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University VC Funds: Provide the Fuel for Your Commercialization Engine

Format: On-Demand Video, DVD, or PDF Transcript
Originally presented: January 22, 2015

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As pressure increases to score more “wins” in the form of valuable university start-ups, getting the funding needed to sustain even the most promising companies has become more difficult. Traditional VCs and angels have become more risk-averse and selective, grants are tougher to get, and too many start-ups end up languishing or vanishing without the money to reach a true market launch.

Your university’s start-ups need fuel to run – fuel in the form cash – and gap funds and proof-of-concept grants can only go so far. To address this critical need, a growing number of universities have become investors in their own spinouts, creating venture capital funds or partnering with existing funds that back high-potential start-ups based on faculty and student innovations. The University of California’s recent $250 million fund is just the latest in this growing trend, and the forward-thinking schools building these investment vehicles stand to reap a host of benefits for their universities, their TTOs, their faculty, and their communities:

  • Large long-term ROIs upon successful start-up exits
  • Economic development results in the form of jobs and regional growth
  • More public benefit from tech transfer as more research is successfully commercialized
  • Higher rates of faculty involvement as success breeds more success
  • Public and political recognition for value-creation from government-funded research

The promise is great, but getting there is no easy road. Creating, structuring, staffing, and operating a VC fund is a huge challenge that is not to be undertaken without the right strategies and expert guidance.

That’s why Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has recruited two world-class experts: Michael Silton, Executive Chair of the UCLA VC Fund, and Bill Harrington, Managing Partner at Osage University Partners, to reveal the trends and unique approaches you can take to identify and develop investment and fund development opportunities in the university environment. Please join us on January 22nd for this outstanding distance learning event:

University VC Funds:
Provide the Fuelfor Your Commercialization Engine

Here’s what our experts will cover in this dynamic session:

Goals to consider when creating a fund:

  • Identifying the primary and secondary purposes of the Fund
  • What is the definition of success for the fund?

Determining structure and choosing an Investment Decision Process:

  • What methods are used to identify potential investments
  • Criteria used in evaluating potential investments
  • Pros and cons of investing in non-university companies
  • How should the investment decision be made
  • Dealing with co-investors and planning for future funding rounds
  • Pros and cons of outside boards and advisors

Operational issues

  • Addressing potential conflicts of interest
  • Board membership, voting
  • Start-up ownership structure
  • University equity and dilution issues
  • Exit planning
  • Building and tapping an expert network
  • Fund interaction with the Tech Transfer Office

PLUS: Get your specific questions answered in the Q&A portion of the program!

Meet Your Faculty

Michael SiltonMichael Silton, Executive Chair, UCLA Venture Capital Fund. Michael is Executive Chair of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund, a group whose purpose is to inspire entrepreneurship in the UCLA community by providing access to connections and capital as well as sponsoring programs to foster entrepreneurship. Portfolio companies include Cloudera, Twitter, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, SmartestK12 and Neural Analytics. Michael has been an entrepreneur himself, having founded and run both private and public companies in the last 28 years. Most recently, Michael was CEO/Founder of B2B SaaS company Rainmaker Systems, which he took public on NASDAQ. Michael previously co-founded UniDirect, a pioneer in electronic software licensing and distribution.

Bill HarringtonBill Harrington, MD, MBA, Managing Partner, Osage University Partners, joined the firm in 2012 having previously served as a Partner at Three Arch Partners, a venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. During Bill’s twelve years at Three Arch, he focused on medical device, biotechnology, and healthcare service investing. Bill led investments in and served as a director of nearly twenty healthcare companies, a number of which had their origin as university spinouts. He most recently served on the boards of Cameron Health, Baxano, Voyage Medical, Nevro Corporation, APT Pharmaceuticals, and Centerre Healthcare.

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