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CHESTNUT STREET VENTURES is a private community of thousands of Penn alums. We all share an interest in entrepreneurship, venture capital, and our alma mater. We raise a fund each year and invest that capital in a portfolio of 15-25 companies with a Penn alum connection. We also offer a number of ways to engage with one another through events, webinars, and more. We are a for-profit fund, not affiliated but friendly with the University.


In the last month, we saw remarkable progress at Chestnut Street Ventures. We brought our first deal to the Investment Committee (see below), received some great press coverage in, and raised almost $2M in less than two months from ~30 investors. Our Penn-alumni community also continues to grow, with 1,800 supporters helping us spread the word about CSV.

If you're an accredited investor who wants to learn about participating in the fund, just reply to this email and we'll follow up. Or you can click the "Join Our Investor Community" button to right and reserve your spot in our fund now.


We are thrilled to announce our first deal. We invested in BETTERVIEW, a leading aerial and drone imagery solution for businesses.

BetterView provides drone-based property inspections in a cost-effective, safe, and easy way. By capturing aerial images of properties, they can quickly scan images for potential problems and generate actionable reports for insurers or owners. From an insurance industry’s perspective, drone technology offers added safety, lower costs, quicker results, and higher-quality images from inaccessible spaces. PwC estimates that the total addressable market for drone solutions is over $127B, and the insurance market for drone technology is valued at $6.8B.Betterview.jpg

BetterView was founded by Penn graduate David Lyman (‘03). The round was led by NYC-based Compound Ventures.

What we liked about the deal:

  • Strong leadership. Co-founder David Tobias has 12+ years of experience in the loss-control inspections business, and co-founder David Lyman sold his prior company NutshellMail to ConstantContact.
  • Great traction. BetterView has over 20 recurring customers; over 3,500 drone operators across all 50 states; and has processed over 1,380 orders since inception.

  • Early mover in a new, growing market. Consumer drone sales are rising, and FAA rules allow drones to be used for commercial purposes.
  • Growing interest in drone industry investments. In 2012, $27M was invested in 8 drone-related transactions. In 2016, that number rose to $367M invested in 71 deals.


We offer alums three easy ways to invest in venture capital:

1) Annual Funds. Our most popular offering. You own a professionally managed portfolio of 15-25 top venture-backed companies.

2) Co-Investment Program. Great way for newcomers to participate in VC. Opt into select Annual Fund deals with low minimums.

3) Partner Program. For investors with a large annual budget who want a broad, customizable, index-like venture capital portfolio of ~100 top VC-backed companies.

Read more about our investor community here, or click the button below to join. It only takes two minutes.

Join Our Investor Community


Follow Us on Twitter  
  • #UPenn student mentors high school #entrepreneurs in west Philadelphia.
  • #UPenn has launched the Penn Medicine Center for Digital Health.
  • Monument lab at #UPenn to feature alumna's work and designs by faculty.
Follow Us on LinkedIn

We invest in all sectors and stages and seek companies connected to a Penn alum—with a preference for following in a VC or PE firm with expertise in the sector.

To share deal info, please email us at


Managing Partner Gail Ball will be attending and speaking at several upcoming Penn and Philly innovation events:

*Please reply to this email if you’d like to connect with Gail at any of these events.



An important factor in the success of Chestnut Street Ventures is a strong, experienced Investment Committee that advises us on deals. This month, we welcome two IC members to our team.


Arie Abecassis
Arieis an active NYC-based investor, serving on the boards of SeatGeek and Adaptly, and also a founder of ICONYC labs, a tech accelerator program for Israeli startups. He has helped build tech companies throughout his career as an operator, advisor, and VC investor. Earlier, Arie was President of MindFire, an Inc 500 software company, and a member of the investment team at Updata Partners, a $750M growth-stage VC firm. Prior to that, he led investment activities as a Managing Director for Research Partners and a Director of Thomson Financial Ventures, the venture arm of Thomson Reuters. Arie is an alumnus of Wharton, where he studied entrepreneurial management and marketing.


Eric Wiklendt
Eric is a Director of Speyside Equity, an operationally focused, private equity firm, where he oversees sourcing, analysis, financial modeling, transaction structuring, and operational optimization. Previously, Eric was President & CEO of Kelix Heat Transfer Systems, a manufacturing firm focused on the geothermal HVAC space. Eric also held progressive roles at Eaton Corporation and Hilti Corporation where he completed mergers and acquisitions, opened an automotive plant in Mexico, ran the marketing department, and led the salesforce. He has degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Wharton.


  • Two alums demonstrate the finest Penn spirit at the Oscars. A gracious acceptance of defeat from the La La Land cast, including Penn alums actor/singer John Legend (‘99) and producer Marc Platt (C’79).
  • Joe Biden at Penn Cancer Forum. The former Vice President gave his first public address at Penn after being appointed a professor. The occasion was a panel discussion on the challenge of curing cancer. Other attendees included President Amy Gutmann, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society Otis Brawley, and Perelman School of Medicine Professor Carl June.
  • Are you a superforecaster? Wharton professors Barbara Mellers and Michael Platt discuss the traits that "superforcasters" share which can lead to better decision making.
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Gail Gilbert Ball
Managing Partner

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Important Disclosure Information 
Chestnut Street Ventures is a Series of Launch Angels Funds, LLC, is an independent, for-profit company. It is not affiliated with nor officially sanctioned by University of Pennsylvania. Launch Angels Management Company, LLC (LAMC), is the General Partner to Chestnut Street Ventures, a Series of Launch Angels Funds, LLC.

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