Top 10 Takeaways From the 2023 Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum
Green D Managing Partner Laura (Bordewieck) Rippy (D '89, P '26) shares 10 takeaways from the recent Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum
The Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors to network, exchange ideas, and promote entrepreneurship and innovation within the Dartmouth community.
The energy of the annual Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF) in San Francisco was amazing.
We heard from new Dartmouth President Sian Beilock in her first broad alumni outing. Two new inductees into the Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame inspired us: Steve Hafner D ’91 (CEO of Kayak) and Jim Coulter D ’82 (CEO of Texas Pacific Group). Myriad panels, mentor sessions, discussion groups, and organic connections unfurled with the best of Dartmouth’s warmth.
Our Top 10 Takeaways From This Year’s DEF
#1: Sian Beilock Rocks
OMG. We are fans. So smart, insightful, and a great leader. She is unabashedly planning to take Dartmouth to #1. Sign us up.
#2: Dartmouth Founders are #4 Nationally
Per Pitchbook, measuring how many companies were created per enrolled student, we were ranked #4 this year, going up from #6 a few years ago. We are few but mighty; the focus on entrepreneurship is paying off.
#3: Dartmouth for Life: The DEF is an Archetype
One of President Beilock’s four initiatives is Dartmouth for Life. It recognizes that learning doesn’t end after four years. She also realizes that Dartmouth’s unfair advantage is engaged alumni. The DEF, with the mix of students, alums, and learning, is an archetype of successful Dartmouth for Life events and meaning. So much energy at the event!
#4: One Dartmouth: The Magnuson Center is an Archetype
President Beilock also believes bringing the four grad schools and College together is another unfair advantage for Dartmouth. Magnuson is the archetype for that, with programming that is inclusive by design. At the DEF, all the schools are represented, and everyone is a Dartmouth alum. The distinctions between undergrad and grad school degrees disappear. Note: Green D is like that too! We think of all Dartmouth alums equally when we connect Founders, VCs, and our Community.
#5: Warm Welcome for Green D
We aim to be a helpful part of the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Green D Partner Pete Mathias (D ’09, T ’16) and I were on panels and were mentors in two sessions. We appreciated all the Founders, VCs, and alums who were so fun to talk to and learn from.
#6: Alumni Ventures Fellows Matter
Two past Green D Fellows who have succeeded in Venture are highly visible and accomplished, Kimmy Paluch D ’04 (MP/Founder at seed fund BetaBoom) and Jenieri Cyrus D ’14 (Investor at Urban Innovations). The Alumni Ventures Fellows Program is eight years old, with 500+ graduates (33 from the Dartmouth ecosystem).
#7: In Real Life is Way More Fun
Our current Green D Fellow Katie Goldstein D ’20 helped us organize a lunch with the who’s who of up-and-coming VCs, Founders, and established VCs. We planned for 16 seats (expecting no-shows) and had to add in 7 more. Everyone loved the opportunity to meet 1:1. Outside the day of the DEF, I also met with nine portfolio company CEOs, many for the first time in real life.
#8: New Expertise Areas Emerging for Dartmouth
There are two recent “One Dartmouth” accelerators started by Magnuson. The DIADH (digital health) and Climate accelerators are primed to make Dartmouth a thought leader (Green D is on the Advisory Board for both). The Magnuson Center catalyzed these accelerators, as they did with the Cancer accelerator begun with the Geisel School of Medicine.
#9: “Valley of Death” Is Still an Issue for Very Early Ideas From Dartmouth
The very earliest capital (friends and family) is still a gap for Dartmouth companies. The Tech Transfer office is keenly aware that academic startups can easily get stuck in the “valley of death” (their term) between non-dilutive grants and early VC money. Other schools like Stanford, U Mass Medical, and others have catalyst funding and/or business pitch prep services to bridge the gap. A solution may emerge in Hanover.
#10: Entrepreneurship in the Classroom
For the first time in 2022-23, there were two classes for undergrads, Music & Entrepreneurship and Government & Entrepreneurship. (Green D taught and judged in both classes). This is a big deal to have Magnuson involved in curriculum development. President Beilock even posited a business undergrad minor (with Tuck involved) as a One Dartmouth example. She sees alums teaching in the classrooms as a Dartmouth for Life opportunity. Given that Magnuson and Entrepreneurship are such great examples for President Beilock of where she wants to take Dartmouth, we are highly encouraged.
Join Green D Ventures Fund 10
Green D Ventures allows accredited investors in the Dartmouth community to own a diversified portfolio of ~20-30 venture-backed companies — many with a Dartmouth connection. We are asking for commitments to Green D Fund 10 by September 30, 2023. You can secure your spot in Fund 10 by visiting our secure portal and signing your Subscription Agreement. You can also connect with our team if you have any outstanding questions.