Big Red Ventures showcases portfolio at Annual Meeting
By Leigh Toerper
Big Red Ventures (BRV), Cornell’s early-stage venture capital fund, showcased the student-run portfolio and highlighted 2022-23 investments during the Annual Meeting on April 20 at Cornell Tech.
BRV, a fund operated by MBA and graduate students at Cornell University, typically invests up to $25,000 in U.S.-based, high-growth companies across all industries. Initially funded by donations to Cornell University, BRV is an evergreen fund that recycles all proceeds for reinvestment. BRV also serves as the gateway to Cornell technologies through the Investor Network, which provides investment partners with unique access to new innovations.
The Annual Meeting opened with a welcome from Greg Morrisett, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean and Vice Provost at Cornell Tech. Morrisett shared the unique opportunity BRV presents for MBA students on the Ithaca and New York City campuses.
“BRV and Cornell Tech have almost everything in common,” Morrisett said. “Here at Cornell Tech, we focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. We are elated to bring the Annual Meeting to our New York City campus, as the venture fund is one of the few opportunities for students on the Ithaca and New York campuses to collaborate and work together.”
MBA student and BRV Fund Manager James Carnes shared updates on the fund, investor network and fund manager team, also summarizing 2022-23 in review. Since 2001, more than 800 Cornell MBA students have participated in BRV, successfully overseeing 11 exits and 13 portfolio companies. The 2022-23 team of fund managers and associates screened over 200 companies, performed due diligence on 40 and invested in two – SCOUT Space and AtDev.
SCOUT Space COO Vladimir Baranov was in attendance to share the company’s innovation, the world’s first in-space observation system to safeguard orbital infrastructure, and their total addressable market of nearly $30 billion.
“We want to thank BRV for the incredible opportunity to work with SCOUT. We appreciate the breadth of due diligence and quickness of the follow-up throughout the whole process. It was also a great pleasure to present at the annual event, where we got a lot of audience support and additional opportunities for funding,” Baranov said.
Following the SCOUT Space presentation, MBA student and BRV Fund Manager Arvind Venkataraman welcomed Aish Ravindran and Alberto Escarlate to the stage for a fireside chat focused on the current state of investing. Ravindran, the co-founder of MyLUA Health, reflected on her company’s journey to meet milestones and build in a bear market, while Escarlate shared his advice for entrepreneurs entering the funding stage through his experience as the co-head of Startup Studio at Cornell Tech.
“The bear market presents an opportunity to build your business sustainably,” Ravindran said. “We have mechanisms that we have put in place that help us have very clear milestones. Our realistic and attainable projections make our business model and go-to-market strategy more important than ever.”
After the formal event, current and future fund managers connected with the audience during a networking session. This allowed fund managers to elaborate on BRV, the screening process and investment decisions with attendees.