Commercialization

Venture Fund Zeroes in on University Startups

A unique venture capital company that teams up with universities to invest in their most promising start-up companies recently closed a $215 million fund, the second one in the company's history. Osage University Partners, based near Philadelphia, invests only in startups that commercialize university research.

The latest round could capitalize spinouts coming from 16 university partners with which it has signed exclusive contracts, as well as 54 institutions with which it has non-exclusive "associate partner" arrangements. In the partnerships, schools hold co-investment rights in their spinouts, which they assign to the investment company in return for a share of the fund's profits, which can be plowed into further education, research and commercialization initiatives.

Most of the investments are in life science and technology sectors, run between $5 million and $10 million over the lifetime of the investment and could cover seed, early and mature stage. They're typically done alongside other investors, the company said.

School partners include the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and other tier 1 research universities. Among the roster of associate partners are Arizona State, Brigham Young and Carnegie Mellon.

"OUP is proud to partner with world-class universities and research institutions that have and will serve as the source of fundamental discovery and invention upon which some of the most exciting and important companies will be built," said Louis Berneman, Osage University Partners founding partner. "In addition to investing in world class university spinouts, we are committed to promoting the entrepreneurial commercialization activities of our partner institutions." Berneman has spoken at many of the partner institutions on the topic of venture capital basics.

Osage University Partners is a division of Osage Venture Partners.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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