Abree Murch AVG Blog February 28, 2019

Get to Know the First Check Fund

Meet five industry-changing companies from our portfolio

First Checks, Big Moves

February 28, 2019 | Abree Murch

Venture capital firms like to make a big deal about exits (for obvious reasons!), but at the First Check Fund, we’re just as excited about celebrating a great entrance. Our fund is made up of portfolio companies taking their first rounds of investment, getting the “first check” that paves the way for expansion, innovation, and long-term success. The individual investors that put capital into our First Check Fund have a direct impact on our portfolio companies and the wider world, fueling innovation that supports the hard workers, go-getters, savvy spenders, and talented creators.

We’re pleased to introduce to you a few of the portfolio companies making life better for everyone. Someday you’ll be able to say, “I knew them before they got famous.”

GoGig  – If you’re curious about the job market but want to avoid an awkward conversation with your boss, the anonymous search app GoGig offers stealthy searching, and some truly innovative AI-powered features. The GoGig algorithm actually works to make better employment matches in terms of culture fit and work style. Geolocation makes it easy to get discovered by recruiters close to home, and analytics help you fine-tune your profile to bring in the best possible matches and opportunities, so you can find a new job quickly and on your own terms.


Rize – No matter where you are headed in your financial journey, Rize wants to help you get there. Bringing together a streamlined platform for savings, checking, and investment, the Rize app was built around the premise that “saving should be simple and investing shouldn’t be rocket science.” While the app itself is geared toward simplicity and financial literacy, their blog and newsletter also feature investment and savings advice for planners at all life stages and income levels.

Oxygen – The “gig economy” is booming, with more than one third of Americans working outside the traditional 9 to 5, according to Forbes. While work life has evolved, this has created the need for a new generation of gig-optimized apps and services. Oxygen has answered this call with financial tools and lending geared toward freelancers that need accessible, affordable, and streamlined banking & loans. Whether you’re rocking a side-hustle or gigging as your sole source of income, this platform and its well-designed UX will bring ease and balance to running your business. The company is currently operating in California, with plans to expand to all 50 states.


GridWise – If you want to drive for a living without it driving you crazy, check out GridWise. This analytics and crowdsourcing companion app keeps rideshare drivers (Uber, Lyft, etc.) ahead of the curve with comprehensive information on driving conditions, event times, airport pick-up queues and landing times, downtime reduction, and performance analytics, so you can make the most of your time and your money behind the wheel. In fact, GridWise users increase their earnings by as much as 39% per hour when they use the app. It even keeps track of your mileage and earnings, so you can cruise through tax time.


We can’t wait to see what these portfolio companies will achieve in the coming months and years. We are proud to partner in their success, and hope you’ll consider partnering with us as an individual investor.

If you’re interested in learning more about investing in startups with the First Check Fund, click here.

Ready To Join The AVG Community?

Related + Next Steps

Purple Arch Ventures Portfolio Update
In this video, the Purple Arch Ventures team (Alumni Ventures' fund for Northwestern alumni...
Take a Closer Look at the Diversification of the Emerging Markets Fund
The Emerging Markets Fund closes on June 30! See how the diversification of the Emerging Markets...
Alumni Ventures Portfolio Companies in the Forbes Next 1000 (So Far)
Learn more about the Alumni Ventures portfolio companies that made it into the 2021 Forbes'...