University-Affiliated Angel Networks

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?

2 thoughts on “University-Affiliated Angel Networks

  1. David – have you talked to the people at Frazer & Deter. They are working with several universities on a platform they have named Venture Farm. It is very similar to what you are describing at Duke. I would be glad to make an introduction if you do not already know them.

    Have a happy and safe 4th

    John Huntz Huntz & Co 2970 Peachtree Road, NW Suite 510 Atlanta, Ga 30305

    Sent from my iPhone

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