One of the projects I’ve been helping out with recently is the Duke Angel Network. Universities have been making a stronger entrepreneurial push over the past few years and startup funding is always a challenge. With the Duke Angel Network, the idea is to review Duke-affiliated startups that have a student, alumni, faculty, staff, or parent of a graduate on the founding team and present qualified companies to angel investors that are Duke-affiliated (same criteria for affiliation).
Startups that raise money from the Duke Angel Network then have the option for a smaller matching investment from the Duke Innovation Fund. The Duke Innovation Fund is a charitable pool of committed capital that’s an evergreen vehicle to continually invest in Duke-affiliated startups indefinitely (e.g. all fund profits go back into the fund to invest in more startups). People can donate to the Duke Innovation Fund, get a charitable deduction, and know that the money will go to help the Duke-affiliated startups in perpetuity.
Here are a few thoughts on university-affiliated angel networks:
- Part of the pitch is that investing with a network of angels, whereby there are more people with expertise for any specific deal, will increase the overall returns (I’m hopeful this plays out but I don’t believe it will be the case)
- Increasing tech transfer (licensing university developed IP) is also a goal such that the more commercialization of technology – funded by the affiliated angel network – will generate greater returns for the university
- Development offices are fans of university-affiliated angel networks as it can help increase the affinity for the university and generate more engagement
Look for more university-affiliated angel networks to emerge, especially as entrepreneurship remains hot and universities seek to engage with their constituents.
What else? What are some more thoughts on university-affiliated angel networks?