The House Fund: Berkeley (Human) Capital on the Move


September 19, 2016


The House Fund gains momentum in the Berkeley campus.
The House Fund gains momentum in the Berkeley campus.
The House Fund gains momentum in the Berkeley campus.

The House Fund gains momentum in the Berkeley campus.

It is not everyday that the Berkeley campus witnesses the consolidation of a multimillion-dollar initiative between the University and some of its recent graduates to promote the growth of Cal’s startup ecosystem.

It all began almost 3 years ago when SCET-affiliated Jeremy Fiance decided to cofound Free Ventures, a student-run organization that sought to empower current Berkeley undergraduates to pursue their interests in technology entrepreneurship without having to sideline their academic commitments. With the help of Sam Kirschner, Cameron Baradar, Kiran Upadhyaya, and Jasmine Stoy, Fiance aimed to provide his fellow classmates with the required resources to jumpstart their businesses from scratch.

Fast forward 3 years and a 24 year-old Fiance is now aiming to achieve this same purpose with the support of $6 million dollars in hand from his recently-raised venture fund called the House Fund, and a group of advisors and limited partners who are ready to bring this initiative to the next level by leveraging the Berkeley brand in the broader landscape of Silicon Valley.

The House Fund is not only related to the Berkeley community through the companies it decided to invest in to fuel their growth: the structure of the fund itself relies on the talent of Cal alumni who have decided to give back after graduating. The most recent example comes with the addition of two UC Berkeley alumni who are joining the initiative as part-time partners: Jason Wang, Co-Founder of Caviar which was acquired by Square for $100 million in stock, and Brett Wilson, founder and CEO of TubeMogul.

The House Fund credibility has also been boosted by the distinguished limited partners that have joined its ranks, ranging from Sherpa Ventures Managing Partner Sherwin Pishevar to former Venrock General Partner Terry Garnett, both former Berkeley students as well.

Albeit all of this bootstrapped momentum, it is important to recognize that garnering institutional support has never been more important to increase the impact of such a venture in an ecosystem as big as the Berkeley. It is in this context that the Cal Regent’s Finance Committee decided on its last meeting to commit an undisclosed amount that could be up to $3 million dollars to increase the capitalization of the new organization. The resources will be channeled from the $25 million that the University has set apart to form the UC Ventures Fund, which targets companies affiliated with the UC system across its its campuses in California. This is a crucial step into effectively making UC Berkeley a limited partner who ties its own success to its community.

The team is now on the lookout for the 50 most promising startups who are eager to reshape the face of industries in exchange for mentoring and financing.
Interested in learning more? – Visit The House Fund