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U California Builds $250 Million System-Centered Venture Fund

The University of California has launched a new venture fund specifically to capitalize on innovation coming out of the university system. The "anchor investor" of the still-unnamed fund will be the system's Office of the Chief Investment Officer, which is committing up to $250 million to the fund. It will be managed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Ranadivé, founder of TIBCO Software and owner of the pro basketball team, the Sacramento Kings.

Calling the UC system a "rich environment for innovation," the UC Board of Regents initially approved the concept of the investment in September 2015. The system has claimed that researchers produce an average of five inventions a day. It maintains at least 30 incubators and accelerators and has been home to the patents held by more than 800 start-up companies since 1980.

The primary areas of interest for the new fund are life sciences, technology, energy, agriculture and materials. The capital uses no tuition or state funding.

The fund "is the result of careful evaluation of best practices to develop the most effective investment vehicle to capture the economic value [UC] is creating through its pioneering research," said UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher in a prepared statement at the time of that announcement.

Bachher's office, which manages funds worth about $98 billion as of mid-2015, will maintain certain governance rights and help the venture fund develop risk mitigation expertise. Ranadivé's team will handle day-to-day investment management responsibilities.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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