Newly launched The House Fund has raised $6 million in commitments to make seed and pre-seed investments in startups with ties to the University of California, Berkeley.
Investors and advisers include a bevy of Berkeley grads, such as Jeff Brody, partner at Redpoint Ventures; Terry Garnett of Garnett Theis Capital; Shervin Pishevar of Sherpa Capital; John Burke, founder of True Ventures; Bobby Yazdani, founder of Cota Capital; Josh Hannah, general partner of Matrix Partners; and entrepreneurs Craig Walker, Prakash Janakiraman and Kim Polese, among others.
The fund will invest primarily in software and software-enabled startups that include at least one founding member who is a student, faculty or alumni of UC Berkeley.
Founder and Managing Partner Jeremy Fiance, who previously was managing partner with First Round’s Dorm Room Fund SF and before that was an associate with CrunchFund, said his is the first and only fund focused on Berkeley startups.
He says many tech companies, such as Indiegogo, Kabam and Lily Robotics, have connections to Berkeley of which many people are unaware. He says, however, that Berkeley is a hotbed for startups, and he cites Pitchbook data, which ranks Berkeley as the No. 2 school behind Stanford University for producing VC-backed entrepreneurs.
The 24-year-old Fiance said that over the fund’s lifetime he expects it to back 50 startups, investing $50,000 in pre-seed companies. House Fund is not affiliated with the university, but is based across the street from the campus.
Fiance says that since he began raising House Fund in March 2015, he has backed six companies through it, including Lily Robotics, which makes a flying camera drone and was born out of the UC Berkeley robotics lab. Fiance previously invested in Lily via Dorm Room Fund.
Action Item: For more info about The House Fund, Jeremy Fiance blogged about it on Medium: http://bit.ly/22IDmd9
Photo of Sather Gate, a landmark at the University of California, Berkeley by Alastair Goldfisher