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About The Fund

We believe the UMass Amherst entrepreneurial ecosystem has great untapped potential. We see faculty members in labs with a passion for better solutions and students with fresh insights on old problems. We see alumni who are exploring countless ways for making us healthier, safer, smarter and even happier. For some, their energy and ideas become launch pads for transformative commercial enterprises. Our goal is to identify, invest in and champion the best of these UMass Amherst-linked ventures. 

Maroon Venture Partners Fund I, LP was launched in January 2017 with initial investments by alumnus Paul Manning of Charlottesville, VA and UMass Amherst and completed making investments in 2023. Maroon Venture Partners Fund II, LP was launched in January 2024 also with investments by Paul Manning and UMass Amherst, as well as investments by UMass Amherst alumni.  The Fund expects to make initial investments of $100,000 to $300,000 in its portfolio companies and harvest the investments within ten years.

Our investments are selective. Like any savvy investor, we seek promising opportunities that have strong prospects for commercial success and will generate commensurate returns for our investors. Although we are not a part of UMass Amherst, we see ourselves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the UMass Amherst community.

Our Funds are managed by Maroon Venture Partners, LLC, a limited liability company that is overseen by an investment committee with diverse backgrounds in entrepreneurship. Our committee members serve on a volunteer basis and the compensation that a conventional venture fund would otherwise pay to its managers is donated to UMass Amherst.  Our investment committee also looks to advisory committees of domain experts for input on particular investment opportunities.

Our day-to-day operations are overseen by Charlie Johnson, a member of the faculty at the Isenberg School of Management. Prior to joining the UMass Amherst faculty, Charlie was a business lawyer in Boston and he plays a lead role in consummating the Fund’s investments after they are approved by our investment committee.

We receive administrative services and back office support from UMass Amherst’s central office of Administration and Finance. We also seek opportunities for UMass Amherst student engagement, particularly in the areas of market research and other due diligence required on prospective investments.

Our deal flow is generated from referrals from the many departments and centers on the UMass Amherst campus including the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, the UMass Amherst Technology Transfer Office, the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, and the Office of Research and Engagement as well as from alumni and supporters off campus. We also benefit from the strong support and resources of UMass Amherst Chancellor Javier Reyes.