The idea of the Husker Venture Fund was born in May 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic. Co-founder Emily Kist was completing
internships with both the Nebraska Angels and Nelnet’s Venture Capital and Innovation team. With the very limited venture capital (VC)
internship opportunities available in Lincoln, Emily was curious if there was a student community at UNL with a focus on VC. Unfortunately, no
such group existed, so she began to research programs offered at other universities across the globe. She spent her summer emailing and
interviewing program directors of VC clubs and VC funds across the U.S., learning how they operate and what it takes to start a similar program.
In the late summer of 2020, she began having conversations about the viability of her idea with UNL Center of Entrepreneurship faculty Joe
Petsick and Dr. Sam Nelson. She also met with community members including Ben Williamson, Stephanie Luebbe, Chuck Norris, Brian Ardinger,
and more. Every individual helped contribute valuable insights that were integral to the founding and growth of Husker Venture Fund.
Within that same summer, Co-founder Adam Folsom met Emily through a simple LinkedIn connection. Adam and Emily both were both
students interested in exploring venture capital and entrepreneurship. After an initial coffee meeting, the two decided to partner together to
turn the idea of a student-led venture fund into reality. Adam and Emily brought on Keith Nordling to be Communications Director so that word
of Husker Venture Fund could be spread to interested students at UNL.
In the Fall of 2021, Husker Venture Fund applications opened and an inaugural cohort of 26 students began. Without the support, guidance, and
generosity of our community, our fund would not have been a possibility. We are looking forward to the exponential growth ahead and are
excited for what is to come.
Managing directors from top down: Ateev Bhandari, Samuel DeZube and Maria Heyen
To pursue our mission of providing a distinguished hands-on investment experience, UNL students will be able to foster relationships in the startup community, engage with Nebraska and Midwest entrepreneurial opportunities, and fund home-grown innovative ideas and solutions.
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