I always enjoyed watching the procession through the Van Wickle Gates at Brown University commencement. The graduating class walks through the ceremonial passage into life after Brown, as classes from past years line the streets to greet them and cheer them on. The sense of community permeates the air-- it energizes and invigorates.
I also remember seeing entrepreneurs leave those gates, to find themselves working in relative solitude after graduation.
Colleagues who took their business plans from entrepreneurship classes, and competed for funding through local business plan competitions. People like my brother, who packed Guayusa-based tea into boxes at his Providence house. Friends from campus organizations, who looked everywhere for mentors to guide them through the development of their companies.
In this context, Brown alumni have accomplished remarkable success. They've redefined industries, at Casper and Sir Kensington's. They've integrated profit and social change at scale, in companies such as Warby Parker and Runa. They've achieve stellar business success, like Songza and Teespring.
There is something special about Brown University alumni-- we think independently, reject norms, take risks, thrive in unstructured environments, develop deep convictions about what should exist in the world, and seek to create social change.
Brown and it's body of student entrepreneurs have recognized this, and we've seen programs, groups, and institutions develop in waves-- from the Brown Venture Labs accelerator to the Brown Entrepreneurship Program's student grants for entrepreneurs; and from the new Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship's entrepreneurs-in-residence to the Brown Summer Breakthrough Lab (B-Lab).
As a result, increasing numbers of entrepreneurs will leave the Van Wickle Gates with startups that have the potential to take off. And our alumni community possess broad experience and valuable resources to help them-- insightful investors, successful entrepreneurs, and passionate supporters. Students graduate yearning for mentors, advisors, and capital on a significant scale when the opportunity is ripe.
Imagine what it would be like if every entrepreneur knew that when they left the Van Wickle Gates, they had a community of investors and entrepreneurs ready to help them succeed in the next chapter, in Providence and beyond-- a procession line of supporters, extending from those gates to self-sustaining success. What do you think would be possible?
Evertrue Ventures is proud to launch, in the height of National Entrepreneurship Month, as a formal channel for them to connect-- to bring together Brown alumni who will invest in, advise, and support alumni-led startups in Seed and Series A stages. We aim to answer that question of what would be possible, and bring it to life.
We know we will not be the final solution for the needs of our entrepreneurs. That's why we've built partnerships with other angel groups, accelerators, and venture funds as co-investors and supporters, so that the resources available to every ready entrepreneur extend beyond us.
We look forward to welcoming Brown alumni entrepreneurs in their processions.
If you are interested in support from Evertrue Ventures, or in getting involved as an investor, partner, advisor, mentor, or supporter, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or head to evertrueventures.com to get involved and subscribe to our community newsletter.
Mike MacCombie - Managing Partner, Evertrue Ventures