Become a Startup Scout
Pennsylvania State University

Join our venture capital startup scout program and expand your knowledge horizon. Uncover groundbreaking startups, broaden your networking capabilities, and make a substantial impact on the innovation ecosystem. Open to all Penn State University members.


Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) has a dynamic startup and Venture Capital (VC) ecosystem that nurtures and supports a variety of successful businesses and initiatives. There are numerous resources and programs available that support entrepreneurship and innovation, such as the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Invent Penn State, and the Happy Valley Launchbox. These provide assistance in the form of training, funding, mentorship, workspace, and other resources.

Penn State SBDC provides no-cost confidential consulting and low cost training to small business owners and potential entrepreneurs in Centre and Mifflin counties. It helps businesses grow, thrive, and contribute to the healthy economy of Pennsylvania. Its services include startup assistance, business plan development, market research, growth strategies, and financial analysis, among others.

Invent Penn State was launched in 2015 as a $30 million initiative to drive job creation, economic development and student career success. This initiative has led to the creation of 21 innovation hubs across Pennsylvania, with over 130 startups launched, 2000 jobs created, and more than $22 million in revenue generated. The Happy Valley LaunchBox is another initiative that provides free co-working space, resources, and programming for early-stage startups.

Many successful founders and investors have emerged from Penn State's ecosystem. One notable example is Matt Rhodes, a Penn State graduate and the co-founder of Weebly, a website-building service. Co-founding Weebly in 2006, Rhodes successfully sold the company to Square in 2018 for $365 million. Another example is Terry Pegula, a Penn State alumnus who became a successful investor and owner of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres after selling his company East Resources for approximately $4.7 billion.

Additionally, Penn State has programs like the Ben Franklin Technology Partners which is one of the nation’s longest-running technology-based economic development programs. For over 30 years, BFTP has provided both early-stage, technology-based firms and established manufacturers with funding, business and technical expertise, and access to a network of innovative, expert resources.

In terms of important particularities, Penn State stands out for its commitment to fostering a supportive environment for startups. This is highlighted by initiatives such as the Happy Valley LaunchBox, an innovation hub that does not take equity from startups it supports, thereby allowing entrepreneurs to retain full control of their ventures. Furthermore, Penn State's New Venture Engineering assists student entrepreneurs in developing their businesses by connecting them with faculty and providing resources for product/service development and simulation.

As a Scout, You Can...

Kickstart Your Venture Capital Career

Showing your skills in picking successful startups and advising founders is the surest way to build your reputation and secure a venture capital role.

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Help Your Ecosystem Thrive

Your community, region, or group thrives when its founders are given the chance to succeed before going back and reinvesting in their comunities.

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Earn a Share in Startups Without Investing in Them

Earn a share in startups you scout without the funds to invest directly just like a VC partner.

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Monetise Your Content & Community

As a podcaster, community manager, or event organiser you have a front-row seat to interesting startups which you can monetise by helping them fundraise.

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Create a Fairer Society

By identifying under-represented founders you're level the playing field for anyone to success based on merit independent from their social or ethnic background.

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Help Friends Get Funded

Help your friends who are neck-deep in their startups get the funding they need to succeed.

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Grow Your Personal Brand

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Join as a Scout at Your University

Available Programs

Startup Investor?

Connect with the latest innovations coming out of Penn State University! Receive dealflow opportunities from individuals, startups, and cutting-edge technologies. Become an investor today and take advantage of the University's vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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Scout Programs in Other Global Startup Hubs


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Co-Working Space Organiser

Do you help run a co-working space as an organiser or a greeter? Do you come across interesting entrepreneurs and startups?

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Event Organiser

Do you organise an event, conference, or trade show? Help your founder attendees get discovered.

Scout startups at your event →


Are you active in the entrepreneurship club at your college? Doing an MBA? Or are you a PHD student at a technical university? Help your fellow students get funded.

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