Not just football rivalries, now alums can compete through venture funding

Photo via WINSLOW TOWNSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Photo via WINSLOW TOWNSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Today, the Maroon & Gold Fund, an “affinity fund” being run through Launch Angels was announced. The fund looks to raise up to $2 million from Boston College alumni and use that money to invest in 12 to 15 early stage BC-founded startups.

While the new fund will help propel BC—which has already produced some recent startup success stories such as Jebbit, NBD Nano—it also presents a new battleground for ultra-competitive college alumni to fight for bragging rights.

Not officially affiliated with nor sanctioned by Boston College, the Maroon & Gold fund is lead by BC alums to continue to support the school’s entrepreneurial community.

As Kevin Cook, the managing director of the Maroon & Gold Fund said, when people think of BC, they don’t always first think of startups and entrepreneurs. “It’s a very understated entrepreneurial community at BC,” Cook said. “But there has always been this undercurrent of entrepreneurship, and some really awesome companies coming out of BC.”

Although the fund doesn’t have any deals in place yet, there are already a few seed-stage startups, which have been part of the Soaring Startup Circle, the summer startup accelerator created by BC alumni.

The Boston College-focused Maroon & Gold fund is the second alumni-focused fund that uses the resources offered by Launch Angels. The Dartmouth alumni-focused Green D Fund is advised by Launch Angels, which offers compliance, investor relations, and other support to the Green D Founders Fund. But the Dartmouth fund isn’t described as an “affinity fund,” a customized venture capital fund, as the Maroon & Gold fund is.

Don’t expect these alumni venture capital funds to stop with BC and Dartmouth. More New England alumni groups will most likely follow suit. And, expect the competition to grow out of the affinity funds to be fierce.

When I asked Cook about the possibility of “friendly” competition between alumni groups, the first words out of his mouth should tell you how rivalries could drive the adoption of affinity funds: “Notre Dame has an “IrishAngels” group that’s been around for years…There are hundreds of other universities that should be doing the same thing.”

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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