Startup Funding

Penn Funding Resources

Awards, Prizes, Competitions, and Funds

This list brings together a number of the startup funding sources at the University of Pennsylvania. It does not include programs, accelerators, or incubators that provide funds in addition to their educational content. 


Lipman Family Prize

The Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize at the University of Pennsylvania is an annual global prize that celebrates leadership and innovation in the social sector with an emphasis on impact and transferability of practices. 

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M&T Innovation Fund

Apply to the M&T Innovation Fund for seed-stage cash grants and venture development for University of Pennsylvania startups. Managed by students in the Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program.

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Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

The Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition is prestigious and well-funded education business plan competition, run by the Penn Graduate School of Education.

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Venture Lab’s Innovation Fund

Apply for an Innovation Fund award to get seed funding for your innovative startup (5 application cycles per academic year). First time awards start at $250.


Penn Wharton Startup Challenge

Startup Challenge winners receive cash and prizes worth over $135,000 to help them launch their ventures, and finalists pitch in front of a live audience and judges at our signature event, the Startup Showcase.


President’s Engagement Prizes

Competitively awarded on an annual basis, the President’s Engagement Prizes empower Penn seniors to design and undertake local, national or global engagement projects during the first year after they graduate.


President’s Innovation Prize

Created by Penn President Amy Gutmann to strengthen the University of Pennsylvania’s commitment under the Penn Compact 2020 to innovation, the President’s Innovation Prize awards a graduating Penn senior, or a team of graduating seniors, $100,000 (plus a $50,000 living stipend per team member) to envision and implement an innovative, commercial venture that makes a positive difference in the world.

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Summer Venture Award

$10,000 to work on your startup over the summer, instead of a traditional internship, from the Summer Venture Award.

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Weiss Tech House – WeissFund

The Weiss Tech House’s WeissFund is a student-run, mini-venture capital fund that offers non-dilutive funding to student-founded Penn startups.



The Y-Prize is a contest in which members of the Penn community compete to propose the best applications for an emerging technology.

Internship Support

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Startup Internship Award

When you intern at a startup, our Startup Internship Award can help with financial support.

Academic Awards


Loveman Award

Each year the Loveman Award, a cash prize of $1000, is given to the undergraduate student(s) with the highest cumulative GPA graduating with a Specialization in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Winners are notified in the spring.


The Edward B. Shils/Leonard L. Zeidman Fellowships in Entrepreneurship

The Shils-Zeidman Fellowships in Entrepreneurship are awarded annually by Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship to select Second Year MBA students from under-represented US minority groups, developing countries, and Israel who have financial need, demonstrate involvement in Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship programming, and describe their interest in entrepreneurship in their admissions essays. Up to $20,000 is awarded to students who meet eligibility criteria.

Resources for Penn Founders

These resources are either affiliated with the University or have a mission of working with Penn students and alumni. 

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Red + Blue Ventures

Red + Blue Ventures is a privately owned and operated seed and early-stage venture capital fund that invests in companies from the Penn ecosystem. Not affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.

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Chestnut Street Ventures

Chestnut Street Ventures is a community of Penn alumni investors, investing in Penn alumni-led companies. Not affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.

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Contrary Capital

Contrary Capital is “the world’s first decentralized Venture Capital fund focused on investing in startups on university campuses across the U.S.” Not affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.


Dorm Room Fund

Dorm Room Fund is a student-run venture fund backed by First Round; they are “a venture fund for students, run by students.”


Pear VC

Pear partners with entrepreneurs from day zero to build category-defining companies. Our team has founded 8 companies and invested early in startups now worth over $40B. We use this knowledge to provide founders with hands-on support in product, growth, recruiting, and fundraising. We have been fortunate to partner early with companies valued at $1B+ such as DoorDash, Gusto, Branch, and Guardant Health. We also have a strong focus on students, and 49% of our portfolio founders were students when we first invested.

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Rough Draft Ventures

Powered by General Catalyst, “we are a student team building and empowering the largest network of student founders.” Not affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.

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Wharton Alumni Angel Network

Investors from the Penn and Wharton alumni network live to invest in Penn and Wharton companies. The Wharton Alumni Angel Network is for startups actively seeking to raise between $50,000 to $2 million.

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