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University endowments see uncertain success in returns from alternative assets

Across the United States, universities’ endowments have seen a large return in their portfolios in the past year, according to a recent PitchBook report. This trend was most notable in well-known universities with large endowments. The University of North Carolina reported a 42.3 percent return, Duke University reported a 56 percent return, and Washington University in St. Louis reported a 65 percent return. These gains are largely attributed to their investments in alternative assets like venture capital and private equity.

Arizona home to effort launching national semiconductor roadmap

Semiconductor leaders and stakeholders have joined together to launch a year-long, industry-led effort to boost U.S. semiconductor competitiveness. The National Semiconductor Economic Roadmap (NSER) will focus on the workforce, supply chain and infrastructure to support industry R&D, design, manufacturing and end applications.

Venture capital on pace to break all kinds of records in 2021

The PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor Q3 2021 reports eye-popping investment activity through the first three quarters of the year. So far this year, the total venture capital market has invested more than $238 billion across an estimated 12,000+ deals, more than 1,300 exits have yielded more than $580 billion in value for investors, and 526 funds have raised more than $96 billion.

Useful Stats: Net establishment creation by state and establishment size, 2019

Innovations are often born from small businesses, operating with few employees, if any at all, to bring new technologies and processes to market. However, new small businesses frequently fail and are not the only source of innovation. Understanding the regional dynamics of business creation can help leaders better support their regional innovation economies, and this edition of Useful Stats builds on our previous analyses of net establishment creation and net job creation by state and by industry to explore establishment creation by state and by establishment size (as measured by the number of employees) for 2019.

Feeding opportunity

The emerging innovation-intensive sector of urban farming is seeing heightened interest by venture capitalists, investments are growing faster than the crops: $2.4 billion so far this year at last count by PitchBook. That reflects a year over year (YoY) investment growth rate of 214 percent.  The number of individual deals also is rising 14 percent YoY. The sector is expected by many market analysts to capture an increasing share of the nation’s food supply for a number of reasons.

FCC announces second round of RDOF broadband funding; pulls back other offers

The Federal Communications Commission announced its second round of funding for new broadband investments through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). It also revealed that it is “continuing its work to refocus the program to ensure that funding goes to unserved areas that need broadband,” and as a result dozens of winning bidders from the previous round have “chosen not to pursue buildout … .”

Unicorn with initial round of government-sponsored funding goes public

Benson Hill, a unicorn (a startup valued over $1 billion) that closed its deal to become a public company last week, was able to leverage several sources of public capital to accelerate its early success. The St. Louis-based agricultural technology company uses machine learning and genome editing to facilitate the production of sustainable and healthy crops.