The Syllabus is Dorm Room Fund’s bi-weekly newsletter bringing you the latest news and startup resources for student founders, as well as portfolio updates and job opportunities from our community of companies. Oh, and of course some hot takes.
What Student Founders Should Know
You may not have lived in a dorm for the last time - Starcity, a startup focused on constructing co-living buildings is banking on people being willing to exchange private space for cheaper rent. Read more here.
When in doubt, pivot to FinTech - Bird, the unicorn scooter startup, has launched its own QR code-friendly payments service à la WeChat Pay and AliPay. Read more here.
Ever wanted to buy 1% of a pair of sneakers? - Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson recaps how he purchased 1% of a collection of 1985 Air Jordan sneakers and mentions how apps like Otis might just be the start of “crypto adjacent” businesses. Read more here.
What’s happening at Dorm Room Fund
What we backed
What we’re celebrating
From the Blog
State of Student Startups 2019 - To better understand the types of teams students are forming and the types of companies they are building, we analyzed the nearly 700 applications Dorm Room Fund received from founders in 2019. Read more here.
Real Talk: 10 Important Questions For Founders - Better questions lead to better answers, which lead to better investments. Read more here.
Petri Dish to Table: Will Gen Z Lead the Lab-Grown Meat Revolution? - It’s strange to imagine a world of meat without animals and food without farms, but it may be closer than we think. Read more here.
Additional Reading and Resources
The fewer, truer fans, the better - a16z partner Li Jin explains how in light of the passion economy, creators on platforms like Patreon and Twitch can make more money off fewer, higher-value fans. Read more here.
When’s the right time to make your first marketing hire? - Former Drift VP of Marketing and current Privy CMO Dave Gerhardt has a simple answer: as soon as possible. Read more here.
What does world-class messaging for an early-stage startup look like? - Get the DRF Core Messaging Template and start building your own messaging, positioning, and target personas. Download it here.
What’s next? DTC air? - Liquid Death may seem like water in an edgy tallboy can and it is. So how did they manage to raise a $9 million series A? Well, check out the tweet below. With the increasing demand for low-ABV and alcohol-free options (such as Haus and Kin), Liquid Death may be on to something. We wouldn’t underestimate the current appetite of big CPG/beverage giants for anything remotely zeitgeist-driven with a hint of growth potential.
VCtory royale: sourcing deals…on Fortnite? - Whether it be through leaving their DMs open on Twitter (like First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman did during ski week) or through Fortnite, venture capitalists seem to be exploring new mediums for sourcing deals. And honestly, it makes sense. Take student founders for example. Traveling to meet with/pitch VCs on a ramen-for-dinner budget isn’t exactly the most feasible task. Plus, with the number of founders running DTC brands that rely on mountains of Instagram ads to reach potential customers, we wouldn’t be surprised if VCs start sliding into founders’ DMs. And don’t even get us started on Gen Z platforms like TikTok… “Are you looking to raise a — *renegade, renegade* — seed round sometime soon? Let’s talk.”
Community Company Jobs
Clara Health - Director of Marketing (SF)
FreeWill - HR Lead (NYC)
Thanks for Reading
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