The University of California Board of Regents is set to hear a proposal that will establish a multimillion-dollar venture capital fund to back startups founded on student and faculty research. The Wall Street Journal reported the fund could be as large as $250 million.
The investment vehicle, dubbed “UC Ventures,” would be financed by the University of California but could eventually seek additional capital from third-party investors.
Benefits of such a fund would be to foster “innovation, research, and entrepreneurship throughout the UC ecosystem” as well as “generate commercially attractive rates of return.”
According to a report from the University of California Innovation Alliances and Services, 324 companies were founded out of the University of California’s 10 campuses in the period from 2009 to 2013. The proposal said the university network has produced $1 billion in royalty and other licensing income over the last decade.
More and more startups are launching out of college campuses – Facebook came out of a Harvard dorm room, Snapchat was originally a Stanford student project – and institutions are taking note. USC, UCLA and Caltech recently shared in a $3.8 million federal grant to help students and faculty commercialize their research for market.
The UC board will hear the proposal Wednesday.