Ever wanted to learn how to launch a business, explore your creativity, and experience what it’s like to build a business plan, investment pitch, and meet new friends? Well you can at the upcoming Startup Weekend Charleston, starting up on October 28th!
Many successful ventures came from big dreams and smart bets on new technology. Take St. Francis High School in Silicon valley, who recently hit it big by parlaying a $15,000 investment in Snap, the company that developed the Snapchat app, into a windfall of at least $24 million.
Capitalizing on a unique venture capital fund set up by the school’s investment-savvy parents, the fund paid off when the company began selling shares to the public, when the school cashed in on about 1.4 million of the 2.1 million shares at $17 each. St. Francis High School launched the venture fund in 1990 at the urging of two of the many venture capitalists with children attending the school. The school takes a small sliver of a venture capitalist’s bigger investment in a startup company, most likely as a charitable offset for the VC. School educators say they know of no other school with a similar fundraising scheme.
Certainly, few schools, if any, have that sort of advantage, said Stephen Andriole, a professor of business, accountancy and information systems at the Villanova School of Business in Pennsylvania. While the school has declined to disclose the size of the school’s venture fund, it has been reported that it currently holds investments in about a dozen other companies. Generally, the windfall will enable the school to offer scholarships, retain faculty and improve facilities. Before the Snap investment, the school’s biggest profit from single investment was $2 million, and the school has not released any metrics about their total portfolio return. But given their location, and the educated advice of school parents, I’m sure they’ll be able to keep the lights on for their next pep rally – highlights I’m sure can be seen to be seen on Snapchat.