Apply for $1,000 in seed funding for your startup.

Once awarded, you’ll be eligible to apply for up to $5,000 of follow-on funding. Awards are directed to student entrepreneurs to defray the initial costs of founding a business.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until May 1st of each school year.

Are you eligible? 

  • Current Washington University junior or senior undergraduate or graduate student
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • 25 percent or higher ownership of a startup venture

If you meet the criteria above, upload a PowerPoint pitch deck (see contents below) to the Box Folder linked below. Please save your PowerPoint Pitch deck as “yourcompanyname-pitch.”

Pitch Deck Presentation

Pitch deck contents should include concept overview, founding team info, articulation of personal commitment, capital raised/spent to date, timeline, and strategy for developing the product and business to at least the point of being market-ready.

The pitch is not an investment offering, and while it is expected to contain financial projections and strategies, it should not contain a pitch for equity investment.

After you apply, you will be invited to present a professional-quality pitch to one of the four fund directors (Cliff Holekamp, Elise Miller Hoffman, II Luscri, or Doug Villhard). If the deck or presentation falls short of expectations, you will be given feedback and the opportunity to pitch again.

Award Approval

$1,000 Awards:

Once all application requirements are met, the three directors will vote to approve the $1,000 awards on a rolling basis until May 1st of a given school year or until funds run out. Awards are made to the students, not to the business entities.

Once approved, the applicant must provide the following documents to actually collect the prize: a completed application, a Crunchbase profile link, an LLC (or other corporate entity) certificate, Skandalaris IdeaBounce® Submission, and a non-binding philanthropic pledge (of any amount) to WashU Olin or to the Holekamp Seed Fund (HSF) in future years.

Applications will be judged on the scalability and how passionate the student is about pursuing the opportunity. Concepts the directors deem might have a negative impact on the community will be denied.

Up to $5,000 Follow-On Awards:

Additional Follow-on awards of up to $5,000 will be awarded per startup to students who:

  1. Have already received a $1,000 award.
  2. Have applied by 5/1 for a Follow-on HSF Award of up to $5,000.
  3. Have graduated in the past year (or within weeks of 5/1).
  4. Have plans to work full-time on their business after graduation.
  5. Have demonstrated progress on their business since receiving the $1,000 award.

To apply, please send an email to

Within a week after the 5/1 deadline each year, the committee will decide on the amount of Follow-on Awards based on those who apply and meet the criteria above and based on the available budget.