Tangen Hall Brings Together Aspiring Entrepreneurs Across the University

The exterior of Tangen Hall on a sunny day.
Tangen Hall, located at the intersection of 40th and Sansom streets, houses the Venture Lab, which provides faculty advising, financial support, and entrepreneurship courses to Penn students looking to establish their own startups. (Photo: Eric Sucar)

Tangen Hall is referred to as the physical “start here button” for aspiring Penn entrepreneurs and innovators. Made possible by the AKO Foundation, the charitable foundation established by alumnus Nicolai Tangen and his wife, Katja, the building houses nine studios and labs that support hands-on activity such as design, prototyping, building, and scaling ventures. Located on the northeast corner of 40th and Sansom streets, Tangen is a major student-focused development. The building’s design is sensitive to urban and campus contexts.

“The ‘start here’ approach is echoed in our mission of democratizing entrepreneurship for all students at Penn,” says Lori Rosenkopf, vice dean of entrepreneurship and Simon and Midge Palley Professor of Management at the Wharton School. “Our goal is for it to be the entry point in each Penn student or alumni’s entrepreneurial journey. We want students to find us and know that if there’s any concept, idea, or venture they are interested in building—or simply want to know more—they can get started here.”

Tangen also is the home of Venture Lab and is a partnership by the Wharton School, Penn Engineering, and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design. This is consolidates Penn’s startup ecosystem and provides experimental learning to all Penn students. Even without a technical background, Penn students can access the tools and advisors to help transform their ideas into businesses. Venture Lab Executive Director Trang Pham says their mission can be summed up with three “I”’s:  “Inclusion, innovation, and integration.

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