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North Carolina universities look to alumni for start-up funding

By David Schwartz
Published: March 9th, 2016

Duke University, The University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University (NC State), and North Carolina Central University (NC Central) are teaming up to start an “affinity” start-up fund, looking to tap affluent alumni as a key source of angel investment for university spinouts. The alumni networks of all four schools have linked up to form the Triangle Venture Alliance (TVA), which will allow them to cooperate and even co-invest in university start-ups.

The partnership is aimed at boosting the flow of capital to Triangle-area start-ups, and is especially focused on securing seed capital, which is often most difficult for entrepreneurs to obtain. With a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the TVA is geared up to accomplish that goal.

“The Triangle Venture Alliance will enable the Triangle universities to provide high-quality investment opportunities to our alumni and seed-stage capital to our start-up companies,” says Al Rebar, vice chancellor for research, innovation and economic development at NC State.

The Duke Angel Network alone already has over 65 alumni angel investors who together have invested more than $1 million in seven start-ups. And in addition to support from alumni, The TVA will employ teams of students to conduct due diligence on potential ventures.

According to officials, the other three universities will have their alumni groups ready to invest this summer.

Source: The News & Observer

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