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Cambridge Seeks Investors for University-Linked Ventures

The University of Cambridge is seeking to raise 1 million pounds ($1.59 million) to establish a fund for attracting money to ventures connected to the institution that might eventually stand on their own.

The fund will be managed by London-based investment firm Parkwalk Advisors Ltd. and advised by Cambridge Enterprise Ltd., the university’s commercial-development unit, Parkwalk and Cambridge Enterprise said today in a statement.

The university, in Cambridge, England, has helped produce at least nine companies valued at more than $1 billion each, according to the statement. Two that emerged were semiconductor designer ARM Holdings Plc and software maker Autonomy, according to the statement. ARM’s market value is about 6.7 billion pounds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Autonomy was acquired last year by Hewlett-Packard Co. for about $10.3 billion.

“This fund will dramatically increase the university’s ability to spin out successful companies,” Leszek Borysiewicz, vice chancellor, said in the statement.

Cambridge Enterprise seed-fund investments have included Solexa, which was acquired in 2007 by Illumina Inc., the San Diego-based maker of gene-mapping tools. In November 2006, Illumina agreed to pay about $600 million in stock for Solexa.

“The lack of access to early-stage funding is a major concern for very young companies,” said Anne Dobree, head of seed funds at Cambridge Enterprise.

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