Chestnut Street Ventures is a venture fund composed of University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) alumni who invest in UPenn alumni-led companies. Its premise is simple: UPenn alumni who invest together can have a greater impact that investing individually.
Their two-person team of Managing Partner Gail Ball and Vice President Ven Raju are both alumni of UPenn and have extensive experience in the field of finance. They made The Mill their home from the beginning with Gail joining in February 2017, followed by Ven in May.
Since starting in early 2017, Chestnut Street Ventures has wrapped up its first fund where they raised $4 million and invested in 20 companies. These include companies in industries such as EdTech, machine learning, furniture, e-commerce, healthcare IT, FinTech, and entertainment. “We have been raising for our second fund and we will be opening to investors and begin our investment-making in February 2018,” according to Gail.
When Gail isn’t travelling around the country meeting with colleagues, she spends a lot of time in The Mill’s conference rooms doing video conference calls with community members and teammates. “On those rare moments when a colleague comes from out of town, we can either reserve a conference room for them all day or use the comfortable open spaces,” she says.
Spending the day speaking with potential investors and entrepreneurs requires a lot of fuel. “We are both all day long coffee drinkers,” says Gail, “so [The Mill’s] kitchen and coffee are key!”
The Mill’s design is a huge plus for the team as well. “The historical design elements of The Mill really resonate with me,” says Gail who currently lives in a 250-year-old paper mill converted to housing in the late 80s.