Founded in 2013, the Rebel Venture Fund is UNLV’s Venture Capital fund that makes equity investments in private high-growth companies throughout Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. The fund invests in startups at every stage and provides knowledge, resources, and support to the growing tech and small business community in Nevada.
Interestingly, unlike many other university VC funds, the Rebel Venture Fund is entirely student lead and run. Students work closely with entrepreneurs and leaders in the business community to conduct screenings, due diligence, investments, negotiations, and close deals. The fund provides experiential learning opportunities for UNLV students through participation in real world venture capital funding.
In addition to having strong ties and relationships with business leaders, investors, and professionals in the community, the Rebel Venture Fund is supported by the UNLV Center for Entrepreneurship.
“Our mission is to support the Las Vegas community, better connect its people, and provide resources to entrepreneurs and the community,” said Vincent Kwan, Executive Director of the Rebel Venture Fund.
This summer, the group wanted to focus on this mission and become more involved in the community.
“We formed an outreach team,” explained Kwan. “During one of our weekly meetings, we brainstormed all the different ways we could put ourselves out there and get a chance to meet the people that are making a difference in the Las Vegas entrepreneurial and tech scene.”
The team developed the idea of #VentureFriday, a chance for attendees to meet and network with experienced entrepreneurs, angel investors, and members of the Las Vegas community. Community members who attend the event can hear advice about their company, discuss what investors seek in good deals, or learn what goes into making a great pitch.
The first #VentureFriday event will take place Friday, August 26, 2016 at Tenaya Creek Brewery Registration and details here.
“The best way we thought of was to host events every month, inviting anyone to come and hang out in a casual environment, to just chat, meet some awesome people, and get to know each other,” said Kwan. “Oftentimes, people feel that investors or VCs can be scary or intimidating. We didn’t want to give that impression. Unlike other VCs, we are a student-led fund out of UNLV. More than anything, we want to help the community, see Las Vegas grow, and show students that Las Vegas has many more opportunities for innovation than they may think.”
The goal of the event is to connect the community, as well as provide a comfortable space for knowledge share. The Rebel Venture Fund aims to become more involved in the community and get a chance to meet passionate, entrepreneurial people in the Las Vegas community.
“Oftentimes for students, it is easy to get caught up and comfortable being in a classroom environment and in a “bubble”. One of the main goals of the Rebel Venture Fund is to give student real life venture capital and investing experiences,” said Kwan. “While it is easy to just look at companies on a piece of paper, review their applications, documents, etc. The reality is that there is much more to a company and the people behind it. We want to give our members opportunities to meet with and interact with real entrepreneurs, investors, and experienced individuals in the community.”
Kwan reminds those interested in attending that #VentureFriday is open to everyone – not just the tech and startup community.
“We encourage you to bring your friends, family, colleague, business partner, etc,” he said. “The event is focused and catered to the tech and entrepreneurial communities here in Las Vegas. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, or a seasoned CEO running a successful company, we encourage everyone to attend. You will get a chance to meet other passionate and like-minded individuals who may have already gone through some of the issues that you are dealing with and they will be able to offer some great advice. This is a great chance to just get connected and involved to start building your network and community here in Las Vegas.”
Moving forward, the Rebel Venture Fund team will host #VentureFriday on the last Friday of every month.
“We also plan to collaborate with other UNLV schools in planning events during the year, and hosting some of our own,” said Kwan. “Please visit our website to check for upcoming events and subscribe on our website to receive our monthly newsletter and get updates. Fall semester is also starting soon. We are making an effort to recruit more talented and passionate students to join the Rebel Venture Fund. If you are a student and interested in joining, look out for our emails and our recruiting event on campus on September 9, 2016, and apply to be a part of the Rebel Venture Fund.”