University of Chicago makes funds available to invest in startups with roots on campus

By Oliver Griffin December 2, 2016

The University of Chicago will designate $25m from its endowment to invest alongside established venture funds in startups led by faculty, students, staff and alumni.

The decision will expand on a commitment to grow entrepreneurship and research commercialization on the University’s campus. The $25m in investment capital will be targeted at companies raising Series A funding.

The Office of Investments, which manages the University’s $7.1bn endowment, will oversee the University of Chicago Startup Investment Program as part of its private equity and venture capital portfolio.

University President Robert J. Zimmer said, “The University is continuing to expand its commitment to support our students and faculty across the institution who are engaged in entrepreneurship.

“By co-investing in new companies that have independent investments by established firms, we will enhance University-wide support for startups while encouraging venture partners to explore investment opportunities coming out of the University.”

Startups that hope to make use of the available funding must have a legitimate connection to the University. They should be founded by faculty, alumni, students or staff.

John Flavin, the associate vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University and leader of the institution’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Flavin said, “Capital is a key resource required for scaling ventures once they have advanced to this pivotal stage. The goal of the UChicago Startup Investment Program is to attract more venture partners to Chicago and infuse more needed capital into successful startups, leading to a greater number of them emerging from the University.”


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