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Venturing out: Rutter ‘16 founds venture capital firm

Jude Herwitz, Staff Writer

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Since graduating, Aaron Rutter ’16 has been exploring app development and venture capital. He recently founded his own venture capital firm, Tycho Ventures. 

Rutter currently studies at Georgetown University. The idea for his first app came to him while at an on-campus restaurant, he said. “I had noticed, since I came to college and started eating at less strict ‘lunch times’ and more so around my class schedule, that the restaurants would always be empty when I was there,” Rutter said. 

This experience inspired him and a friend to start Dynos, an app which maximizes profits for restaurants. The app offers discounts to consumers at off-peak hours and on products which might be less desirable, such as day-old bread, Rutter said. These discounts let restaurants make a profit on produce that otherwise might have gone to waste and attract more customers. 

Getting restaurants to participate was a hard task. “It was a huge amount of manual labor to go and get a restaurant, and I spent a lot of time on weekends doing that,” Rutter said. “I could get about a restaurant per hour, so five restaurants meant five hours of work.” 

To try and make connections for Dynos, Rutter started attending meetings for startups, where he met many other would-be entrepreneurs. Being around other entrepreneurs inspired him to pursue another business: venture capital, he said. 

Rutter established his venture capital firm Tycho Ventures in 2017 and filed for its creation in Delaware due to the state’s low taxes. His business model was to invest a little bit of money into many companies with the idea that one out of about 30 would give him a return on all of the investments. 

Rutter felt prepared to explore venture capital because of his education at Horace Mann, he said. The school exposed him to many subject areas, and venture capital requires many skills. Rutter had to attract clients, synthesize information, and analyze documents as a venture capitalist, he said. 

“Aaron is quite literary in a way, a very sensitive and engaged reader. He was the type of student to come up to me after class or even in the hallway and ask a question about another poem by an author we were reading, for example,” English Department Chair Vernon Wilson said, who taught Rutter in two courses. 

Due to all Rutter’s networking for Tycho Ventures, word got around about his firm, and he was linked to more established companies with experienced leaders, such as Rumble Boxing, a gym that holds boxing classes based in New York, he said. He has also been invited to participate in venture capital related events at several top colleges, including Columbia University. 

“We’ve had just as many failures as success,” he said. For example, one company that approached Rutter had invented a more efficient syringe, but Rutter did not invest because they did not have a patent. 

Initial funds for Tycho Ventures came from friends and family, who decided to continue investing after seeing their money grow under Rutter’s lead, he said. 

In the future, Rutter wants to grow his company and continue investing, potentially with the help of the school’s students as interns, he said.* 

*Rutter invites anyone interested in interning to contact him at aaron@ tycho.ventures. 

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Venturing out: Rutter ‘16 founds venture capital firm