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Alumni Create Angel Investment Group to Fund Olin Grads’ Startups


A group of 18 Olin alumni have formed an angel investing group to support startups founded by Olin graduates. The group, which they have dubbed “Parcel B” after an undeveloped portion of the Olin campus, has already provided funding for eight alumni businesses, and expects fertile ground for future investments from the unusually entrepreneurial pool of Olin graduates.

The group will take the form of a “syndicate,” an investment vehicle that allows outside investors to participate if they agree to pay back part of any returns they receive to the group. The Parcel B members have pledged to donate any gains from the syndicate investors to the Olin endowment as an unrestricted gift.

“We are very thankful to the Parcel B investors for pursuing this unique and creative initiative,” said Olin President Richard K. Miller. “Not only does it provide an appropriate mechanism for supporting and growing the Olin endowment at a critical time, but it also provides a vehicle for investing in other Olin alumni at a point in their careers that it is most needed.”

The alumni members of Parcel B include: Juliana Bernalostos-Boy '07, Maia Bittner '11, David Boy '07, Zach Brock '07, Ellen Chisa '10, Mel Chua '07, Alex Davis '08, Philip Dirkse '11, Michael Ducker '09, William Dvorak '10, Lee Edwards '07, Frances Haugen ’06, Nick Hays '08, Adam, Kenvarg '11, Greg Stanton Marra '10, Margaret-Ann Seger '13, Brian Shih '07 and Nate Smith '07.

Member Lee Edwards, who has worked as an engineering team leader at several startups, says the alumni in the group feel grateful to Olin for the education and opportunities they received.

“We recognize that our ability to invest capital is a direct result of the educational and financial opportunities Olin has provided us, and we are glad to give back in this way,” said Edwards.

The members of the investment group share a desire to help fellow alums, but are also inspired by other goals as well, from boosting the Olin brand in the venture capital community to learning more about investing in general. The ability to identify promising investment targets is also a big motivation.

“I have been looking for an exceptional deal flow, and I noticed a number of Olin companies were not only really great from a business point of view, but they also had really top investors involved with them,” said Edwards.

Before Parcel B was launched, Edwards gathered information on startups founded by Olin graduates. He found that the percentage of Olin alumni who have founded or co-founded successfully venture-backed companies establishes Olin as one of the top schools in the country for producing startup founders.

Edwards’ research, published in a blog post and picked up by Inc. Magazine, inspired him and his fellow alumni to create Parcel B, an idea they had been discussing for quite a while.

“I believe we will see at least one, and likely more, large-impact, long-lasting tech companies come out of Olin alumni, and Parcel B is an opportunity for all of us to help create and share in that success,” said Edwards.