ASU receives $1 mln to form new VC fund

Arizona State University has received a $1 million grant from the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority to launch a VC fund. The target is $10 million. According to ASU, the pool will focus on companies that have been aided by ASU-supported accelerator programs. The fund will make investments ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 in selected companies.


Scottsdale, AZ (PRWEB) February 12, 2014
The Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority (MCIDA) has awarded a $1 million grant to the ASU Foundation for A New American University to create a venture capital fund. The fund will be invested in companies that benefit from ASU-supported accelerator programs, helping them take the next step in their development with early-stage manufacturing startup support.
Accessing this early-stage risk capital will allow Arizona companies and entrepreneurs to create jobs and wealth. This is in keeping with the mission of the MCIDA: to create and maintain jobs within Maricopa County and help residents achieve a better standard of living and way of life.
“When the IDA partners with ASU it makes both organizations stronger,” said David Adame, president of the authority. “One of the fundamental goals of the IDA is to spur economic development with a focus on job creation. This agreement with ASU will help improve the fiscal health of our community.”
Denny Barney is chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors and represents District 1. Barney said, “Maricopa County is excited to join with ASU to help emerging businesses develop into sustainable companies and promote job growth in the county. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to investing in the long-term, sustainable growth of Maricopa County.”
The venture capital fund was developed by the ASU Foundation and two university initiatives: the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group and ASU’s technology transfer arm, Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE).
This evergreen fund will take small equity positions in each company that receives investment capital in transactions ranging from $50,000 to $250,000. EIG and AzTE will select companies for investment through a process developed in consultation with donors. Final approval will be given by a selection committee.
As a company matures and realizes liquidity, proceeds will flow back to the fund to be re-invested in future companies. ASU’s goal is to build the fund to $10 million through private donations.
R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., CEO of the ASU Foundation, said, “This fund is the next step in ASU’s evolution of the knowledge enterprise model. We are able to advance entrepreneurship through our ASU accelerators — the Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator, the ASU Startup Accelerator and the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative — then support the results with venture capital that will allow them to expand and achieve.
“We’re grateful to MCIDA for recognizing the value of supporting Arizona-based entrepreneurship through ASU,” Shangraw said, “and we look forward to using this grant to fund manufacturing companies that will contribute to the public good of our community and our state.”
The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at ASU helps innovators, inventors, ideators and entrepreneurs launch for-profit, nonprofit and more-than-profit ventures. The joint initiative between ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and AzTE serves as the hub for entrepreneurial activity at ASU and is based at ASU SkySong in Scottsdale. Over three years the unit has grown to encompass not just startup acceleration but a range of entrepreneurship-related activities across the university, the metro area and the state. This fiscal year EIG will support more than 70 startups.
“More than half the startups we have worked with over the last two and a half years have been manufacturing-related, and this new fund will support their growth and development as job and wealth creators,” said Gordon McConnell, ASU’s associate vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation and a general partner of the new fund.
In 10 years, AzTE has supported the launch and development of 67 ASU spinoff companies. Spinoffs based on ASU-developed technologies raised $68 million in external funding during the 2013 fiscal year. Altogether, companies licensing ASU discoveries have raised nearly $400 million in venture funding since AzTE’s creation in 2003.
“A healthy venture capital industry is a key part of a robust startup ecosystem,” said Charles Lewis, AzTE vice president for venture development and a general partner of the new fund. “This generous gift from MCIDA will help ASU to start and grow this fund for the benefit of entrepreneurs.”
Although its primary area of service is Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority has financial projects throughout the state. Past programs have originated housing projects in every county, while commercial projects have been financed in five different Arizona counties.
About the ASU Foundation for A New American University (
Incorporated in 1955, the ASU Foundation is a premier-rated Charity Navigator 4-Star nonprofit. The foundation ensures the success of ASU as a New American University by partnering the university and the community as a force for positive change. The foundation’s revolutionary model of donor relations identifies each investor’s passion, then facilitates a sustainable affiliation between the investor and the ASU college or institute that shares that passion. Focused on service, engagement and innovation values, the ASU Foundation accesses the momentum and intellectual power of a New American University to enable investors to solve problems and change their world.
About the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (
Arizona State University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, a joint initiative between the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and Arizona Technology Enterprises, serves as the hub for entrepreneurial activity at ASU. Based at ASU SkySong in Scottsdale, the group supports students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, helping them navigate the wide range of entrepreneurship-related classes, programs and resources available throughout the university and within the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The group also helps entrepreneurs launch their for-profit, nonprofit and more-than-profit ventures through programs such as the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative and the Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator, which provide funding, incubation space and mentorship to high-potential startups. In addition, the group works to build Arizona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with community-wide initiatives such as the Alexandria Co-working Network, a statewide network of collaboration spaces in public libraries.
About Arizona Technology Enterprises (
Established in 2003, Arizona Technology Enterprises is a wholly owned subsidiary of the ASU Foundation for A New American University. Over the last 10 years AzTE has supported the development of 67 ASU spinoff companies. Comprising industry and university veterans, AzTE brings together ASU’s researchers and industry partners to transform discoveries into marketable products and services, taking innovation out of the lab and into the commercial marketplace. AzTE currently offers for licensing more than 300 novel technologies in the life and physical sciences.

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