First Check Fund FAQs

The Most Common Questions from Our Investors

Our fund offers you a smart, simple way to invest in seed stage deals. We provide investors with a diversified portfolio of about 30-40 seed investments, distributed across sector and geography. We do our homework, rely on solid investing fundamentals, perform our own due diligence, and consult experts. We also reserve approximately 50% of the fund for follow-on investments to chase winners. The minimum investor amount is $50k; the maximum is $1M.

Yes, to some extent, but many of the deals we see are not widely circulated. Most seed stage deals are locally funded. Our First Check Fund, in contrast, relies on a nationwide network, giving you access to deals beyond your city or state. Further, we offer rigorous winnowing, careful vetting, analysis, and portfolio diversity. We think that this is the smartest, simplest way for most individuals to invest in seed stage deals.

When we invest, we seek to do so alongside experienced, informed investors, including tested entrepreneurs and angel groups. Our scout network and deep connections at accelerators and incubators through our alumni funds enables this co-investment strategy.

That is not how this fund operates. You are investing in a portfolio fund of seed stage deals. Most early stage founders want a limited group of trusted, well-known investor groups, and don’t have the bandwidth to deal with individual investors.   

Our fund has a full-time team of two portfolio professionals—a Managing Partner and a Principal or Vice President—with significant venture investing experience. This team is complemented by an Investment Committee, Advisory Board, and multiple Fellows who assist in finding deals, analyzing them, and researching the market.

When the fund has a liquidity event, we send distribution checks to investors as soon as the funds are available.

Alumni Ventures Group is the management company for all our funds. You can see the full fund list on the Alumni Ventures Group website.

The SEC defines an accredited investor as someone who (a) has earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year, OR (b) has a net worth over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence). Further details are available here.

Seed stage investments offer great rewards, along with commensurate risk. While many startups fail, seed stage investors can realize large gains on winners. Our fund’s strategy of keeping significant reserves to chase winners helps us maximize gains. Almost every major new company (Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc.) started as a seed stage venture that raised seed capital. Our goal is to invest in the next generation of difference-making companies that are being formed today.

Investing in seed stage companies involves significant risk, including the loss of capital. It’s not for everyone. To manage the risk, we offer a large, diversified portfolio of investments. According to modern portfolio theory, that’s the best way to maximize return at a given level of risk.

Our funds source investments through our team’s research, referrals by other AVG funds, via our community of supporters, and through collaborative professional relationships with other early stage investors and deal sources. Currently, we review about 30 investment opportunities for every one that we add to the portfolio.

We start with a broad funnel, allowing us to choose the best deals that we see. We research each investment and produce a due diligence report. Normally, we meet every few weeks with our experienced Investment Committee. Key considerations for deals are strong co-investors, market opportunity, meaningful job to be done, appropriate seed fund structure, team, appropriate level of commitment (not more than 10% of a round).

Our fees are industry standard: a 2% annual management fee used to cover business costs each year of the 10-year life of the fund and 20% carry. There are no additional fees or expenses associated with investing through us.  If some deals take longer than 10 years to exit, you will not be charged, and we will continue to follow companies until they have fully exited. If you are investing via a trust or retirement vehicle, your account managers will likely charge you fees for setting up and maintaining those accounts.

Simply put: Low Friction, Large Rolodex. We offer a streamlined process and rapid funding. We don’t take Board seats or negotiate terms, and can offer the connections and resources of our large community. Many entrepreneurs view our alumni groups, representing top schools, as value-added investors and have sought us out or expanded rounds to make room for us. By regularly publishing fund updates to our ever-growing networks, we’re spreading the word to an exclusive community of sophisticated investors, well-connected professionals, and talented potential employees.

Lead investors appreciate our involvement for several reasons: Our checks are helpful but not competitive and we fund quickly with little fuss if we decide to do a deal. Finally, we can help them by sharing deals and by providing important contacts and relationships to the portfolio companies. Many lead investors are classmates or professional connections and see us as value-added investors.

Our investment minimum is $50K and the maximum is $1M. The Managing Partner may make exceptions to those rules. 

Yes. We work with a third party who sets up an IRA on an investor’s behalf and manages all administration. Monies can be transferred without penalty or without jeopardizing tax-deferred status and then invested in a fund “for the benefit of” the investor.  A small annual maintenance fee is typically charged by the third-party provider.

The AVG First Check Fund portfolio is created for investors by our team—investors do not pick and choose. 

We provide a K-1 by the end of March each year.

You can access information about your portfolio 24/7 via our secure online Investor Portal. There you’ll find details about portfolio composition, valuation, statements, company updates, and your tax docs.

Yes, institutions can invest in any of our focused funds.

Simply put: Low Friction, Large Rolodex. We offer a streamlined process and rapid funding. We don’t take Board seats or negotiate terms, and can offer the connections and resources of our large community. Many entrepreneurs view our alumni groups, representing top schools, as value-added investors and have sought us out or expanded rounds to make room for us. By regularly publishing fund updates to our ever-growing networks, we’re spreading the word to an exclusive community of sophisticated investors, well-connected professionals, and talented potential employees.

We look for strong co-investors with expertise in a sector, a top-flight team, aligned incentives, and traditional indicators that this is a good investment and mutually beneficial partnership.

Our investments are generally from $50K-500K, with the opportunity for more funding through follow-on investments.

Submit your information on the Alumni Ventures Group entrepreneurs page.

We welcome supporters who are interested in what we’re doing. Our greatest source of investor, deals, and consultant referrals comes from our global network of supporters. To stay in touch, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletters, mobile app, and podcast.

The Venture Fellow Program is designed for distinguished young professionals who want an inside look at venture investing and entrepreneurial careers. In exchange for a modest weekly time commitment helping the funds do outreach and research deals, Fellows get a valuable experience and professional entry point into VC. The work is remote and on your own schedule. For more about the program, go to the Alumni Ventures Group Venture Fellow Program page.

Yes. Please visit the AVG website to learn more.

The Resource Connector is a self-service database of alumni and fund investors who have listed themselves or their businesses as resources for entrepreneurs. Please visit the AVG website to learn more.

Alumni Ventures Group is developing a program with introductory courses to VC for interested investors. The courses will be free, open to all, and aimed at helping investors better understand the asset class. Please visit the AVG website to learn more.

We offer a monthly newsletter. We also offer a mobile app, with regular updates on our portfolio companies. In addition, we have a podcast which introduces listeners to our portfolio companies, fund managers, other professional VCs, and more. Please visit the AVG website to learn more.