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Drexel University Innovation Fund Opens Applications for Second Cohort

September 21, 2023

Applications are now open for the Drexel University Innovation Fund, Winter 2024 Cohort. If you are interested in applying, please apply here.   

The Drexel University Innovation Fund (DUIF) makes early-stage investments in Drexel-affiliated startups. This includes startups founded by students, alumni, postgraduates, and faculty-members, as well as startups founded to commercialize Drexel scientific research.  

DUIF plays the role of a friends and family investor, providing “first check” investments of $150,000 per startup, making up to four investments per year. Drexel innovators who have completed or are currently participating in Drexel's innovation and entrepreneurship programs such as the Baiada Incubator Competition, Drexel Startups Fund, National Science Foundation I-Corps, ic@3401 and the Drexel Coulter Translational Research Program are encouraged to consider this new program to accelerate their entrepreneurial endeavors and shorten the time to the first round of professional investor capital. 

A unique aspect of the Fund is an experiential opportunity for Drexel students to learn the world of venture capital investing through credit-bearing courses followed by experiencing the Fund's investment process with hands-on activities that directly support the Fund. 

Launched in early 2023, the Investment Fund has made two investments to-date: GrowFlux, an agricultural lighting technology startup, and SusMax, which produces lightweight aggregate construction material. 

GrowFlux is an agricultural lighting technology startup founded by College of Engineering alumni Eric Eisele (’09) and Alex Roscoe (’13). The startup builds and deploys energy efficient horticultural lighting controls to reduce energy cost and improve crop performance for farmers. The startup has installed more than 400 systems in 16 countries and continues to scale. 

SusMax recycles waste coal ash through a patented process into an aggregate used in various construction applications, including as lightweight concrete. Co-founded by CEO Mo Balapour (’19, ’21), a College of Engineering alumnus, and Amir Farnam, PhD, an associate professor in the College, the aggregate can increase the lifetime of concrete by 20% and reduce the carbon emissions associated with manufacturing and transporting construction lightweight aggregate by up to 50%.  

Startups: How To Apply 

Startups are encouraged to apply through this application portal from now through mid-November. After preliminary qualification vetting, the startups will go through a screening process with the operations team in order to select 4 finalist startups who will be part of the Close School’s diligence course in winter 2024.  

  1. Applications: September 21, 2023 – November 12, 2023 
  2. Screening: October 2, 2023 – December 1, 2023 
  3. Diligence: December 1, 2023 – March 23, 2023 
  4. Final Pitch & Investment Panel Review: Last week of March  

Students: How To Get Involved

Through the Close School of Entrepreneurship, students can take the ENTP-T380 “The Venture Capital Experience” over winter term 2024 and participate in hands-on diligence activities that directly support the Fund. Course registration for the winter session opens in November.  

For students interested, contact Robert Morier ( The winter course catalogue will contain additional information and learning outcomes.  


Applications are open for the Winter 2023 Innovation Fund. Apply now. For more information on the Drexel University Innovation Fund, visit: or contact