Over the summer, the University of California (UC) System, with President Janet Napolitano at the helm, shifted a fundamental policy common with many university systems. She rescinded the “Guidelines on University-Industry Relations Policy,” in place since 1989, which prohibited the university from investing directly in companies emerging from UC research. Shortly thereafter, during the week of Sept. 15, 2014, the UC Office of the president proposed, and the UC Board of Regents approved, to create a $250 million venture capital fund, which will be funded by both the UC Pension fund and general endowment fund (not state funds or tuition). While certainly positioned to operate as a traditional fund developed to benefit from its investments, UC Ventures is also dedicated to capturing “…the economic value the University of California is creating through its pioneering research.”
UC Ventures will be able to invest directly in UC-based startups, and is positioned to take advantage of a huge research enterprise, which boasts income last year of over $100 million from royalty and license activities. Further, there are significant players – venture groups, incubators, and industry presence – already at the table to further enhance the necessary infrastructure around the various UC campuses.
Continue Reading UC Ventures: How one very large public university system is setting an example. Or is it?