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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.

Workspace:

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.

Apply to the Innovation Fund

Process:

(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.

(3) Pitch

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.

(4) Funding

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.

Portfolio

Our Companies

Current Companies

Previous Companies

Our Companies are Backed By

Team

Our Team

Adele Li
Outreach

Adele is a freshman studying Computer Science, Finance, and Statistics in the M&T Program. She is passionate about digital health and EdTech and has previously worked in venture capital at Mayfield Fund and Paxion Capital. Adele enjoys playing jazz piano, traveling, and exploring restaurants in downtown Philly. Feel free to contact her for a chat!

Dan Cahana
Portfolio & Outreach

Dan is a sophomore studying Finance, Marketing and Operations Management, and Computer Science. He enjoys learning about fintech and IoT companies and has previously spent time in venture capital at Jerusalem Venture Partners. He is the director of consulting for TAMID. Dan loves playing tennis, hiking, and reading. Feel free to reach out to him.

Jason Shein
Chair

Jason is a senior studying Engineering Entrepreneurship and Science, Technology, and Society. He enjoys learning about enterprise software companies and has previously spent time in venture capital and growth equity at Compound and General Atlantic, respectively. Jason loves working out and traveling, and working at coffee shops on campus.

Julia Taitz
Marketing

Julia is a sophomore studying Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Computer Science. She enjoys learning about both web and mobile software companies and has previously worked as an iOS engineer and teacher at Planvan and the Flatiron School. Julia loves skiing and baking, and you can often find her chatting and socializing on campus.

Nathan Frey
Project Manager

Nathan is a graduate student studying Materials Science and Engineering. He enjoys learning about cleantech and has a master’s degree in physics from Boston University, where he helped develop self-assembling organic building-blocks for next generation solar cells. Nathan loves going to shows in Fishtown and translating Japanese short stories. You can find him at a Center City coffee shop.

Rachel Rubin
Project Manager

Rachel is a senior studying Science, Technology, and Society and Consumer Psychology. She has previously spent time in telecom and adtech at Comcast and AppNexus, respectively. Rachel loves going to comedy shows and exploring Philadelphia. You can find her at a Bloomers show on campus. Please feel free to reach out to her.

Samantha Burns
Chair

Sam is a junior at Penn, studying Materials Engineering and Marketing & Operations Management. Outside of her role as the co-chair of the Innovation Fund, she can also be found working in her roles as a project leader for MUSE Consulting and a teaching assistant for a nanoscale technology lab. Sam is an avid fan of ballet and nachos.

Spencer Weiss
Sourcing

Spencer Weiss is a freshman studying bioengineering. He is interested in biosciences companies and cloud laboratory services, and he has published research on cancer immunotherapy through Georgetown University. Spencer loves good food and good books, and you can find him cheering (and too often groaning about) his hometown (Washington, D.C.) sports teams.

Medium

We frequently post on Medium about student entrepreneurship and portfolio company news. Check us out!

FAQ

FAQ

(1) Can portfolio companies apply for follow-on funding?

Yes! A portfolio company can apply for follow-on funding as early as the semester following their first round of funding. Just make sure to show concrete improvement and continued success in your second application.

(2) What kinds of products and services can I buy with my funding?

Previous funding uses have been web hosting, software, and prototyping costs. We prefer to fund expenses that will produce the highest yield for our portfolio companies. As a result, we discuss founders’ funding needs on a case-by-case basis.

(3) How is Innovation Fund related to Weiss Labs?

The Innovation Fund is the funding arm of the Weiss Tech House, whereas WeissLabs is the incubator at the Weiss Tech House.

(4) What constitutes a Penn founder? What is the IF definition of a founding team?

A Penn founder is a founder who is currently an enrolled student or Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in an undergraduate or graduate school. A founding team consists of the individuals who started and own equity in the venture. If you need further clarification, please shoot us a note.