Interest: The Kaufmann Foundation recently noted in a controversial review in the Wall Street Journal that, of its past 20 years of investing in nearly 100 venture funds, “Only four of thirty venture capital funds with committed capital of more than $400 million delivered returns better than those available from a publicly traded small cap common stock index.” Further damning evidence cited is that fully two-thirds of compensation for general partners comes from fees, not performance (carry).
Interest: Don’t get overwhelmed by the techie-talk surrounding the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Concentrate on this: The $70 million initiative that will be headquartered in downtown Youngstown is a partnership formed to create a manufacturing innovation hub, and it beat out consortiums from other parts of the country, including one featuring the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Interest: Arizona State University's SkySong business-development program has undergone dramatic changes in its first four years of existence. In some respects, the program is still trying to define its proper role in the community.Founded in 2008, ASU SkySong opened in the middle of a recession as an effort to connect Arizona State University's pool of intellectual talent with the Phoenix area's vibrant but fragmented entrepreneurial community.
Interest: With a single bright-green wall, communal work table for five, and occasional YouTube-video breaks, his room on the fourth floor of the Earle Mack School of Law on the Drexel University campus feels more like a business start-up. But then again, Okamoto is the founder of ApprenNet, an independent, two-year-old company that provides apprenticeship-like job experiences online.
Interest: Vaxess Technologies, a start-up that’s developing refrigeration-free vaccines, got into Harvard! If Vaxess had parents, they’d be proud — especially considering that the developers of its core technologies — Fiorenzo Omenetto and David Kaplan — are professors at Tufts University.
Interest: The fundraising effort underscores the rising ambition of Thrive Capital’s young founder Joshua Kushner, 27, who hails from a prominent real estate family. His firm was one of several that doubled their money practically overnight after it invested in photo-sharing service Instagram at a $500 million valuation just days before Facebook bought the company for $1 billion in cash and stock. The purchase price, however, has declined as Facebook’s stock has suffered recently.
Interest: The University of Hartford's Entrepreneurial Center (EC) has received a $75,000 Community Development Block Grant from the City of Hartford to fund another year of programming for the Hartford Small Business Technical Assistance Program, an initiative designed to support the City of Hartford's One City One Plan goal of helping existing businesses to remain in Hartford.
Interest: Rob Rankin created a website to help fellow University of Miami students find spots in the classes they need. UM let its advisers link to the site and the IT department offered to hire Rankin for other projects. Young hacker Chris Putnam made profiles on Facebook look like the old and really uncool MySpace profiles. Facebook hired him.
Interest: A Florida State University professor is developing a new drug that could help prevent concussions before they occur, or reduce the chance of long-term damage. Jacob VanLandingham has been setting up meetings with the National Football League, NASCAR and the Department of Defense to discuss Prevasol.During a morning session at the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Community Conference, VanLandingham used his efforts to market the drug to illustrate the ways nearby universities.
Interest: Entrepreneurs from across the state of Florida can now register to attend the "CleanTech to SpaceTech Showcase". Carrying the theme "Accelerating Florida Entrepreneurship", the unique, two-day event will unveil exciting new clean technology initiatives, programs, and endeavors. CleanTech to SpaceTech will take place on September 20-21 at The Florida Hotel in Orlando. Presented by the Florida Cleantech Acceleration Network Showcase (FL-CAN), Igniting Innovation (I2) Capital Acceleration Network
Interest: Manufacturing companies create a disproportionate number of high-wage jobs, especially for less-educated workers. To have jobs in manufacturing, which accounts for 68 percent of the research and development spending by U.S. companies, the nation needs to continue to lead in innovation.Without that capital, or, if those companies become public, they have more incentives to move manufacturing overseas to save money.
Interest: A new Ann Arbor-based venture capital fund with high-profile backers has formed a counterintuitive investment thesis: that it can help stop the flow of University of Michigan start-ups to Silicon Valley.The firm, called Michigan eLab, is raising cash to invest in early-stage information-technology companies, including start-ups launched by U-M students and companies created by faculty entrepreneurs.
Interest: The East Lansing TIC is business incubator and home to technology startup companies. The Hatch is a co-working office that offers memberships to students who are enrolled at least half-time in a higher education institution in the Lansing region.Beyond the more obvious benefits (mailing address, high-speed internet, etc.), the educational benefits of these shared work environments are real, and are both tangible and intangible.
Interest: From Harvard to Stanford, a growing number of elite universities are throwing open their digital doors to the masses. They're offering their most popular courses online for no charge, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to learn from world-renowned scholars and scientists.Many colleges have offered Web-based courses for years, but the participation of top-tier research universities marks a major milestone in the expansion of digital learning.
Interest: Texas Tech University was awarded a $2.5-million grant to help attract leading cancer researcher Igor Sokolov to the university.The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas announced funding of more than $114 million to support cancer-fighting efforts in Texas, according to a news release.This is the first scientist recruited for an Investigators Performing Translational Research: Established Investigators award that the cancer institute has funded.
Interest: U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) announced that the University of Maryland (UMD) College Park has been awarded a grant through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for their Maryland Collaborative for Beginning Farmer Success program to help beginning farmers learn about and establish successful farms.
Interest: Cleveland Clinic Innovations and The Ohio State University's Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer Office (TCO) have entered into an alliance to accelerate and commercialize medical innovations. This collaborative effort, which creates the largest medical commercialization network in Ohio, is focused on improving and extending the lives of patients, and will have a positive impact on the State of Ohio through job creation and economic development.
Interest: North Carolina hog producers and farmers could benefit from the launch of the Biotechnology Crops Commercialization Center. The new crop commercialization center will target potentially valuable crops adapted to North Carolina's diverse soil, climate and agribusiness conditions. Its first project is the Swine Feed Project, to reduce swine feed imported to North Carolina, potentially through grain sorghum – a corn-like feed grain not typically grown within the state.
Interest: Just this past Thursday, the university announced another program — its Master of Real Estate Development — that it will put in the One development downtown.The academic programs are attracting bright young minds to Greenville — and giving them expert knowledge in automotive engineering, bioengineering and business.Many of the students will go to work for big corporations in other cities, but others will start their own companies — or at least try to.
Interest: The Metro Atlanta Chamber’s five year strategic plan, Forward Atlanta, places higher education front and center in the effort to make the metro region globally competitive.For the most part, the focus is on research universities, which makes sense given those institutions’ educational and economic impacts.But buried in the plan is a reference that requires greater emphasis given the higher ed-business connections the Chamber aspires to create.