The Experiment Fund, a new seed stage investment fund, opened for business with backing from New Enterprise Associates. The fund is designed to support student start-ups and to nurture novel technologies created in Cambridge, Mass., or by those who started their educations there. Some angel investors are expected to participate.
Early Stage Venture Fund launches in Cambridge, Mass.
New resource will serve local students and alumni worldwide
Cambridge, Mass. – January 27th, 2012 – When the “next big thing” is invented in a cramped
dorm room, ruminated over in a late-night café, or discovered in a laboratory, it will now
find more support in—and its inventors will have better reasons to stay connected to—
the Cambridge area.
Today, The Experiment Fund (www.experimentfund.com), a new seed stage investment
fund, opens its doors with backing from storied venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates
Designed specifically to support student start-ups and nurture novel technologies and
platforms created in Cambridge, or by those who started their educations there, the
Experiment Fund will eventually include additional strategic angel investors and advisors.
“We are very excited to host The Experiment Fund; we believe it will provide a muchneeded
set of people, skills, and financial resources to spur the innovation and idea
creation of our students,” says Cherry A. Murray, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering
and Applied Sciences (SEAS), who will formally launch the Fund on January
Murray, who helped to realize the Fund, will designate SEAS faculty members to advise
student entrepreneurs about the Fund and other available opportunities and resources,
such as the new Harvard Innovation Lab (i-Lab)
The idea to provide an intensely local company-building resource to young innovators
originally grew out of close collaboration between venture capitalist Patrick Chung,
academic and entrepreneur David Edwards, and scholar-turned-entrepreneur Hugo Van
“Cambridge has always seeded and cultivated brilliant minds and entrepreneurs, and
now they’ll have another reason to stay rooted in and draw strength from these fertile
soils,” says Chung, who is co-head of NEA’s consumer and seed-stage investing practices.
Chung received his AB degree in environmental science from Harvard College
and a joint JD-MBA degree from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.
“Students will have an obvious place to go once they breach the boundary of the classroom,”
adds Edwards, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering
at SEAS and founder of Le Laboratoire in Paris.
“We are very excited to work with everyone on campus to infuse the Fund with our
global platform and entrepreneur-first tradition,” says Harry Weller, General Partner at
NEA and graduate of Harvard Business School.
Van Vuuren, a 2007 graduate of Harvard College, student at the Harvard Graduate
School of Design, and Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard,
adds, “The Fund is looking for smart and resourceful people, zealous full-time teams,
and experiments in need of seed funding and hands-on help to get off the ground.”
Designed to attract engineers, entrepreneurs, and designers and to empower them to
test and build bold ideas, the Experiment Fund will explore three core areas: Information,
Healthcare, and Energy Technologies.
Chung, who serves as an Expert-in-Resident at SEAS, expects the Fund to support several
promising companies in the coming two years. Each new venture will receive up to
$250,000 over that same period.
While the Fund expects to cultivate student innovation initially at Harvard, it will function
completely independently of the University and will invest broadly on the East
The Experiment Fund’s formal launch event, featuring Harvard University leaders,
prominent alumni, and student innovators, will take place on January 27 at 3 p.m. on the
33 Oxford Street, Maxwell-Dworkin –
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138