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Rough Draft Ventures announces student team that will scour campuses for promising startups

Posted by Scott Kirsner  November 7, 2013 07:30 AM

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One of Boston's two student-run seed investing collectives, Rough Draft Ventures, is announcing the team of students that will make investment decisions this year. Rough Draft puts anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 into student-founded tech startups; the money is supplied by Cambridge-based General Catalyst Partners.

Peter Boyce, an associate at General Catalyst who helps oversee Rough Draft, says the student team made 15 investments last year, but are "not announcing all of them yet, as some are remaining stealth." Boyce, a recent Harvard College alum, was part of the student team in 2012-2013, which was Rough Draft's first year of operation.

The first batch of investments included RequestNow, a song requesting service for DJs, and Tessel, an easily-programmable microcomputer that recently raised almost $200,000 on the crowdfunding site Dragon Innovation. Boyce says that the founders Rough Draft has backed have gone on to raise over $3 million in seed funding, and have been accepted to Y Combinator, the first TechStars Chicago class, Summer@Highland, and the Thiel Fellowship.

This year's group has been meeting weekly since mid-September at General Catalyst's Harvard Square offices. Rough Draft is holding a free event for student entrepreneurs this coming Monday.

The team this year includes:

Emma Tangoren — Boston University senior

John Brennan — Tufts University senior

Erica Swallow — MIT Sloan School of Management

Zachary Hamed — Harvard senior

Katie Siegel — MIT sophomore

Kasey Uhlenhuth — Harvard senior

Jacob Mulligan — Northeastern junior

Pratik Agarwal — Harvard Business School

Juliana Nazaré — Olin College senior

Turner Bohlen — MIT senior

I wrote in September about the other student-run investing group, Dorm Room Fund, just spooling up in Boston this year.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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