San Diego — Typically an investor has a few decades of investment experience under his or her belt before getting an ocean-view office.
Not so at Triton Funds, a newly-minted investment fund run by Southern California college students in their 20s, backed by investors who believe insights from millennials will give them an edge in finding overlooked funding opportunities.
Its founders — UC San Diego juniors Nathan Yee and Yash Thukral and recent Cal State Northridge student Sam Yaffa, who plans to graduate in December — say they were spurred to launch the fund this spring by their interest in careers on Wall Street, and what they see as a lack of opportunities to follow that career path from public schools in Southern California.
So far, the firm — based out of a second-story Prospect Street office in La Jolla – has made four deals.
In May, the fund led a $2 million seed financing for AtYourGate, an app that facilitates delivery of purchase from eateries and shops at San Diego International Airport for a $2.99 fee. Thukral said the Triton Funds team learned about the startup through students and faculty who use the app when they travel. Investments in startups won’t be a primary focus of the fund, however, they said. Most of its private investment will be in public companies, for two reasons: The transparency inherent in such transactions, and the potential for students to see an “exit,” so to speak, during their time with the fund. Also in May the fund announced it put $500,000 into Bravatek Solutions Inc., an Austin, Texas-based cybersecurity company. The month prior the fund invested $1 million in DigitalTown Inc., which is creating blockchain-based platforms for municipalities. And its first investment of $600,000 was in APT Systems Inc., which is developing mobile trading tools.
Each of the companies, with the exception of AtYourGate, trade over the counter.
Each have the potential to improve the economy millennials are slated to inherit, the Triton Funds team said, which is a factor in its investment decisions. In addition to Triton Funds’ three founders, about 10 other students have roles with the fund, for which UCSD will provide academic credit.
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