, angels, incubators and accelerators, VCs, and lawyers who provide advice, mentorship, and connections to our portfolio.
PR & Hiring Assistance and Deck & Pitch Mentorship:
We help our portfolio spread awareness through our Medium blog and also by granting them access to Penn listservs and events. We also host deck creation and pitch practice sessions to help founders better communicate their businesses to the tech ecosystem.
Our founders have access to workspace at the Weiss Tech House. As our companies grow, we help them find office spaces that will accommodate their needs.
How to Apply
Please check out the criteria below to ensure you are eligible to apply:
(1) At least one founding member of each applicant team must be a current undergraduate student, graduate student, or faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania.
(2) Applicants must be technology-enabled companies.
(3) Applicants must demonstrate a new approach to some product, service, business model, etc. Please remember that we do not take equity in funded projects. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
(1) Online Application
The application starts online with answering a few questions to help us get a better idea of how your business is run and how the Innovation Fund can help you.
(2) Coffee Chats & Mentorship
If your project reaches the second round of the application process, an Innovation Fund Project Manager will reach out for a coffee chat. Your PM will mentor you throughout the application process, acting as your company’s liaison to the rest of the Innovation Fund. Your PM will give you feedback and eventually help prepare you to pitch or “defer” your company by offering constructive feedback.
If your project reaches the third round of the application process, you will pitch to the Innovation Fund. Pitches last 10 minutes and are followed by 5-10 minute Q&A sessions.
Accepted teams will be awarded $500-$2,000 funding amounts and will have access to the Weiss Tech House’s technical, legal, and business mentoring resources. Funding amounts depend on companies’ specific needs for developing their innovative ideas.