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Simon School Creates $1 Million Student-Run Venture Capital Fund

Simon School Creates $1 Million Student-Run Venture Capital FundSimon School Creates $1 Million Student-Run Venture Capital FundSimon Business School

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Rochester, N.Y.―May 16, 2012—Aspiring student entrepreneurs and venture capitalists at the Simon School of Business will now have an innovative hands on educational opportunity to manage a philanthropically funded Venture Capital Fund in a real world setting. At launch, the Fund will have commitments exceeding $1 million and grow over time in step with the portfolio of investments. The inaugural board of directors meeting of the Simon School Venture Capital (VC) Fund is set for May 17, 2012 on the Simon School campus.

“The VC Fund underscores Simon’s commitment to providing rigorous and meaningful experiential learning opportunities for our students,” says Dean Mark Zupan. “The fund complements Simon’s array of entrepreneurship educational options including the School’s student startup incubator at High Tech Rochester and the annual Mark Ain Business Model Competition.”

Students involved in the fund will make early-stage venture capital investments with an emphasis on providing support for student-initiated startup ventures. The fund, made possible by philanthropic support from Simon alumni entrepreneurs, will be overseen by a board of directors led by chairman Christopher Schiavo ’90S (MBA), CFO of Battery Ventures, a Boston-based global venture capital firm. Joining him on the board is Mark S. Ain ’67S (MBA), founder and executive chairman of Kronos Incorporated, the Chelmsford, Mass.-based market leader in the workforce management industry; Daniel G. Lazarek ’91S (MBA), CFO, COO and co-owner, The Access Group; Dennis Kessler, Edward J. and Agnes V. Ackley Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at Simon and co-owner of Kessler Restaurants LLC, a Rochester-based owner and operator of 21 Burger King and 48 Friendly’s restaurants; and Matthew Tipple ’12S (MBA). Simon students working on the fund will gain experience in all aspects of venture capital and benefit from the experience and direction of the accomplished members on their board of directors. The fund will be supported by the University of Rochester Center for Entrepreneurship and the Simon Entrepreneurs Association and is the result of two years of work by Simon School faculty, students, and partners at the University’s Office of Counsel and Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization.


Simon offers a rigorously quantitative, economics-based approach to decision-making in one of the most diverse student communities of any business school in America. Our degree programs inspire a new level of clarity: about how analytical frameworks drive success in business; about what it takes to collaborate and manage in the contemporary, global workplace; and about professional growth and goals.


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