Friday, September 30, 2022

Rebel Venture Capital Fund Grants $6,500 in Rewards

Michael Davis and Pierre Whiteside receive a mentorship and grant from them Rebel Venture Capital Fund on October 23, 2015, for their business, Impster. Pictured with Davis and Whiteside are their  mentor, Gus Ezcurra of Equinix (left) and Mike Mitchell (right) with the RVCF.
Michael Davis and Pierre Whiteside receive a mentorship and grant from them Rebel Venture Capital
Fund on October 23, 2015, for their business, Impster. Pictured with Davis and Whiteside are their
mentor, Gus Ezcurra of Equinix (left) and Mike Mitchell (right) with the RVCF.

The Rebel Venture Capital Fund granted $8,000 to six University of Mississippi student entrepreneur start-ups on October 23.

The University of Mississippi student-led start-ups presented to the RVCF, each receiving grants and mentorships to assist in the development of their new business ventures. Of the six businesses there were three smart phone apps, Impster, Nimble Fashion, and Okay2Eat; one light, sound, and entertainment business, Vault Entertainment; a marketing start-up, Ault Wilson Marketing; and a drink cooler business, Polar Peak.

“It was awesome to see that they believed in my idea,” said Mike Davis, Chief Executive Officer of the start-up social media smart phone application, Impster set to launch at the beginning of 2016.

Davis and his business partner and Chief Marketing Office, Pierre Whiteside, pitched to the Rebel Venture Capital Fund and received $2,000 to fund their new smart phone application. Davis said receiving the grant from the RVCF made it feel like all his hard work had paid off. The Rebel venture capital Fund started in 2014 and has granted over $25,000 to Ole Miss students seeking to start their own businesses. As a non-profit entity, the RVCF doesn’t ask for the funds to be repaid but encourages the students to pay it forward in some way to the university.

“The Rebel Venture Capital Fund allows students to pursue their dreams operating in a real world environment with real money,” explained RVCF President and University of Mississippi alumnus, Bill Fry of American Securities. “We are doing something for students by giving grants and mentorships that they cannot do for themselves. We are helping them learn in a way that is very different from the traditional classroom. We are creating the future entrepreneurs in this country.”

William Ault and Sara Kiparizoska sign their contract for a grant awarded by Mike Mitchell with the Rebel Venture Capital Fun for their business, Nimble. The Rebel Venture Capital Fund listened to University of  Mississippi students pitch their business ideas on October 23, 2015.
William Ault and Sara Kiparizoska sign their contract for a grant awarded by Mike Mitchell with the Rebel
Venture Capital Fun for their business, Nimble. The Rebel Venture Capital Fund listened to University of
Mississippi students pitch their business ideas on October 23, 2015.

The capital group consists of successful business owners and leaders from various fields such as technology, banking and finance, insurance, wealth management/investments, legal, accountancy, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, restaurant/food industry, transportation, oil and gas, commercial and residential construction, retail establishments, such as home appliances and services.

The group wants to financially assist students with their new businesses, but they want to do more than just that. As a partner of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Mississippi, the Rebel Venture Capital Fund works with CIE staff to ensure students are receiving the sound mentoring they will need to be successful in their new venture.

“While funding from the RVCF is an important need for the Ole Miss student entrepreneur as they develop and establish their idea into a business, the mentoring and advice from business leaders that have experienced successes, failures, and detours in their own careers (drawing upon their own practical experiences) may prove to be more valuable for the student entrepreneur in the long-run,” explained RVCF member Ella Jane Putnam of Trustmark Bank.

Students appreciate the advice and direction the Rebel Venture Capital Fund members offer too. William Ault, a key player in multiple businesses working with the RVCF, says the mentoring they receive is invaluable.

“It’s the real deal,” said Ault. “It’s more than just a school project- it’s launching a real business. You learn so much more this way than just from academics alone.”

If you are a business leader or owner and interested in becoming a part of the Rebel Venture Capital Fund or the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Mississippi, please contact Cobie Crews at 662-915-3737 for more information.

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