Welcome to the 1855 Venture Club

Exclusive to Alumni and Friends of Penn State University

Join Your Fellow Penn State Affiliates

We are a venture capital investment club for Alumni and friends of Penn State University. Together we evaluate venture deals, share insights and network with one another. Each Venture Club member has the opportunity to collaborate with other members but makes independent investment decisions. It’s your portfolio, your decision.

This is a smart, simple way to own an asset class missing from many investors’ portfolios – and there’s no charge to be a member.

Learn more about the club

Benefits of Membership

  • Own a venture portfolio. You choose a diversified AVG venture fund in which to invest, then opt into as many or as few of the deals The 1855 Venture Club evaluates.
  • Source deals. You can refer deals you find to The 1855 Venture Club and comment on those that other members find.
  • Network and help build the Penn State entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can regularly network with a distinguished community of Penn State affiliates. Get in on the ground floor of The 1855 Venture Club, and help us realize the vision of forming a full-fledged Penn State Fund!

The 1855 Venture Club has assembled an impressive team of founding investors and advisors. To name just a few, here is a snapshot.



Matt Rhodes is a senior executive with experience ranging from start-up funding and management to leading $1B+ semiconductor business. He has a track record of leading product development teams and business organizations to profitable, market winning positions in hyper-competitive environments. Matt is the Founder and Managing Director of 1855 Capital, a State College, PA based Venture Fund focused on “Investing in the Penn State Community”

Matt is deeply invested in the Penn State community. He is a 1979 graduate of the Eberly College of Science, receiving a BS in Physics while also a member of the Men’s Soccer team. He has been on the College of Science Dean’s advisory board for many years and has participated as a board member for the Penn State Research Foundation where his conviction of the need for local funding sources in the Penn State community first emerged.

Vice President:


Gregory Finn is an experienced and entrepreneurial business development executive having served 25+ years in the high-tech optical/electronic and consumer products industries.  He is driven by technical innovation and its application to real-world markets and has executed vital investment analysis and negotiation roles concerning emerging technology acquisition/monetization, corporate M&A, and other forms of strategic alliances.  He has significant experience in startups, corporate patent strategy development; intellectual property portfolio management/development, and licensing; and investment banking relationship management.

He is a co-founder and VP of Business Development at Rockley Photonics, and an industrial advisory board member of PATHS-UP, a Texas A&M led NSF ERC.

Greg has MS & BS Degrees in Electrical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and studied International Business/Financial Management at Johns Hopkins University.

Founding Member:


John A. Dutton is professor emeritus of meteorology and dean emeritus of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Dutton holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and served for three years as an officer in the Air Weather Service of the U.S. Air Force. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is Chairman and a Senior Scientist of Prescient Weather Ltd., a firm that provides information to assist firms in the management of risk and opportunity that arises from the variability of weather and climate. He has served for some 25 years in the governance of the Mount Nittany Medical Center and its Foundation.