University invests in UC Berkeley startup institute

Ethan Epstein/Senior Staff

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During the UC Board of Regents finance committee meeting Friday, the university revealed that it had invested in The House Fund, a $6 million venture capitalist fund exclusively for campus student, alumni and faculty startups.

The House Fund, however, is only one of three initiatives from the overarching startup institute The House. The remaining two initiatives, The House Founders and The House Residency, are support platforms for students, founders and startups.

“We have endorsement from the university system, while still being able to run and manage The House and The House Fund like a startup,” said Jeremy Fiance, co-founder of The House Fund. “For us, that is something that is incredibly important — to be able to move quickly and really build out this vision for the community.”

The university allocated funds for The House through its UC Ventures Program — a program run by the Office of the Chief Investment Officer, or OCIO. The OCIO plans to invest $25 million in local for-profit funds across the UC system to contribute to the innovation coming out of campuses, medical centers, schools and labs.

According to Fiance, this investment has been in the works since April when the fund was announced. The official announcement was delayed because of the OCIO’s extensive review process, said UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher.

“We take time to do homework and make a decision to invest,” Bachher said of the delay. “Dotting all the ‘i’s and crossing all the ‘t’s is part of doing the homework.”

The OCIO chooses to invest in funds based on various criteria, including that the startup has raised $1 million of outside capital on its own and that it will return a portion of profits to its campus. After conducting the review, the OCIO can then invest up to $3 million in a fund. The exact amount of funding for The House Fund, however, is unspecified.

Contact Brenna Smith and Mariah De Zuzuarregui at [email protected].

A headline accompanying a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the University of California invested $6 million in the House Fund. In fact, the actual amount has not been disclosed.