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Universities, Public-Private Partners Launch Commercialization Funds in IN, LA, PA, WA

October 23, 2014

Purdue University, the University City Science Center, and Washington State University announced the creation of new investment funds to support the growth of university-affiliated startups in their respective communities. These three recently announced commercialization funds all share a common trend – they will be managed or assisted in the management process via public-private partnerships. In Baton Rouge, LA, the Research Park Corporation also announced the creation of a fund to assist Louisiana State University researchers compete for commercialization funding from the university.

Purdue University
In partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the Purdue Foundry announced the creation of the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund, a three-year, $2 million fund to support qualified Purdue-affiliated startups. The funds are intended to support a startup venture that will commercialize licensed Purdue University intellectual property or that will leverage other Purdue assets such as research collaborations. It will offer two levels of support:

  • Black Award – a $20,000 convertible nonrecourse note; and,
  • Gold Award – a debt or equity investment for up to an additional $80,000.

To be eligible, the startup must be a Purdue Foundry client and have gone through their startup program.

The Purdue Foundry will operate the fund jointly with Elevate Ventures, a nonprofit investment firm. Awards and funding amounts will be made by a six-member investment committee comprised of equal members from Elevate Ventures and Purdue Foundry. They also announced two new entrepreneurs-in-residence to support awardees. Read the announcement…

University City Science Center
The University City Science Center received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to establish a multi-institutional commercialization fund intended to help create spinout companies formed around technologies with high commercial potential in the life sciences and healthcare technology sectors. The Phase 1 Ventures Fund will act as the next stage to its QED Proof-of-Concept Program and will vet technologies for the market place that have moved beyond initial proof-of-concept stage. Similar to the QED Program, applications will be accepted from 19 universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware that participate in this public-private partnership under a common agreement that defines matching funds and intellectual property management. In addition to funding, Phase 1 Ventures Fund awardees will receive services from the University City Science Center, mentoring from advisors, and management support. Read the announcement…

Washington State University
Washington State University (WSU) announced the creation of the Commercialization Gap-Funding (CGF) Program. The awards are intended to be the final funding step for near-market-ready technologies developed by WSU researchers. A portion of designated funding will be set aside for developing a business model for the product. WSU has partnered with Seattle-based Accelerator Corp. – a biotechnology investment and management company – to help manage the fund and associated programs. Read the announcement…

Research Park Corporation
In partnership with the Louisiana State University (LSU), the Research Park Corporation’s (RPC) Board of Directors approved $250,000 to launch the LSU Re-LIFT2 program. The fund will complement LSU’s LIFT2 Fund, a $2 million proof-of-concept fund launched earlier this year to support commercialization efforts across the LSU system. The RPC’s $250,000 in funding will support at least 30 promising projects that were not selected to receive a LIFT2 award.

Each company will receive $5,000 for activities such as competitive analyses, marketing studies or help to strengthen other weak areas of the application, ideally raising the likelihood of funding during the next LIFT2 round. The LSU Research & Technology Foundation (RTF) and the technology transfer directors of the system’s five research campuses will select the participants for Re-LIFT2 from the pool of unsuccessful applicants of the LIFT2 competition. RTF also will be required to develop educational and training workshops to help researchers improve their applications and engage service providers to assist the faculty participants in the Re-LIFT2 program. Read the announcement…

Indiana, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Washingtonhigher ed, commercialization, capital