William Zhu is a staff writer for The Hoya
As a student entrepreneur, Anthony Marshi (COL ’18) learned firsthand the difficulties new startups encounter and the lack of resources to guide them through the process.
In response, Marshi and Theodore Montgomery (SFS ’18) founded Georgetown Ventures, a new student club under the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative dedicated to providing financial advice and assistance to undergraduate startups. The club launched this fall and began accepting applications Sept. 2.
“I had a startup called Newsroom. I went through the process of taking advantage of a bunch of the resources that are offered on campus,” Marshi, who is president of the club, said. “The resources are in place at Georgetown to help you grow your startup; there isn’t an organization dedicated to guiding you through the process of leveraging those resources.”
The new club is a startup accelerator for promising undergraduate startups. According to Montgomery, vice president of Georgetown Ventures, the club’s purpose is to provide advice, consulting and financial assistance to individual startups.
The new club falls under the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative in the McDonough School of Business. The initiative aims to help promote the spirit of entrepreneurship on campus and helps student entrepreneurs grow their startups. Georgetown Ventures will be working with Startup Hoyas, another organization under the the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative that helps student startups on campus.
Professor Jeff Reid, co-founder of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, said Georgetown Ventures can offer more personal support to startups.
“We feel like we could offer more support to those students who are willing to pursue their startup while still in school. Georgetown Ventures’ primary goal is to provide peer-to-peer advocacy and support for student startups,” Reid wrote in an email to The Hoya.
According to Alex Heintze (MSB ’19), board member for Startup Hoyas, Georgetown Ventures is able to provide services that Startup Hoyas did not in the past.
“We definitely saw certain gaps in our own gaps in our own programming, specifically in regard to actually giving real advice to current student startups,” Heintze said.
With the creation of another club that provides support to startups, Heintze said Startup Hoyas can prioritize hosting large events celebrating student businesses.
“We are going to focus more on the pitch competition celebratory events that we typically have and then also speaker series. Whereas Georgetown Ventures will work more specifically with current student run startups, providing funding and advice when necessary,” Heintze said.
According to Marshi, Georgetown Ventures provides grant funding to student startups so that they can overcome crucial financial barriers and further grow.
“We understand that startups need some sort of funding to start. We know that giving them a few thousand dollars can make a big difference,” Marshi said. “A lot of people have good ideas, but they don’t necessarily have the necessary resources to start up. This is where we come in with that boost.”
Montgomery said Georgetown Ventures’ funding will enable the entrepreneurship community on campus to be more inclusive of all students on campus.
“We want to provide to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds this very valuable opportunity,” Montgomery said.
According to Marshi, Georgetown Ventures takes no equity in the student companies it advises to better focus on helping startups with financial consulting support.
“Startups can feel comfortable that we aren’t out there to take control. We are there to help them to whatever their next stage is,” Marshi said.
In addition to funding, Georgetown Ventures also aims to provide personal consulting to various student startups. Marshi said consultants will play active roles in the business.
“What we want is our consulting teams to give advice, but also to help the startup implement that advice. We want our consultants to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the startups,” Marshi said.
Georgetown Ventures hopes to do its part to make the campus community a better place for both students and entrepreneurs.
“A lot of startup ideas never get heard in the first place. We want to change that because there is a lot of potential that is unspoken,” Marshi said.
(Disclosure: Toby Hung, the editor-in-chief of The Hoya, is a member of the board of Georgetown Ventures.)