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~~// Welcome to 99 Tartans //~~
We are a syndicate of Carnegie Mellon University Alumni investing in early-stage CMU-affiliated startups.
I recently sold my startup. Now, I have the privilege of being back on campus as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to mentor aspiring founders. This brings me into contact with amazing research and great founders working on truly unique applications. I started this syndicate to share the investments I am making with other CMU alumni around the world.
Each year CMU students, professors, and staff launch 20 – 30 new ventures. Many of these spin-offs are based on industry-leading intellectual property developed on campus. Many go on to become household names such as Anki, Birchbox, Duolingo, ModCloth (acquired by Jet), and Nowait (my startup, acquired by Yelp). See more CMU startups on Crunchbase:
We use the Angel List syndicate model with a $5K minimum per deal investment. We encourage alumni to make multiple small investments each year. I personally invest in each deal. There is no membership fee or management fee to participate. There is the standard 20% carry on returns. 10% goes to the Deal Lead, and 10% goes to the 99 Tartans (organization) for operating expenses.
We seek a $75k – $200K investment allocation per deal with follow-on rights. Investments are opt-in deal by deal. Members are asked to make at least one investment per year to stay in good standing.
What we look for in 99 Tartan investments:
1) Market: Large and growing addressable markets or high-value problem to solve. A believable answer to, "How does this get massive?"
2) Team: Passionate, coachable founder(s) with deep empathy for their customers. Demonstrated product proof points. LEAN, Focus, and Hustle.
3) Tech: Technology innovation rooted in next-generation technologies. All the stuff CMU is known for: Robotics, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Human-Computer Design, Advanced Materials, Security.
4) Timing: A believable answers to, "Why now? What recently change makes this possible?
Members are encouraged to bring CMU-affiliated startups to the syndicate lead for investment consideration.
*99 Tartans is independent of and not affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University.