Investing in Entrepreneurs

he Gabelli School recently committed $100,000 to the Fordham Angel Fund, a new fund overseen by the Fordham Foundry that provides seed money to businesses run by current undergraduate and graduate students.

Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of the Gabelli School, said the fund, which will commit investments of up to $25,000 in individual businesses, exemplifies application-based learning and industry connectivity, which are key elements of the college’s approach to education.
Group of people in an office
The new Fordham Angel Fund will provide $25,000 in venture funding to select entrepreneurs across the Fordham community.
Photo courtesy of the Fordham Foundry
“Launching the Angel Fund is another great opportunity for our students to get exposure to the real-world practices of an investment committee, and a chance at real-time decision-making with tangible outcomes,” she said. “It will provide the added benefit of seed capital for worthy businesses that will add value to society.”

Al Bartosic, BS ’84, the Foundry’s executive director, said the fund is the pinnacle of support that the Foundry can offer. “We wanted to give students an opportunity not only to receive mentorship and guidance, but also financial support. What a lot of them need is cash investment to get their businesses off the ground.”

The backbone of the Angel Fund, which is open to students from all of Fordham’s nine colleges and schools, is two committees of volunteers staffed by students, alumni, and experts in venture capital, including academics and working professionals. One committee, the Angel Fund Fellows, is charged with identifying companies that might be worth investing in and the other, the investment committee, evaluates potential candidates.

“The goal is to give these fellows a taste of how a venture fund really works, so they understand the rigor and discipline involved in the professional investment process,” Bartosic said. “Less than 1 percent of companies that apply for venture funding receive it. The due diligence is really the hard work.”

Prospective candidates must meet certain standards including those set by the Environmental, Social, and Governance Criteria and the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

According to Bartosic, the investment committee has reviewed nine companies to date and chosen two for follow up, but no investment decisions have been made yet.