ASIF is €1m venture capital fund that invests in startups founded by students or recent graduates in Amsterdam. The fund is itself entirely student-run and will invest between €25k and €100k in twenty start-ups over the next four years. Half of the funding is provided by the University of Amsterdam, while the other half will come from a group of about twenty angel investors, most of which have close connections to the Amsterdam start-up ecosystem.
In addition to the investing activities of the fund, ASIF organizes a range of events where students can learn about entrepreneurship and VC, meet startups and other potential employers, and network with likeminded students. In the end, the goal of ASIF is not only to make a return for the public and private shareholders, but also to build bridges between Amsterdam’s booming entrepreneurial ecosystem and its student community.
How does that work?
Well, that’s a valid question. We know that the idea of students running a VC fund sounds crazy, but we strongly believe that there are a variety of ways that ASIF can create value for both our investors and the student population. To give one example: Student communities are often self-enclosed, which can make it hard for traditional VCs and Angels to source potentially promising student start-ups. On the flipside, students often lack the network that would allow them to find the investors, mentors, or partners that can help them get their business of the ground.
ASIF is uniquely positioned to remedy both issues and mediate the connection between the Amsterdam start-up ecosystem and the student community. As a student-run VC, ASIF is simply better at sourcing student start-ups than traditional VCs; at the same time, ASIF has the network within the larger ecosystem to make the most helpful introductions for student entrepreneurs. There are, of course, more reasons why we believe that ASIF’s approach to investing will be successful. Feel free to reach out if you want to hear more!
How are things progressing?
Things are going well! Just last week we signed the documents for our first investment, which we are going to publicly announce in the next days. We’ve also organized our first round of social events, such as a masterclass on Venture Capital with Johan van Mil, and events with startup hotshots Uber and Swapfiets. Additionally, we’ve recruited fifteen motivated students that are going to help us organize and grow our events over the next year. Ideally, the fund will be fully up and running by early January, which would set us up for three or four investments in the first half of 2019.
Yes! This week we have a super cool event with Swapfiets – the fastest growing startup in the Netherlands – where students have the chance to chat with the employees, solve a business case, and get a feeling for what it’s like to be part of a startup right in the inflection point of the hockey stick. Also, now that the first investment is completed, we are focusing all our efforts on finding ASIF’s next investment. We’ve already seen a couple promising startups and can’t wait to dig in. If you happen to know students or recent graduates that are working on a cool idea, let us know, we always have time to meet student entrepreneurs!
Are there any legal hurdles to take?
A couple, yes. For one, some of the legal structure around the fund is not yet completed. We also still figuring out the tax framework for the fairly unique setup of our fund.
What do you hope to have achieved by Friday?
Personally, I hope to have made some progress with regards to our next investment. If everything goes well, we will have a large part of our research done by Friday and have a feeling whether the startup we are looking at works as a potential ASIF startup. As a team, we are going to do everything we can to get our new community members on board and make them feel comfortable.
If you want to get in touch, don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)