About BRV

Early-stage venture capital fund run by Cornell MBA students.

Big Red Ventures (BRV) is an early-stage venture capital fund operated entirely by a team of MBA students and other Graduate Students at Cornell University. Founded in 2001, BRV is one of the oldest student-run venture funds. BRV 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 a true evergreen fund, recycling all proceeds for reinvestment. Along with investing start-up capital in promising new companies, BRV also serves as the gateway to Cornell technologies by providing its investment partners unique access to new innovations.

The Cornell Connection

BRV draws upon the formidable resources of Cornell – an unrivaled institution with 13 colleges and schools and more than 100 research centers and programs that ranks 11th among U.S. universities in total R&D expenditures and 18th in federally financed R&D. The university’s not-for-profit Cornell Research Foundation evaluates and provides technology transfer for inventions stemming from Cornell research.

The Cornell community produces more than 200 patentable ideas each year–opportunities in a vast range of areas, including microfluidics, nanofabrication and advanced materials, environmental remediation, biomedical devices, veterinary medicine, pain treatment, agriculture, textiles, and gene therapy.

Investment Process

Deal Sourcing

Our BRV team in New York City and Ithaca sources deals through personal connections, industry events, pitch competitions and through word of mouth in the NYC tech community.

Due Diligence

BRV allows 40+ MBA students to learn and take part in the due diligence process of evaluating prospective investments. Therefore, our investments typically take two to three months to close.

Investment Decision

Once an MBA student team has performed due diligence and made a final investment recommendation, the deal is sent to the BRV Fund Managers and Advisors to finalize the investment decision.

Measure and Consult

Once an investment is made, we can connect our portfolio companies to value-added consulting services from Cornell University and the Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Our Value to Portfolio Companies

BRV provides more than just financial capital. A BRV investment puts the intellectual assets of one of the largest research institutions at the disposal of our portfolio companies. In addition, BRV has cultivated relationships with top-tier venture capital partners, helping our portfolio companies access the financial resources and relationships necessary to execute their business strategies and create winning companies. BRV views itself as a facilitator and enabler, purposefully structuring its investments with the needs of subsequent and follow-on investors in mind.

“BR Venture Fund has worked with SightSpeed since its inception and followed through with an investment. This organization is the best kind of investor because it acts to make things happen.”–Brad Treat, ’02, CEO SightSpeed

Current Students at Johnson at Cornell

A cornerstone of the Johnson School experience, BRV exemplifies the School’s tradition of combining rigorous business training with hands-on practice. BRV managers are second-year MBA students already thoroughly versed in venture capital and entrepreneurship. As first-year students, they serve as BRV associates, conducting deal sourcing and due diligence for the Fund. Managers and associates also gain valuable experience through their immersions and directed studies, typically focused on entrepreneurship, venture capital and private equity. As a result, BRV portfolio companies gain a competitive advantage from talented students, and Johnson School MBAs graduate with an experience superior to that of peer business schools.

BRV’s team of MBA student managers provides an integrated, cross-functional skill set–from finance and accounting to science and engineering–to realize startups’ commercial potential and creative vision. BRV’s unique structure, which grants principal responsibilities to each fund manager, gives the team control over every aspect of the Fund.

Fund managers, often with the help of Associates, execute each step of the venture capital process:

  • Sourcing investment opportunities
  • Performing due diligence
  • Making investment decisions
  • Negotiating term sheets
  • Guiding transaction through closing
  • Managing all operations of the Fund
  • Managing relationships with portfolio companies and investment partners
  • Leveraging Cornell’s vast resources to add value to portfolio companies