Dorm Room Fund to host workshop with the LaunchPad on February 16

Decorative graphic

We’re excited to announce the first Dorm Room Fund & LaunchPad Workshop for the spring semester, Tuesday, February 16 at 7 p.m.  The session is open to members of the LaunchPad community.  The LaunchPad at Syracuse recently announced an expanded partnership with the Dorm Room Fund (DRF), a venture capital subsidiary that invests in student startups.  Joining us for this workshop will be Jason Brooke and Jarrod Barnes, both of whom are investment partners at Dorm Room Fund.  Zoom in here for the session.

They will be speaking about customer discovery and developing an early-stage sales strategy (B2B or B2C) based on understanding your path to market and the art/science of customer acquisition.  For investors, customer traction is paramount to funding decisions.  Following the conversation, they will engage in a 30-minute Q&A with the audience, taking questions specific to the student startups in the workshop.  It will be an excellent opportunity to get insight from funders who invest in college ventures.

Brooke is an Investment Partner at Dorm Room Fund and MBA Candidate at Chicago Booth, specializing in Entrepreneurship and Finance. Jason previously worked in corporate strategy as a Principal for Kaiser Associates’ Financial Services & Payments practice. At Kaiser, Jason specialized in growth strategy assessments such as bringing new products to market, improving competitiveness, and customer segmentation. This past summer, Jason supported the Product Marketing team at Kong, a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for full cycle API management. At Booth, he is a member of several professional clubs, including the Entrepreneurship & VC Club and the Fintech Club. Jason has a BA from Middlebury College (’13) and is passionate about ‘all things Fintech,’ soccer and skiing.

Barnes is an Investment Partner at Dorm Room Fund and a doctoral student at the University of Illinois with a research focus in Learning Design and Technology.  A native of Columbus, Ohio, he is a former student-athlete and college football coach at the Ohio State University. From launching his own startup to working as an NFL front office employee, Jarrod has continually looked to challenge the status quo.  In addition to his role as an Investment Partner with the Dorm Room Fund, he is a Venture Fellow with Unshackled Ventures.  His interests in tech and venture capital consist of educational technology, the future of work, and sports tech.

The Dorm Room Fund will also provide mentoring this spring to the most promising student startups at the Syracuse LaunchPad, as well as consider seed funding as part of the Dorm Room Fund’s Campus Organization Network (DRFCON), backed by First Round Capital. First Round provides seed-stage funding and focuses on portfolio companies’ growth during their first 18 months and Fortune Magazine dubbed First Round as the most connected venture network in the Silicon Valley. In 2012, the firm launched and funded Dorm Room Fund for college startups.  Dorm Room Fund companies are built by over 300 founders from 40 universities. Among them have been Syracuse founders & startups:  AJ Damiano and Michael Paris, PowerSpike; Attila Melegh, Indulo and Julia Haber WAYV / Home from College.

The DRF has an extensive and successful history providing pre-seed funding for college startups, investing $20,000 to help commercialize great ideas by campus innovators. 

In addition to regular office hours with the DRF team, the LaunchPad will partner on “Demo Day” styled sessions where the most investable Syracuse University student startups will have the opportunity to present their ideas to DRF partners, get feedback and be coached on when they are ready to apply for possible DRF funding.

Check for dates on our event calendar.

Want to learn more and participate in these programs?  To get started, please join the LaunchPad if you are not already a member:

You can also e-mail us at