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State of Washington Commits $5M to New $25M Investment Fund

December 07, 2011

The state of Washington's Governor Chris Gregoire announced the state will contribute $5 million to the W Fund, a new $25 million investment fund intended to spin more startups out of research labs at the University of Washington, Washington State University and other state research institutions. Administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce, key growth sectors targeted by the W Fund include biotech and clean tech. The fund intends to start considering investments in early 2012. Read the Governor's press release...

The W Fund was first developed in late 2010 as the tentatively named Husky Bridge Investment Fund and was intended to focus strictly on commercializing research at the University of Washington, according to an article on xconomy.com. Its vision was to help business students gain experience by vetting company with the potential to gain real world experience by helping faculty turn their research into startup companies. However, with state funding, the W Fund will expand its focus from the University of Washington to include the state's other research institutions. Wealthy individual investors and foundations contributed most of the initial $20 million seeking a return on their investment. However, the state will not take any equity stake in the fund. Washington State's Commerce Director, Rogers Weed said, "(the state) will be in a position to get its money back from the W Fund investors, plus interest, if the investments turn out positive."

Washingtonhigher ed, commercialization, public equity funds