UO Foundation fund to help local businesses, involve business and law students

Lillis Business Complex
Lillis Business Complex

The University of Oregon Foundation has established a new seed fund that will make investments in emerging local companies with help from students in the Lundquist College of Business.

The UO Foundation Seed Fund will invest in companies formed at the UO and it will also invest in companies in the broader community. The program will work closely with the recently announced Oregon RAIN initiative and others in the area to find the most promising young companies.

UO business and law students will manage the fund with guidance and support from the Business Innovation Institute and the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. Students will also receive insight from an advisory group of regional venture capital and angel investing experts and from the UO Foundation.

“The UO Foundation is thrilled to provide a unique experiential-learning opportunity for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students while providing capital to local, high-growth potential companies,” UO Foundation chief investment officer Jay Namyet said.

The seed fund plans to make initial investments of $20,000 to $75,000 in early-stage companies over the next three years with the ability to make follow-on investments. The fund is established with $500,000 from the Willamette Investment Pool.

“We’ve seen that active participation in early-stage company evaluation and investment provides a high-value learning experience for our business students,” said John Hull, executive director of the Business Innovation Institute and the Lundquist College of Business’s assistant dean for Centers of Excellence.

“We are confident that the UO Foundation Seed Fund will benefit the university and the greater community while providing a powerful learning experience that will differentiate our graduates,” added Hull.

The UO Foundation is a non-profit organization that receives, invests and distributes private gifts to the university, and manages assets of more than $900 million, including a $612 million endowment.