OSU, OU coming together to create new venture capital fund

Two of Ohio’s most prominent universities are teaming up to create a new venture capital fund that addresses the funding needs of early-stage technology ventures.

It was announced Thursday that The Ohio State University has committed $20 million to the fund and Ohio University has pledged $15 million. The universities also will leverage their resources and assets to garner the best talent and facilities to jumpstart entrepreneurial activity and business creation in the Buckeye State.

“In Ohio, there is a lack of critical, early-stage funding for innovative technologies,” says Ohio State President Gordon Gee. “That gap between idea and tangible venture is sometimes called ‘the valley of death’ because it is where good ideas die. We cannot allow that to happen, and universities can provide a solution.”

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis says the universities believe they have identified a new model for technology commercialization success.

“Taking what we have learned on an institutional level and applying it on a larger scale has great potential for our state, our students, faculty, staff and, most importantly, all Ohioans,” he adds.

Dominion Ventures −based in Walnut Creek, Calif.− has been named general partner and will work with the two universities to create an Ohio-based, early-stage fund that will support innovative companies that emerge out of research conducted at Ohio State, Ohio University, and other Ohio universities. Additional details regarding commercialization and funding activities will be available in the next quarter.

With their depth of research expertise, creative faculty, business capabilities and eager, well-prepared students, universities are uniquely positioned to help innovative companies grow and succeed, Gee says.

“We hope to move more innovations to the marketplace to cure disease, produce healthier food, and advance alternative energy solutions,”  McDavis says. “And in doing so, we want to create jobs, keep talented people in Ohio, and attract more people and businesses to a state that clearly values research and innovation. And that is good for all Ohioans.”