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Venture Associate - DISI First Fund

Apply now Job no: 499499
College / VP Area: Research Office
Work type: Staff
Location: Newark/Hybrid
Categories: Full Time, Venture Development/ Entrepreneurial



The First Fund (FF) is the investment program and arm of The Innovation Space (, a not-for-profit organization created to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship and drive economic development.  The First Fund seeks investment opportunities in science-based startups located in or willing to establish a significant presence in the State of Delaware. 

The First Fund is lean and is eager to add a talented Associate to join The Innovation Space team and help to drive the investment dynamics and deal flow for the First Fund.   The ideal candidate should possess the ability and desire to wear a variety of hats, including investment screening and idea generation, preliminary deal diligence, deal execution, portfolio company monitoring, and investment strategy.   The Associate will be tasked with a significant degree of responsibility, generating insightful quantitative and qualitative analyses across a diverse range of opportunities.  This position is an exciting opportunity to join an organization at the ground level and help to lead and build the operational and strategic elements for The First Fund investment program.  

This individual must be a motivated and enthusiastic self-starter who works and delivers results with light supervision.  The Innovation Space is seeking an individual who is confident and positive, high-energy, cultured, and capable of easily interacting with other team members along with diverse stakeholders.  Also, this individual must be flexible and willing to get involved in many different aspects of the business as requested.

The Associate will be seconded from the University of Delaware to the Delaware Innovation Space and be appointed to the Leadership Team of The Innovation Space.  This position receives day-to-day from Managing Director – First Fund and overall strategic guidance from the CEO of the Delaware Innovation Space as part of that organization as well as administratively from the Office of Research at the University of Delaware for UD-specific matters. 


  • Identify, source, and evaluate new investment opportunities based in science-based startups and targeted industries such as advanced materials, healthcare/life sciences, renewables/renewable energy, industrial biotechnology, agriculture, machine learning/artificial intelligence, and food/nutrition
  • Perform investment analysis and due diligence – perform and engage experts to assess science/technology uniqueness and strength, market opportunity, competitive landscape, team qualifications, and overall business plan strength
  • Assist in management of deal transaction process, structuring, and negotiating of the detailed terms of an investment opportunity along with preparing internal investment memos and documentation
  • Support analysis of portfolio performance.  Support fund reporting and documentation.  Be the resource for managing and documenting the First Fund investment process and philosophy
  • Ensure all information on deal pipeline, current, and potential investments is updated on a regular basis in a portfolio database and CRM system
  • Establish and maintain strong professional networks inside and outside the organization
  • Assist individual portfolio companies, directly and via internal and external services/resources
  • Attend industry events/conferences as directed and build out a network in relevant entrepreneurial communities
  • Active learning – individual should stay current on relevant sector and major industry trends and utilize new tools and technology to help find and curate deal flow
  • Support and assist other programs and activities of The Innovation Space and requested under the direction of the CEO


  • Bachelor’s degree;  MBA preferred
  • Relevant investment experience (VC/PE, investment banking, private equity) with relevant technology/industry domain area expertise (e.g., biotechnology and/or chemistry/material science fields).
  • Outstanding analytical skills, detail-oriented, proactive, and self-motivated.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong aptitude and proven ability to develop and own relationships with existing and potential portfolio companies
  • Experience with portfolio management systems such as Seraf and application portals such as Gust also important.   
  • Expert user of spreadsheets and reporting software.
  • Significant financial modeling and data analysis experience and aptitude as well as experience with investment valuation techniques.
  • Ability to produce well-designed, professional-looking presentations.
  • Knowledge of Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia region’s innovation communities.
  • Must be willing to locate or be located in Delaware or the Greater Philadelphia area.
  • Travel estimated at 25-50% time.
  • Demonstrated understanding and consideration of the differing needs and concerns of individuals with varying identities, cultures, and backgrounds.
  • Committed to fostering a workplace culture of belonging, where diversity is celebrated, and equity is a core value.

Notice of Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Delaware does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

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