University of California to Put $250 Million in Innovation Fund

  • Fund to be headed by Silicon Valley investor Vivek Ranadive
  • The 10-campus system to promote research by faculty, students

The University of California is putting the first $250 million into a fund intended to promote innovations by its students and faculty, university officials said.

Vivek Ranadive, an author, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and owner of professional basketball’s Sacramento Kings, will lead the fund to invest in startups in life sciences, material sciences, agriculture, technology and energy, officials said in a call on Tuesday.

“Everything I have I owe to the great state of California," Ranadive, an immigrant from India, said on the call. “Our mission is to help grow companies that make the world a better place.”

Private Capital

Initial funds will come from the university system’s $93.5 billion investment portfolio and will seek to attract private capital, Ranadive and university Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher said. Ranadive said he expects the fund to grow substantially.

Ranadive will invest 5 percent of the amount that is ultimately raised, Janet Napolitano, UC’s president, said on the call.

The UC system’s investments include a $51.7 billion pension fund, a $19.2 billion retirement savings program, an $8.4 billion endowment and $14.2 billion in working capital. About 48 percent of its investments are in stocks, according to a quarterly report.

“I saw an opportunity to create a new kind of fund that was grounded in research and was value-driven," Ranadive said.

The University of California has been granted more patents over the past several decades than any other university in the world, according to a university press release.

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