Davidson Venture Fund

Have a novel idea or exciting business? Apply by January 29 to compete for investment of up to $25,000 from the Davidson Venture Fund. In the process, you will learn from seasoned entrepreneurs, perfect your pitch, and have the opportunity to compete for seed funding to accelerate the growth of your venture.


Enrolled Davidson students and alumni classes of '11, '12, and '13. For profit business models only. See General Rules below for details.


To provide working capital to business ventures that have launched or are close to launch interested in advancing a product or service to market, or accomplishing a significant milestone.

Number & Amount

Up to two ventures could receive this investment. The decisions whether to make any investments and the amounts of those investments will be at the discretion of the judges. Depending on the pitch, the investment could range from $2,000 to $25,000.


  • December 3 and January 14 - Campus Information Session (Alvarez 302, Common Hour)
  • January 29 - Teams submit application online and submit signed Program Participant Agreement to aldulin@davidson.edu by 10 p.m.
  • February 3 - Teams are notified by email regarding advancement to Round II as finalists
  • February 3-24 - Finalists participate in clinics every Tuesday night in February from 6-8 p.m. (dinner provided) plus an additional clinic on Monday, February 24 (non-local alumni and students studying abroad will participate in alternative, virtual activities)
  • February 25 - Finalists pitch to the panel of judges during common hour
  • February 26 - Finalists are notified of results by email

Application & Selection

Round I

Application Materials - Due by January 29 at 10 p.m. to aldulin@davidson.edu

Round II

Finalists participate in clinics throughout February and pitch to a panel of judges on February 25 during common hour.
Pitch Materials - Due by February 23

  • Pitch Deck
  • Executive Summary of Business Plan (template will be provided)

Judging Criteria

  • Business Purpose - Explanation of the problem that exists and how the business idea solves this problem.
  • Potential - Support for the commercial potential, viability, and prospects for success of the business idea.
  • Team - The credibility, "backability," and passion of the individuals behind the business idea.
  • The final round of judging is a private pitch contest before a panel of judges that will comprise 4-5 entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors.

Mentorship & Entrepreneurship Education

The following is a sampling of the benefits available to the finalist teams.


Prior to the pitch competition, student and local alumni teams will participate in required entrepreneurship clinics during which a variety of topics regarding business plan creation, startup life, and pitch preparation will be covered. Non-local alumni will have access to alternative educational resources.


Work with experienced mentors and entrepreneurs in the Davidson College community and beyond.


Connect with the Davidson entrepreneurial ecosystem including investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders with a diverse range of expertise.


Community is an important part of the Davidson Venture Fund experience. Teams are expected to learn as much from one another as they do from the Davidson Venture Fund staff and mentors.

General Rules

Eligibility - Davidson Venture Fund Investment

  1. Each team must include at least one currently enrolled Davidson student(s) and/or at least one Davidson alumni classes of '11, '12, or '13.
  2. Currently enrolled Davidson student(s) and/or alumni classes of '11, ‘12, or '13 must own 50 percent or more equity in the business to be eligible for an investment.
  3. One currently enrolled Davidson student or alumnus/a class of '11, '12, or '13 must deliver the pitch and answer questions from the judges.
  4. Teams may compete and win without being incorporated (or, in the case of a limited liability company, organized), but in order to receive investment teams must be incorporated or organized.

Confidentiality & Permissions

  1. Confidentiality of information is not guaranteed and teams should not include any confidential information in their submissions, including trade secrets or other proprietary information that would be at risk for disclosure.
  2. Entry into this competition may be considered a public disclosure for patent purposes. If teams plan to file patent protection on an aspect of their business, they should consult with an intellectual property attorney before entering.
  3. Intra-team confidentiality is the sole responsibility of team members.

Additional Rules

  1. There is no requirement that the judges make an investment in any team. The investment will be granted in the judges' discretion.
  2. Teams are subject to the College Honor Code.
  3. Student Teams must attend all clinics in February (non-local alumni and students studying abroad will participate in alternative activities).
  4. Teams may be disqualified at any time before, during, or after the pitch competition for failing to comply with these general rules or the conditions set forth in the program participation agreement.

Davidson Venture Fund Investment Process

Investment from the Davidson Venture Fund is an investment by Davidson College (or a subsidiary of the college) in a Davidson student or young alumni business venture. While teams may compete and win the investment without being incorporated (or, in the case of a limited liability company, organized), the investment will only be disbursed to a corporation or limited liability company.

The winning team(s) will enter into two agreements with Davidson College or a subsidiary of the college (referred to as the "Investor"):

  1. Warrant - the investment will be held in the form of a Warrant that is exercisable for a fixed percentage of all equity of the company. Typically, this percentage would range between two and eight percent. The Warrant will have a limited life - the Investor has four years to decide whether to exercise the Warrant. If the Warrant is not exercised in that time period, it expires. The written warrant agreement will provide the full details of the investment structure.
  2. Investment Agreement - in addition to the Warrant, the company, the student(s) or young alumni, and the Investor would enter into an Investment Agreement that includes, but is not limited to, the following features:
    1. Representations and warranties, including confirming that the company validly exists and has authority to enter into the Warrant and Investment Agreement; confirming the accuracy of the capitalization table; and confirming that all intellectual property related to the purpose of the company has been/is assigned by the student(s), alumni, and/or other owners to the company.
    2. Limited covenants, including that all intellectual property related to the purpose of the company that is developed by the company or the student(s), alumni, and/or other owners will become and remain the property of the company; that the company will provide financial statements to the Investor at least quarterly; and that the company will abide by all applicable laws and engage in good, ethical business practices.
    3. Rights upon exercise - upon exercise of the Warrant, a customary shareholder (or operating) agreement will be entered into, and will include additional provisions.