Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

HUCP and the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Ecosystem – Story of Us

Harvard Undergraduate Capital Partners (HUCP) is a selective undergraduate organization which aims to change the way venture capital interacts with universities. Primarily, HUCP pairs undergraduate students with established venture capital firms. From there, the students have a responsibility to “source”, or find, potential investments for these firms. From when they were initially founded in just 2019, they’ve grown to boast 50+ clients who cover $27B+ AUM. So, how exactly did HUCP achieve this success? Since venture capital firms typically invest in early stage companies, HUCP was founded under the thesis that college students have a vast network of entrepreneurship and valuable insight into where/when the next big company may emerge. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg when he was just a Sophomore at Harvard, and Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard after just two years to start Microsoft, so the idea that college students may be the closest to the next frontier of technology is more likely than not. So, large venture capital companies such as Sequoia and Bessemer have taken a bet on college student’s ability to source and paired with HUCP to provide them with the next revolutionary technology. 

While HUCP does an excellent job of training and educating new members to the club on techniques, the act of sourcing new prospect investments is a difficult skill to acquire. Oftentimes, students rely on word-of-mouth to source new companies. However, word-of-mouth can be an unreliable and informal tactic to discover the next high-growth company. The root of this issue is broader than just on the undergraduate level. In 2010, 44% of executives at top firms said that professional relationships are the most important process in deal sourcing (The Deal & Merrill Datasite, 2010). Sourcing has become one of the few core aspects of investing without a broad stroke technique– there’s rarely a single database with every collegiate startup. Social networks such as LinkedIn provide some insight, but even these are not specific to just entrepreneurs and often miss major new companies. So, I set out in my data collection to answer the question: How can undergraduates most effectively source high-growth companies?

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