CMU’s Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund provides recent grads with early-stage business financing

I wanted to let you all know about an exciting new program at Carnegie Mellon that will be of great interest to our IW, AlphaLab, and i6 portfolio companies whose co-founders are recent graduates of Carnegie Mellon.


Carnegie Mellon’s Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund (OFEF) is a new, groundbreaking model for providing early-stage business financing to CMU alumni who are driving innovation. The OFEF is open to all CMU graduates from the past five years who have the desire to become entrepreneurs.


OFEF enables recent CMU graduates to follow their entrepreneurial dreams. We give them a viable alternative to following the standard path to building a career. We empower them to create their own ultimate job and career, and we nurture their unique, trailblazing ideas with financial support and expert advice.


Selected companies will receive $50,000 from the OFEF and must raise an additional $50,000 matching investment to be eligible. In addition to financial support, OFEF recipients also gain access to other potential funding sources, receive personalized mentoring and are invited to attend an annual OFEF business conference hosted by Jonathan Kaplan (TPR’90), OFEF creator, former CEO of Pure Digital (Flip video) and five-time entrepreneur.


In the last 15 years alone, CMU’s faculty and students have helped create 300 companies and 9,000 jobs. Alumni have created many more. Groundbreaking companies, such as Lycos, Akamai, Pure Digital, Datek Online, FORE Systems, Spinnaker Networks, Carnegie Learning, Aspect Development, ModCloth and Dynamics have changed our lives. OFEF aims to help seed the next generation of innovative companies. By investing in our recent graduates, we create a virtuous cycle that connects resources at CMU, our alumni and experienced entrepreneurs to further enhance the value of the CMU alumni network.


The application deadline for the inaugural OFEF class is January 31, 2012. To apply, visit