Inception of Smeal venture partners
While speaking over a coffee chat during their summer internships in New York City, Alex and Adam were surprised and excited to discover that they both had an interest to learn more about the venture capital industry. An hour long discussion about promising startups that the two were following, industries poised for disruption, and the overall venture funding environment ensued. Adam mentioned that given the myriad of promising student run ventures at Penn State and the University's premier research facilities and resources, the two should work to get involved in a startup upon returning to school. Alex agreed that PSU represented a hub of opportunity, but countered that the best way to foster entrepreneurship among undergraduates at Penn State would be to create an organization that employed several experienced and intelligent students from each of the various colleges on campus that would diligently work to identify and provide strategic advice and capital to high potential companies within PSU - and thus Smeal Venture Partners was born.
Launch and Success
Since the launch of SVP, Alex and Adam built a diversified, unique team of student leaders from various majors that created the Executive Board and Investment Committee. Peter Whalen, Director of the Garber Venture Capital Fund and Professor of Venture Creation at PSU, inspired Adam and Alex to take Smeal Venture Partners to its next level by connecting them with influential mentors within the VC industry. After numerous effective meetings, progressive structural changes, and advice from other student-run VC funds, the two were able to build partnerships with Startup accelerators, Angel investors, due-diligence based internships with VC funds, and begin first stage funding.