EP 19: Why MIT Alums Have a Competitive Advantage in VC

Chris Sklarin | Managing Partner of Castor Ventures

Chris Sklarin, Managing Partner of Castor Ventures—a fund investing for and in MIT alumni—shares why VC deals are so competitive and how being MIT-connected gives entrepreneurs and investors newfound access.


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Disclaimer: This is not a solicitation to sell securities, which is only done through appropriate disclosure documents and only to appropriately qualified investors.

Episode Summary

According to Chris Sklarin, Managing Partner of Castor Ventures, the best deals are competitive. Though Castor Ventures often writes the smallest check in a VC round, their team gets into deals because of the impact they can make in other ways. Portfolio companies enjoy a variety of services, including access to a network of MIT-connected individuals that can facilitate introductions to key talent, industry experts, and strategic partners.

On the other side of the equation, investors in Castor Ventures get access to VC deals that are potentially lucrative as well as life-changing — literally. RapidSOS, for example, provides a life-saving data link from any connected device to first responders. Vesper offers the first MEMS microphone that is rugged enough to withstand water and other real-world uses while still providing an acoustically rich experience. Those are just two examples of the highly diverse 20 – 30 MIT-connected companies that investors will add to their portfolio (and potentially profit from).

Speaking about Castor’s investments, Chris says, “They’re MIT technology companies. They have MIT folks on the management, investing, or advising teams. I feel like they’re just some of the most talented and hardworking entrepreneurs in the world.”

Listen to this podcast if you want to learn more about Castor Ventures. You’ll also discover how the team is now investing alongside some of the biggest VC firms in the industry, as well as company-owned funds such as the Amazon Alexa Fund, Bose Ventures, and others.

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Founders and Funders is a podcast where we discuss how entrepreneurs and investors work together to build great companies. Our guests — many of whom are connected with AVG as entrepreneurs, investors, managing partners, fellows, and more — are invited here to talk about the journey of building companies from incubation to early-stage investing and beyond.

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