Penn Wharton Innovation Fund

Early stage ventures welcome!

The February Deadline is Friday, February 9th at Midnight EST. The application will reopen on Monday, February 26th for the March Deadline.

First round awards are up to $1000
Returning awards are up to $2500

Questions? Contact Ann Miller

A “Catalyst to Stimulate Innovation”

The Penn Wharton Innovation Fund (PWIF) was endowed by Alberto Vitale WG’59, who hopes that it will be “a catalyst to stimulate innovation at the School and to surface the brainpower of its students.”

We’re looking for projects that will accomplish real change in the world, innovations that disrupt the usual way of doing business, ideas that will, when brought to fruition, have true impact. If this describes your startup, then apply now.

FAQ

Eligibility

  • Current Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni are encouraged to apply.  A Penn affiliated team member must be the Team Lead on the application.
  • Both Nonprofits and For Profits are eligible.
  • Declined applicants are welcome to reapply at any time
  • International students are eligible. They must submit additional documentation.
  • You may apply more than once, with the same venture or a different venture.
    • If you need continued support for your venture, you can apply for a second or third round of funding up but must show progress and results and follow ALL reporting deadlines.
  • All applicants for the fund MUST be a Founding member of the team.
  • PWIF funding is intended for early stage ventures.  We do not fund companies that have raised more than $150,000.

Selection Process & Deadlines

  • Applications for the PWIF are reviewed by the PWIF Investment Team, which is made up of current Penn students.
  • Applications are reviewed on a monthly basis from September to April.
    • Deadlines are on the Second Friday of the month.  From there your application is assigned to the PWIF Investment Team for review. The Investment Team will determine which applications will be discussed in our monthly decision meeting held on the Last Friday of the Month.  All awards decisions will be disseminated on the following Monday..
  • We evaluate ventures on:
    • Originality of Innovation
    • Scalability/impact
    • Viability/practicality
    • Usefulness
    • The development process
Application Deadline Review Period Notice/Re-Open Date
September 15, 2017 Sept 15 – Oct 2 October 2, 2017
October 13, 2017 Oct 13 – 31 October 31, 2017
November 10, 2017 Nov 10 – Dec 4 December 4, 2017
January 12, 2018 Jan 12 – 29 January 29, 2018
February 9, 2018 Feb 9 – 26 February 26, 2018
March 16, 2018 March 16 – April 2 April 2, 2018
April 13, 2018 April 13 – 30 April 30, 2018

Application

  • First time applicants must complete an online application which includes the following short questions and requirements:
    • Brief description of your venture
    • How is your project innovative?
    • How is your project scalable?
    • Who are your competitors and how is your project different?
    • Next Milestone – What do you hope to accomplish with your award?
    • What is your proposed itemized budget if you are granted an award through PWIF?
    • When will the next milestone be completed?
    • How do you plan to make money?  What are your monetization plans?
    • Upload a 1 minute pitch video
    • Optional but highly encouraged: Upload Pitch Deck or additional materials.
  • Returning applicants must complete an online application which includes the following short questions and requirements:
    • Please upload a document (word or powerpoint) reminding the Selection Committee what your venture is, the status of the venture pre-award, your use of the award funding (show actuals to estimates for the preceding award, as well as a revised budget for the next award), the current status of your venture and your next steps.
    • Brief description of your venture
    • Describe any changes to your venture from your last application
    • Describe the completion of your previous milestone
    • Describe your plans for monetization of your venture
    • Describe your next milestone for which you are asking additional funding
    • When do you expect to accomplish this milestone?
    • Upload a 1 minute pitch video
    • Optional: Upload Pitch Deck or additional materials

Requirements

  • The PWIF does not take equity in ventures.  In order to be eligible for a second or third award, you must report back on the use of funds from your previous award.
  • The PWIF also asks that you report back any news such as name changes, funds raised, acquisitions, exits, and shutting down.
  • Though not required, we hope you keep in touch with us and consider giving back to the fund to support future generations of Penn entrepreneurs.
  • Appropriate use of funds: Funds provided as direct grants to student-led projects can be used to build, test and develop prototypes, to purchase technical and legal resources, engage software developers or engineers, or for other expenses related to developing the idea or invention.

Payment Process

Award funds are sent by check or deposited into your bank account depending upon how you are set up in our payment system already. If the award is coming by check, it will be sent to the address on your W9 form.

Process

Owner

Approximate Time

Submit Paperwork You < 1 month from Award Letter Date

Receive Paperwork & Complete Payment Form

Payment Coordinator 2 to 4 business days
Approve for Payment* Financial Coordinator 2 to 4 business days
Send to Accounts Payable Student Worker 1 business day
AP Upload into system & Cuts Check Accounts Payable 10 – 15 business days

Receive Checks & Mail Checks

Payment Coordinator 1 business day
Pick Up Check You 1 business day
Mail Check USPS 5 – 10 business days

Please Note: Incomplete/Incorrect Paperwork, peak business operations, sick days and vacation days can cause further delays in this process.

* Awards over $2500 have an additional approval step that can take between 10-15 business days.

Why I {heart} The Innovation Fund

by Ashwin Baweja, ENG’15/GEN’15/W’15 Founder of HashFav

“Luckily, the Penn Wharton Innovation Fund is a pillar of support for early entrepreneurs and helped me and my startup when we needed it most.”

Support the Innovation Fund

Join us in supporting innovative Penn students!

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