Open Fields Entrepreneurs Fund
The OFEF at Carnegie Mellon University is a new, groundbreaking model for providing early-stage business financing to Carnegie Mellon alumni who have graduated within the past five years. The OFEF is not a business plan competition in which only entrepreneurs with the best ideas receive funding. Instead, it's open to recent CMU graduates who have the desire to become entrepreneurs and to contribute to the university’s innovation ecosystem.
Selected companies receive $50,000 from the OFEF and must raise an additional $50,000 matching investment to be eligible. In addition to financial support, OFEF recipients also gain access to other funding sources, receive personalized mentoring, an invitation to attend an annual OFEF business conference and receive legal and accounting support for their startups.
The first investment will be made in February or March. Investments will be made twice a year. We will annouce an investment schedule in the future.
The OFEF invests $50,000 per successful applicant in the form of a convertible note.
Eligibility & Required Documents:
You must be a recent Carnegie Mellon University Graduate within the last five years. You must also commit to use an OFEF mentor and attend the annual OFEF business conference.
We require each company to submit three documents: a Certificate of Incorporation (US), a Cap Table and a Letter of Commitment for $50,000 of matching cash investment.
For your Letter of committment, the OFEF will only close on its investment simultaneously with your matching investor. The matching investor can be a third party (angel, VC, company, etc.) or it can be you or your family. However, it must be a cash investment in the same convertible note instrument that the OFEF uses.
The OFEF Application Process:
Step 1 - Complete the OFEF Online Application on this website.
Step 2 – The OFEF Advisory Committee will review applications and choose finalists. You will be notified of your application status.
Step 3 – The finalists will have the opportunity to give a presentation of their business to the OFEF Advisory Committee.
Step 4 – The OFEF Advisory Committee will recommend investments be made in successful finalists.
Step 5 – The companies recommended by the OFEF Advisory Committee will complete due diligence and investment documentation with the OFEF Managing Director.
Questions? Contact Us.
How many times a year does the OFEF invest?
The OFEF plans invest twice a year with the first investment being made in February or March.
When is the application deadline?
We will announce an investment schedule in the future.
When do I need to raise my matching funds?
You must submit a letter of commitment from another investor for $50,000 in matching funds at the time your application is submitted. The OFEF will close on the investment simultaneously with the matching investor.
How does the OFEF choose who receives the investments?
The applications are screened for completeness and eligibility. From eligible applicants, the OFEF Advisory Committee will choose finalists. The finalists will present in front of the Advisory Committee (live or electronic). Successful finalists will receive the investments.
What is the investment vehicle?
OFEF investments will be made by convertible note.
Can I receive additional funding from the OFEF?
No. The OFEF investment is meant as a seed investment to help you start your business. We expect you to seek additional funding from other angel and VC investors.
Who is the OFEF Advisory Committee?
The OFEF Advisory Committee makes decisions on who receives OFEF investments. It includes CMU alumni, CMU executives, and other friends of the CMU community.
Am I still eligible if my co-founder is not part of the Carnegie Mellon community or graduated more than five years ago?
Can I apply more than once?