University of California officials announced Tuesday they will be the initial investor and commit $250 million to a venture capital fund that will invest in UC innovation and will be run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive.
Officials said the fund will serve two purposes — helping build UC-generated companies and serving as a good investment for the university’s endowment, foundation and pension plan, with total assets of about $91 billion.
“What we have not had consistently is the ability to accelerate and expand into the marketplace the ideas and research that is undertaken in our laboratories by our students and faculty,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a conference call Tuesday. “They’ve had to go out on their own and find capital, or not.”
The University of California Board of Regents, Oakland, approved a plan in September 2014 to create UC Ventures, a stand-alone venture capital investment vehicle. But Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher said during the conference call that officials felt the best plan was to invest in Mr. Ranadive’s fund, which will also seek other institutional investors. Mr. Bachher said the new fund would replace the UC Ventures initative.
The new fund is an independent vehicle and is not being run by the university.
Mr. Ranadive is the former CEO of real-time computing company TIBCO Software, and current owner and chairman of the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team.