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With preppy good looks and a casual confidence, Hugo Van Vuuren moves effortlessly among the student body at Harvard University, buttonholing undergrads in the Yard or holding court in a Harvard Square coffee shop.
But Van Vuuren, 29, isn’t a student, nor faculty member. He’s a venture capitalist with office hours on campus.
From an outpost inside Harvard’s School of Engineering, Van Vuuren administers the Experiment Fund, a roughly $10 million investment pool backed by successful venture capitalists who are Harvard graduates themselves. The university allowed the alumni to open shop on campus as part of a broader campaign to promote entrepreneurship, and also to prevent another Mark Zuckerberg from dropping out of Harvard and starting a successful business elsewhere—as Zuckerberg did with Facebook nearly a decade ago.