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The  Van Wickle Ventures  Challenge


What is Van Wickle Ventures?

Founded in 2018 with a generous gift from Robert Place ’75 and Erna Place ’76, Van Wickle Ventures is a unique educational program based at the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship that allows Brown students to develop first-hand knowledge of how early-stage ventures are financed. Students make real investment decisions with real money. A pool of capital allows students to invest in early-stage ventures, working in consultation with faculty, staff, and an alumni investment committee. The fund operates as an “evergreen” entity, meaning that any returns generated go back into the fund to support future investments and investment education. The account is managed by the University’s investment office.

After two years of demonstrated investment success, Van Wickle Ventures is seeking additional funding to help expand their investment capabilities and maximize their investment education.

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Fundraising. The Van Wickle Ventures Challenge 

In order to continue providing this unique investment education program for our undergraduate students, two alumni leaders have created the 2023 Van Wickle Ventures Challenge. Robert Place ’75 and Erna Place ’76 will contribute $125,000 to Van Wickle Ventures if another $125,000 is raised from alumni, parents and friends by December 31, 2023. Gifts of $25,000 or more qualify to leverage the Challenge.


Get Involved

Contact Sarah Santos, Director of Development at Brown, at to get involved.

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