Penn Wharton Innovation Fund

Welcome Back, EntrePENNeurs!

Applications for PWIF will open on September 1, 2018. The first deadline for PWIF is September 16th at Midnight EST.

Please note our application process has changed. We now have 3 different award levels based upon your venture implementation phase.

  • Validation Phase: $250
  • Implementation Phase: $1000
  • Launch Phase: $5000

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.



  • 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.
  • Applications for the Validation Phase Award ($250) and Implementation Phase Award ($1000) have no prerequisite.
  • Applicants are only eligible for the Launch Phase Award ($5000) after receiving the Implementation Phase Award.
  • 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.
  • We evaluate ventures on:
    • Originality of Innovation
    • Scalability/impact
    • Viability/practicality
    • Usefulness
    • The development process
Application Deadline (Sundays) Review Period Accept/Reject Date (Fridays)
September 16 9/17 – 9/26 September 28
October 14 10/15 – 10/24 October 26
November 11 11/12 – 11/28 November 30
December 2 12/2 – 12/13 December 14
February 10 2/11 – 2/27 March 1
March 17 3/18 – 3/27 March 29
April 21 4/22 – 5/8 May 10


  • 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


  • 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 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 distributed via Direct Deposit.



Approximate Time

Submit Paperwork YOU < 1 month from Award Letter Date

Receive Paperwork & Input your information into vendor payment system

Payment Coordinator 2 to 4 business days
Trigger Email for you to register account Financial Coordinator 2 to 4 business days
Complete vendor registration (uploading your tax documents and direct deposit information) YOU 1 business day
AP Releases Funds Accounts Payable 10 – 15 business days

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

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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