Genesis brings students and alumni together to live out UT Austin’s mission statement: what starts here changes the world. Built on a proven Venture Capital model, alumni and students work side by side in a powerful, hands on partnership to find deals, conduct due diligence, and invest real money in real startups founded by their peers. Through Genesis, students are enabled to start their companies, build prototypes, and experience learning both sides of the investment table. Because of Genesis, UT has a platform to attract and develop the best and brightest students around the world, and Austin has a powerful engine to drive economic development in Texas.
Genesis is open to every full-time, enrolled student across UT Austin: all 50,000+ Undergraduate, Masters, and PhD students pursuing any degree are eligible to apply for funding or a role on the Genesis team.
The funding process begins with the application and a pitch to the Genesis team. Then, should you proceed, your venture will go through an extensive due diligence process. At any point in the timeline, the deal process can be stopped if the venture does not fit our investment criteria. Genesis reviews applications on a rolling basis, meaning students can apply anytime.
Genesis invests time, talent, and money in every portfolio company. The amount of each resource invested depends on the specific needs of the startup. Capital investments generally range from $500 to $5,000, and even higher for certain startups with good traction and ambitious goals. Startups can also engage Genesis for follow-on funding after completing significant progress milestones.
Today, Genesis is focused on long term economic impact and does not take an equity stake. For example, some Genesis portfolio companies have gone on to raise 50 times what we originally funded and hired many talented Longhorns for their companies. That said, if you're building a great startup, we encourage you to learn more about the value of equity investments in your company. It's a good thing, especially when you have well aligned investors and use straightforward instruments like SAFEs.
As a founder and leader of your company, you get to choose what to share and what to keep proprietary when talking to investors. Regarding NDAs, Venture Capital firms often will not sign such documents as they see so many deals that it would be challenging or even crippling to do so. Similar to real-world Venture Capital firms, Genesis believes it is execution, not just an idea, that demonstrates the potential of leaders and a business. We trust you, the founders, to make decisions on what is worth sharing when we are considering investment.
Key signs that a founding team and venture are not ready for funding include, but are not limited to, a lack of true interest in solving a meaningful problem, the inability to articulate milestones effectively, outsourcing critical roles in the startup, and simply burning cash to get customers via marketing budgets.
Yes! Several companies in our portfolio were initially rejected. Don't be shy – some of our most successful companies applied for funding multiple times before joining the portfolio. We love to see that kind of grit. Genesis can also support your venture in other ways that do not require capital.
Yes! Genesis believes it is important for the founding team to build the product themselves, and it is great if you have learned how to leverage new tools like GPT to compile your architecture, leverage wet labs as a service, or other advanced approaches to solve meaningful problems. We highly recommend founding teams do not outsource the true core build efforts of their business and instead encourage them to recruit founding members to execute on product development.
Whether you have just an idea and some teammates, or an active business in the market generating revenue, we want to hear from you. Genesis invests in startups at many different stages of development. Just be ready to share why the problem you are solving is important, and what you plan to do about it.
This varies by startup, but our average timeline is about 4 weeks from your pitch to a funding decision. For example, it can take longer if we need to learn more in due diligence, if your startup needs to clarify goals, or if you need time to think about strategy.
Genesis leverages real-world Venture Capital caliber due diligence to make informed decisions and commitments to every startup funded. Our process is similar to what your startup will experience when speaking to world class investors, and it is rigorous and rewarding to founders truly committed to their companies. The Genesis leadership team, which consists of student leaders on campus and highly accomplished alumni, collaborate to conduct in-depth due diligence on companies that apply for funding. Due diligence includes elements such as problem assessment, market viability, product evaluation, business strategy, competitor analysis, team and vision, among many other facets. Genesis invests in companies in which founding teams have displayed dedication to their venture as a true startup opportunity.