When Paul Anthony Troiano founded a music startup out of his UO dorm room in 1996, a $5,000 investment from Professor Phil Romero helped him get his venture off the ground.
Troiano’s startup became Rumblefish, a company that is now the world leader in music microlicensing with more than 75 million songs licensed, serving such major clients as YouTube, Google, Vimeo and Shutterstock.
Now, 18 years later, Troiano, in turn, has “paid it forward,” committing more than $300,000 to establish a new award, the RAINMaker Fund. Each year the fund will provide up to five highly motivated UO student entrepreneurs with $5,000 in seed funding to help launch their companies, along with coaching, mentoring, and other strategic resources.
Designed to attract students to engage within the Eugene node of the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (Eugene RAIN), the RAINMaker Fund has begun accepting applications from promising UO student entrepreneurs. The first deadline for submissions is in early January 2015. Applications are open to all current UO students, including undergraduates who are juniors and above and graduate students in all disciplines. Students who have graduated from the UO in the term immediately prior to the application deadline may also apply.
Troiano hopes the fund will quickly attract other donors who see the great benefits of supporting student innovation on campus.
“These aren't grants designed for students who are solely book smart, there are plenty of incentives to have a great GPA,” said Troiano, who continues to serve as president and CEO for Rumblefish, which was acquired this year by the private equity from Rizvi Traverse. “The RAINMaker Fund rewards and encourages student-entrepreneurs who demonstrate true entrepreneurial talent by proactively starting a business.”
Read more about the RAINMaker fund in the Portland Business Journal.
Find Out How to Apply