By his sophomore year of college, Josh Kopelman was a full-fledged entrepreneur. Not that his alma mater--the University of Pennsylvania--understood him.
"When I graduated they sent around this form," said the First Round Capital partner during his talk at the Venture Forward Conference in New York City Tuesday. "The only box I could check at the time was unemployed. There was no entrepreneur box."
Needless to say, times have changed and Kopelman is helping the next generation fulfill their start-up ambitions. His Dorm Room Fund, launched last September, helps students start companies. It started with $500,000 in Philadelphia, expanded to New York and San Francisco, and now has plans to open in Boston later this fall.
"While the cost to start a company has come way down, funding sources for these dorm room entrepreneurs haven't really changed," Kopelman said. "If you want to stay in school and start a company, the sources of capital have not changed from 25 years ago when I started my first company, even though the industry's completely changed."
Dorm Room Fund also lets college students find and vet would-be companies seeking funding. Taking advantage of these networks makes sense, he said: "Who knows the students on campus better than anyone? It's other students."
In fact, just two months after launching last year, students drummed up $20,000 for Firefly, a company started by University of Pennsylvania students, which creates screen sharing software, according to Mashable.