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~~// Welcome to 99 Tartans //~~
We are an investing syndicate for Carnegie Mellon University Alumni to invest in early stage CMU-affiliated startups.
I recently sold my software startup. Now, I have the privilege of being back on campus as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to mentor aspiring founders. This brings me in contact with amazing research and great founders working on truly unique applications. I started this syndicate to share the investments I am making with other CMU alumni around the country.
Each year CMU students, professors, and staff launch 20 – 30 new ventures. Many of these spin-offs are based on industry leading intellectual property developed on campus. Many go on to become household names such as Anki, Birchbox, Duolingo, ModCloth (acquired by Jet), and Nowait (my last startup, acquired by Yelp). See more CMU startups on Crunchbase:
We use the syndicate model with a $5K minimum per deal investment. This is to encourage alumni to make multiple small investments each year. I invest personally in each deal, and I bring all my deals to the group. There is no membership fee or management fee to participate. There is only the standard 20% carry on returns. 10% goes to the Deal Lead, and 10% goes to 99 Tartans (organization) for operating expenses.
We seek a $75k – 150K investment allocation per deal. Investments are opt-in deal by deal. Members are asked to make at least one investment per year to stay in good standing.
What we look for in 99 Tartan investments:
1) Passionate, coachable founder(s) with deep empathy for their customers. Demonstrated product proof points. LEAN, Focus, and Hustle.
2) Technology innovation rooted in next generation technologies.
3) Large and growing addressable markets or high-value problem. Answers the questions, "How does this get massive?"
4) Answers the question, "Why is now the time? What recently has changed to enable this?"
*99 Tartans is independent of and not affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University.