The University of California (UC) is setting up a $250 million investment fund to back fledging innovation-oriented companies run by UC faculty members and research students, providing yet another example of the close collaboration between the private and public spheres that flourishes in the United States.

University of California sets up VC fund to invest in research-led innovation

Silicon Valley now has a new venture capital player – the University of California (UC)! The university recently announced plans to set up a $250 million fund whose basic mission is to invest in startups founded by UC faculty members, students and alumni. Headed up by Vivek Ranadivé, a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, the fund will target investment opportunities arising from university-based work in the life sciences, information and communication technology, energy and agriculture.

The University of California is of course far from being an ordinary educational establishment. Its campuses, with Berkeley and Los Angeles at the forefront, top the rankings of the best performing state colleges in the United States.  Moreover, in 2014 UC was also ranked number one university in the world for US utility patents granted that year. As of June 2014, the university held a total of 4,448 active US patents. In 2011 alone, over 600 startups were founded with a view to capitalising on inventions developed on UC’s ten campuses.

It is not hard to see why UC wants to continue to support the innovative ideas nurtured on campus and to take a real stake in the value – and wealth – creation that results from research work carried out within its walls.  Here again is an excellent example of the close collaboration between the public and private sectors that exists in Silicon Valley, which is a mark of excellence, US style.

By Pauline Canteneur