Hear from Our Alumni: 4 Ways DRF Can Advance Careers in Startups & VC

Breaking into venture is hard. Building startups is harder. And yet, at Dorm Room Fund, over 78% of our alumni become founders or VCs after graduation and nearly all of the rest are operators at incredible tech companies. So how do we do it?

For over a decade, the world’s brightest college and graduate students have joined the #DRFfam and in doing so have been able to lead real deals, support real founders, and gain tangible experience building.  

Here are four ways that Dorm Room Fund can accelerate your career in startups and VC, as told by current and former DRFers.

1) Many institutional investors leveraged DRF’s deal experience and network to land full-time roles in VC!

Shawn Xu, Partner @ On Deck

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have a career in venture capital without Dorm Room Fund, and it single-handedly made grad school worth going to and paying for. I landed my first job in venture when Bruno Faviero — a DRF founder and alum who I had not even met at the time — personally vouched for me to his seed investor Ross Fubini, then at Village Global. That closed the deal. Fast forward a few years, Ross is still a mentor in my corner who I gutcheck a lot with, and Bruno is one of my closest friends (I’m also an angel investor in his latest company). 

I landed my next job in venture when my DRF colleague Alex Immerman put me in touch with Talia Goldberg, the youngest person to make partner at Bessemer (and also a DRF alum). Talia brought me on to be a second brain on a few investment theses she was interested in digging into, and this work became foundational for how I think about investing.

Not a day goes by now where I don’t talk to someone in the DRF mafia, often in the form of thesis brainstorms, founder references, or collaboration around deals. It is the single best place to spend time if you are a student.”

Nick Kim, Partner @ Upfront Ventures

“DRF ignited the chain of events that led to me landing my first job in VC. It was on a sourcing trip to UCLA and USC that I met the Crosscut team, who eventually hired me when I graduated. Also, the relationships that I have built during and after my time with DRF have been some of my most cherished in venture capital. They are founders, investors, partners, and collaborators that I hope to call my friends for a long time to come.”

Isabelle Phelps, Partner @ Lerer Hippeau

“DRF was my first role in venture, and without question helped me get my footing within the industry. It seeded a valuable network of phenomenal founders, investors and operators that I’ve since invested in, worked alongside & learned from. Joining the DRF investing team was the best decision I made in business school, and I’ll always be thankful for the opportunity!”

2) Many of our founder alumni have met their co-founders in DRF!

Bruno Faviero, Co-Founder @ Magna

“Arun and I met through the Dorm Room Fund community. When I was looking for a co-founder, I reached out to DRF to see if anyone was interested and Arun reached out. The rest is history!”

Arun Kirubarajan, Co-Founder @ Magna

“I met Bruno at a DRF event and connected with him. The two of us eventually teamed up to work on Maple together. Being an MP at DRF helped me understand the startup landscape from the get-go, and understand what common traits in successful startups looked like. As somebody with relatively little experience in the workforce, I leveraged DRF to help me hit the ground running for my startup, and I was able to execute with confidence.”

Karine Hsu, Co-Founder and Partner @ Slope

“The DRF community has been a huge part of my life and it doesn’t just end after school — the alumni community is just as tight-knit. DRF helped me meet Phillip, one of my Partners at Slope! While we didn’t overlap during school years, we eventually met through mutual friends in LA. We immediately hit it off from our shared interest in marketing, startups, and dogs… so much so that we ended up starting Slope together!” 

3) Many of our students have landed internships and fellowships by leveraging DRF!

Avi Muller, Investor @ Floodgate

“Joining the Dorm Room Fund team was one of the best decisions I made throughout my time at NYU. I joined DRF at the start of my junior year after working full-time at an early stage startup called Nextround. Transitioning from product to venture, DRF was the perfect place to learn about VC and understand where the best college founders were on campuses around the country. Shortly after joining the DRF team, I realized that I wanted to focus more on early stage investing which led me to become part of the Floodgate team to help the next generation of incredible entrepreneurs build world changing companies. If you have the opportunity to join the DRF team, take it!”

Alpin Yukseloglu, Fellow @ Paradigm

“When I was applying to Paradigm’s Fellowship program, I knew I needed a referral to rise above the noise. Within literally one hour of reaching out to Molly, I had a referral from one of the core team members at Paradigm (DRF had 3 alumni at the firm then). The quality of DRF’s alumni network is truly unrivaled.”

Royce Tiger, Summer 2022 Investment Intern @ Equal Ventures

“This past summer, I was looking for an opportunity to continue working in venture capital. I reached out to Molly in response to a summer internship opportunity, and she immediately connected me with Rick Zullo, Co-Founder and General Partner at Equal Ventures. I spent this summer in New York City working as a part of the team and saw the day to day life of a VC—which Dorm Room Fund prepared me for. While at Equal, I was able to do investment research and joined in on calls with founders, which mirrored my expertise as a DRF partner. I can really vouch for the breadth of the DRF alumni community in venture. DRF is incredible for students  interested in becoming a VC, operator, or founder.

Jasman Singh, 2022 Investment Intern @ Variant Fund

“DRF not only helped me prepare for my role at Variant, but also helped me land the job. The experience you get as an investment partner at DRF prepares you to meet founders, ask questions, and develop strong points of view (weakly held) on things outside of your expertise relatively quickly. DRF is the best training ground to show you the ropes as far as what ‘venture’ actually is. 

I was an intern on the investment team at Variant focusing on the consumer practice, and my role was along a couple different axis: screen consumer projects in crypto and evaluate them, produce content through analysis of different verticals, and support our portfolio companies with needs across hiring, token economics, etc. Because of my experience with DRF, I was trusted to take calls by myself, handle diligence processes, and hit the ground running.”

4) Our summer diversity tracks have broadened access and opportunities for underrepresented individuals in VC and startups!

Mea-Lynn Wong, Fall Investment Intern @ Harlem Capital

“I was a participant in the Blueprint program, one of Dorm Room Fund’s diversity tracks focused on helping underrepresented minorities break into VC, prior to starting my MBA at Yale. Blueprint introduced me to the amazing DRF community and an incredible mentor — a Yale SOM alumni — who later helped me secure the investment partner position at DRF. This past summer, I led the Blueprint program to introduce the next generation of aspiring Black and Brown investors to venture capital. Both my experience as an investment partner at DRF and as a lead for the Blueprint program helped me secure my internship at Harlem Capital in the fall. I’m immensely grateful to the DRF fam!”

Ellen Rudolph, Founder and CEO @ WellTheory

DRF truly changed my life. I always knew that I wanted to start a company someday, but little did I know that when I started the Female Founders Track (FFT), I would not only hone in the problem space I was most passionate about, but also form lifelong founder relationships. FFT gave me the opportunity as a first-time founder to openly follow my curiosity and explore what it would mean to start a company, while also getting access to subject matter experts that helped to accelerate my knowledge. I’m so grateful to the DRF Community for creating intimate forums for young entrepreneurs like FFT and feel even luckier to have the team’s support as part of our cap table a few years later.”

Tony Cuevo Bravo, Investor @ Manifold

“The Blueprint program led by Jarrod Barnes and Chris Quaidoo was transformative for me. The program helped me not just understand an investor’s perspective on deals, but also provided me with a voice and community — a sense of belonging and family. Joining DRF allowed me to break into VC quicker, which has been really important in my career. Following my summer in the Blueprint program, I applied to DRF and became an investment partner on the NYC team. Here, I gained a ton of ownership and learned VC by doing. One of my team members at DRF, Darya Zakharova, recommended me for a fund in Chicago — I landed the full time position with her support. DRF has been fundamental in helping me break into the industry and becoming a full-time investor.”

Written by Editor in Chief Andrew Xu. You can reach him at andrew.xu@dormroomfund.com or on Twitter @notandrewxu.

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