Last week, the Deming Center was proud to support the Get Seed Funding team’s first pitch night, where micro seed grants were awarded to four student-run startups. Get Seed Funding (GSF) is itself a student-run program, allocating up to $500 to campus entrepreneurs to further their ideas.
The program is part of a larger Innovation & Entrepreneurship initiative called the Innovation Action Team (IAT). Each semester, a group of roughly 15 undergraduate students are selected for a competitive scholarship that includes dedicating time to one of three verticals: a student-run podcast, event management team, or GSF. The Deming Center has been tasked with helping out the GSF team, consisting of David Meyer, Willie Chew, Christina Johnson, Umar Haroon, and Henry Kvietok.
The team’s goal every semester is to support the growth of early stage startups on campus, soliciting applications from all over campus, including aerospace engineering, computer science, and business disciplines. Starting with reviewing an application on how the startup would allocate their micro seed grant, the GSF team then invites the applicants to come in and pitch and do a Q&A session. Afterwards, the applicant and their funding request is thoroughly reviewed, and a final award amount up to $500 is allocated.
Part of GSF’s charter is helping applicants advance their idea to the next stage, and the team’s review and feedback process is a part of this learning process. For example, one of the groups pitching to GSF last week had an idea of a tutoring website. Although he requested the full $500 for setting up his business, the team ultimately decided on a lesser amount.
The reason? A lack of customer discovery.
Their recommendation to the student in question was to figure out if there was a market for his product, including methods of figuring this out. The allocated funds’ suggested use was to pursue those avenues, and to return to the applicant pipeline once a need for his product was established.
With the New Venture Challenge and various grant programs across campus set up for well-established companies, Get Seed Funding provides the much-needed small amounts of cash students need to build early prototypes, create survey incentives for customer discovery, register their LLC’s, and more.
The program has rolling applications open all semester and pitch nights once a week. Students interested in learning more and obtaining their own micro seed grant are encouraged to apply here!