Big Idea Advantage Fund
The Big Idea Advantage Fund is Pitt’s newest opportunity for students to take their big ideas to the next level!
Our goal at the Big Idea Center is to provide students with the opportunity to take their ideas from concept to reality. We are thrilled to be able to take this mission one step further by introducing the Big Idea Advantage Fund! This new investment opportunity is the first of its kind and geared towards students who have an advanced idea and are looking to take that idea to the next step towards startup creation and business growth.
Donors, ranging from former Pitt students to notable entrepreneurs, have formed this fund with the purpose of enabling the University of Pittsburgh to provide cash investments in student startup companies. The Big Idea Advantage Fund will provide investments between $10,000 and $25,000 to Pitt students of any level, freshman to postdoc, from any part of the University.
Who should apply?
Applicants must be current Pitt students with an advanced idea who need additional project funding. It is highly recommended that interested students have participated in at least one or more Big Idea Center, or related, event or program prior to application.
The first round of applications will consist of a document submitted on or before the deadline (see Key Dates below). Screening of the first round to select semi-finalists will be facilitated by the Big Idea Center and will consist of interviews and requests for additional information. Final round teams will present pitches to the investment committee.
- Applications open – Monday, February 22
- Applications close – Monday, March 15 @ 11:59 P.M.
- Semi-finalists selected – Thursday, April 1
- Finalists selected – Monday, April 19
- Investment decision – Friday, May 14
Terms and Important Information for Applicants
Investments into already formed entities, such as LLCs or C Corps, will be in the form of SAFE notes (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) with pre-defined terms. Learn more about SAFE notes here.
A student project which has not yet been formed into an entity will receive a fixed amount of money upfront, payable directly to the student team members or lead student (which may be considered taxable income), to help defray the costs of startup formation. The remaining tranche of the investment will then be made into the corporate entity.
The University will be the shareholder for the investment. The founding donors to the fund will act as advisors and mentors to the startup projects.
Please note that donors of the Big Idea Advantage Fund are not direct investors of the startup.