Press Release

Notre Dame and High Alpha Innovation Unveil Groundbreaking Venture Studio Impact Fund

High Alpha Innovation

SOUTH BEND, IN, December 11th, 2023 — High Alpha Innovation and the University of Notre Dame have joined forces to establish a first-of-its-kind venture studio impact fund. The fund was designed to align with Notre Dame’s vision, mission, and values, and to be a cornerstone for future innovation within the Notre Dame community.

High Alpha Innovation, the Indianapolis-based venture builder who partners with universities and corporations to co-create startups, entered the scene as an ideal partner for Notre Dame’s IDEA Center. The collaboration signifies a redefining of university commercialization and impact investing.

Bringing the Venture Studio Playbook to University Commercialization

In a dynamic landscape where venture studios are redefining the methodology behind building startups, the 1842 Fund represents an evolution of traditional venture capital from solely allocators of capital to collaborative investors that work closely alongside founders to co-create and support startups. Traditional University-affiliated funds have a tendency to drift away from the core mission of supporting commercialization, while venture studio funds, like the 1842 Fund, proactively lean in with meaningful support and resources that can increase the odds of a startup’s success. They act as originators, forging deep relationships with the networks of these institutions—a symbiotic relationship that ensures sustained innovation. In applying venture studio frameworks to key technology disciplines such as deep tech and therapeutics, the 1842 Fund, in collaboration with the IDEA Center, aims to enhance the venture development experience at Notre Dame.

Matt Brady, Managing Director of High Alpha Innovation and alumni of Notre Dame stated, “I'm genuinely thrilled about the collaboration. The IDEA Center at Notre Dame has long been building a powerful ecosystem, fostering collaboration across faculty, students, and our tight-knit community. This collaboration, with the support of the 1842 Fund, isn't just about creating great companies; it's a chance to give back to the community that shaped me. Our venture studio model, coupled with the solid foundation already in place, is poised to not only enhance the development of this ecosystem but also contribute to a meaningful experience for everyone, serving our own community in the process."

Impact Investing through Venture Studios: A Novel Approach

Traditional impact venture funds often struggle with a scarcity of high-quality deals aligned with their impact areas. The 1842 Fund, departing from the norm, utilizes the venture studio model to co-create, not just invest, in purpose-built companies. Whether through collaboration with researchers at Notre Dame or the launch of the 1842 Studio, this approach directly addresses the limitations faced by traditional impact funds. This unique strategy presents 1842 Fund investors with a distinctive opportunity to invest in mission-led startups.

Matt Gardner, Partner at the 1842 Fund, reflects on the challenges in the current landscape of impact investing, stating, "Impact investment capital typically goes into helping already existing startups grow their impact. However, the critical question remains — who is creating those startups in the first place? Our conviction lies in the belief that a venture studio model can birth exceptional startups in categories that are often overlooked by our current innovation methods. With the 1842 Fund, we see ourselves as filling a void; directing innovation towards chosen societal challenges."

Engaging the Community

The 1842 Fund extends an exclusive invitation to individuals and organizations who share our vision and commitment to making a meaningful impact on society through innovative endeavors.

If you believe in the transformative power of purpose-built startups, we encourage you to reach out to the two Partners, Matt Gardner ( and Mike Joslin ( Connect with us via email and join the community that is shaping the future of impactful innovation.

John McGreeve speaks to a crowd in front of a screen with the 1842 Fund logo
John McGreevy, Provost of the University of Notre Dame
Woman delivers remarks to a crowd
Kelley Rich, Interim VP for Innovation at the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame

For more information, read Notre Dame IDEA Center's announcement.

# # # # # # # #

About 1842 Fund

The 1842 Fund invests in mission-driven, advantaged startups aligned to the strategic framework of the University of Notre Dame. Unlike a traditional venture capital fund that invests in existing startups, the 1842 Fund co-creates and funds new startups with the IDEA Center, the commercialization arm of the University, and the 1842 Studio, a new impact-oriented software-focused venture studio. To learn more, visit

About High Alpha Innovation

High Alpha Innovation is an Indianapolis-based venture builder that partners with corporations, universities and entrepreneurs to create and launch advantaged startups. Its dedicated team of company builders, strategists and designers apply a proven playbook — pioneered by High Alpha — to help the world’s leading organizations innovate through systematic startup creation. For more information, visit or on Twitter at @highalphainno.

About the University of Notre Dame's IDEA Center

Standing for Innovation, De-Risking and Enterprise Acceleration, the IDEA Center is the fundamental resource for all commercialization and entrepreneurial activities at the University of Notre Dame. It provides the necessary space, services and expertise for idea development, commercialization, business formation, prototyping, entrepreneurial education and student entrepreneurial efforts. It is designed to bring the best Notre Dame faculty, staff and student ideas and innovations to market. To learn more about the center, visit

Sign Up For Our Newsletter