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UChicago Launches $25M Fund For Investing In Startups

By Mae Rice in News on Dec 2, 2016 5:55PM

University of Chicago / Facebook

The University of Chicago is getting into the startup funding game. The Hyde Park university has set aside $25 million of its $7.1 billion endowment to invest in startups with close ties to the campus, the school announced Friday. The new fund, titled the UChicago Startup Investment Program, aims to bolster entrepreneurship and commercialization of research at the university—as well as Chicago's startup scene at large.

“In addition to fostering innovation, we hope the UChicago Startup Investment Program will encourage... venture capitalists to take a deeper look in the Midwest and Chicago specifically,” Mark Schmid, the university's vice president and chief investment officer, said in a statement.

Set to run for a decade, the fund will invest in three to four startups every year, each with ties to students, faculty, staff and/or alumni. Most if not all of the startups the school invests in will be in their early stages, raising their first rounds of capital (also known as Series A funding).

The school will only invest in startups that have already acquired venture capital funding from an "established venture capital firm," and they'll invest a maximum of $500,000 in a given company.

"[W]e’re serious about helping faculty and students build fast-growing companies," John Flavin, the university's associate vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation said in a statement.

University of Chicago already has close ties with several successful startups, including Grubhub and Braintree.