I Want To Start A Venture Capital Fund That Backs The Most Talented University Entrepreneurs. How Do I Start?

The first problem with your question is the supposition that great venture returns come founders who have been dragged through the schools of conformity. Not entirely, statistically, universities are not the great producers of innovation, for well-known reasons. Besides my observations from the bosom of Silicon Valley, in Stanford’s backyard, I also vaguely recall a study of the University of San Diego on this subject, if correlation is your preferred way of determining causation.

To drive high-yield returns (what venture capital is supposed to do), entrepreneurs must innovate upstream, with a higher and much better normalization of the status quo. Such an attitude and grit usually does not come from people who just proved they can follow and graduate a path paved before them.

Consequently, the only reason why universities are still interesting to me is for the right drop-outs, the students who have proven to have a particular baseline intellect but have not succumbed to the system, and do not have the patience, or do not believe that the status quo sold to them as gospel is the truth and nothing but the truth.

The second problem with your question is the presumption you have the skills to be the proper arbiter of outliers. Money alone, if you manage to raise some, will not lend you the merit to evaluate foresight, a much-needed skill to avoid falling into the sinkhole of subprime venture capital (read: Subprime Venture Capital) that permeates and propagates much of the “innovation” landscape today.

No more than a handful of VC’s make any consistent monolithic venture-style returns for their investors because of the wrong (micro-private equity) risk-profile deployed to the pursuit of innovation. A fundamental mismatch of risk and return.

The pursuit of innovation has turned into a pageantry of mediocrity with minimal socio-economic value to boot, because of the improper deployment of risk. Uniform risk (hence subprime) fundamentally incompatible with finding an outlier of upstream.

So I warn you before you squander your reputation and your investor’s money: “Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but an entrepreneur can come from anywhere.” Great entrepreneurs are bred not because, but more frequently despite the schooling they received. Hence, I suggest you adjust your gating investment thesis to start.

The sign of an intelligent nation is its willingness and ability to reinvent itself, upstream. Let’s inspire the world with new rigors of excellence we first and successfully apply to ourselves.

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