Seed-stage cash grants and venture development for University of Pennsylvania startups.
Managed by students in the Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program.

About the M&T Innovation Fund

The M&T Innovation Fund is a University- and M&T-backed student run organization looking to provide value creation for seed-stage ventures. Along with value creation tasks, non-equity grants will be provided for specific expenses.

The Fund is managed and operated by current M&T students from all class years. Faculty advisers, M&T Program administration, and M&T alumni act as support for the Fund.

The Fund is similar to an incubator or accelerator. Candidate ventures should be as interested in venture development as they are in the non-equity grants. Grants will likely fall between $500~3000.

The Fund will only give out grant money for expenses that are 1) specific, 2) near-term, and 3) related to the venture development in which the Fund is involved. That is, the Fund is not interested in handing out non-equity grants for "black box" expenses, or for expenses a venture anticipates having in a year's time.

The M&T Innovation Fund Difference

The M&T Innovation Fund differentiates itself as a unique provider of both financial and strategic support for the ventures it selects. Grants from the Fund will provide initial capital that help seed stage ventures achieve particular goals. Perhaps more importantly, the fund will continue to be of support to the ventures we fund. Chosen startups can leverage the varied experiences and insights of current M&T students, who will provide critical strategic insights into bringing a product to market. These companies can also gain valuable connections and mentorship from successful M&T alumni to further their venture.


Group K Diagnostics is working to develop a multi-test modular point-of-care (POC) diagnostic device that offers accurate, fast, and affordable diagnoses. The aim to reduce and eliminate the delay in clinical decisions caused by lab tests and prevent mis-reporting of abnormal results. Group K’s first test solution for Liver Function Testing has been submitted to the FDA, and they are working on bench trials for their Comprehensive Metabolic Panel and Liver Cancer Diagnostic.

Arium offers a convenient platform where lenders can easily collect, verify, and analyze bank statements. Users can search through transactions, identify overdrafts, estimate revenue, and more with information updated in real time. Arium is able to access financial information and verified transactions from major banks and institutions in the US, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and PNC.

Acention Digital develops a free-to-play mobile app where you make money by beating other plays in multiplayer games. Each player will get 1 cent upon download of the app and will play against another beginner player. The player who loses will have to watch a commercial to gain back another cent. For the past year, Acention had been doing beta testing but their games recently became public in August 2018.

Plasticity is working to make robotic chat conversations feel human through a Natural Language Processing (NLP) system that learns concepts and conversation from real world contexts. Their product is API called Sapien that packages this powerful natural language capability for use in conversational interfaces and rich content development. Two other APIs, Lingua and Brevis, are also in the works and to be released.


The M&T Innovation Fund is supported by the University of Pennsylvania, the Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program, and M&T alumni as well as various corporate sponsors.

Apply Now

Are you a current Penn student (undergraduate or graduate), recent M&T alum, or Penn-affiliated employee or professor with an idea you’d like us to consider funding?

Submit your information below! This round has a deadline of October 9th. We will hold a second round of funding in late February.

Apply Now


Very early stage, pre-seed startups should focus on having a clear roadmap of their objectives to develop their company’s product/service and itemize particular challenges the M&T Innovation Fund could help fund or staff (eg. front-end dev, server costs...).
Startups in the later stages of funding with a developed MVP should focus on small projects M&T students could work on that could then be integrated into your main business activities (eg. conduct marketing research, develop small custom API).
Funding you receive is considered a grant so there is no equity stake. Although, our team does want to ensure that any funding goes towards your original stated purpose and that we have the opportunity for continued involvement over the semester in helping mature your project.
Ideally, you should have more than just an idea – potentially a minimum viable product or something to show that you have already invested some time into your project.
The fund’s objective is to provide continued support over the semester to develop a component of your project while working with M&T students. For example, you may end up working closely with our team to help you develop a marketing plan or to provide technical consulting with the advancement of a software product. For the M&T Innovation Fund to be right fit for you must be interested in a project based funding approach rather than an unconditional grant.
Funding from the M&T Innovation Fund goes towards covering costs of particular projects that directly generate value for your startup. You will be asked to provide detailed information on the application about what projects you plan on working you will be using the grant for.

The Team

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Megan Kotrappa

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Akshay Malhotra

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Bharath Jaladi

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Eric Liu

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Varun Ramakrishnan

Leo Vigna

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Cole Hersowitz

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George Feng

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Robin Tan

Christopher Lee

Jonathan Kogan

Rohit Majumdar

Faculty Advisors

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Boon Thau Loo

Boon's research focuses on distributed data management systems, Internet-scale query processing, and the application of database technologies to networked systems. He is particularly interested in developing information-centric network architectures that can be easily extended, composed, and formally verified. His recent projects include applying declarative networking techniques in the areas of dynamic network composition, adaptive mobile ad-hoc networks, and scalable knowledge-based networks. He is also exploring novel database-inspired techniques for diagnosing, securing, and verifying network protocols.

Contact Us

Want to learn more about the M&T Innovation Fund? Interested in participating in the Fund as a sponsor or mentor? Please feel free to reach out to us with your questions and inquiries.