Purdue sets $5 million goal for annual alumni donations to support technology commercialization fund, student learning opportunities

March 27, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue alumni and friends could support Purdue-based startups and provide an educational experience for Purdue students learning to become the next venture capitalists and angel investors.

Purdue officials have set a $5 million annual goal for tax-deductible, philanthropic gifts from alumni and friends into the Emerging Innovations Fund. The fund invests between $20,000 and $150,000 annually in new ventures based on technologies by Purdue researchers or companies based in the Purdue Research Park network.

Funding awards made through the Emerging Innovations Fund rely on the due diligence performed by students admitted to the Student Managed Venture Fund.

Richard Cosier, Leeds Professor of Management and dean emeritus of the Krannert School of Management, said the experiential learning course involves a partnership between Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Krannert and Purdue Research Foundation.

"The Student Managed Venture Fund provides Purdue students the opportunity to learn what it means to be a venture capitalist, making authentic investments of venture capital in startups based on Purdue innovations," he said. "Investments made through the Emerging Innovations Fund are made on a competitive basis, and the due diligence performed by these students strongly influences the final awards."

Jon Gortat, senior project manager in the Office of Technology Commercialization, said investments from the Emerging Innovations Fund are made in early-stage (pre-Series A) companies based on a Purdue innovation or a company based in the four-site Purdue Research Park network.

"Alumni and friends can strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship at Purdue, internally and externally, by contributing to this resource for Purdue innovators. The fund helps bridge the gap between having an idea for a product or service and bringing it to the public," he said. "The fund already has helped a number of startups developed from Purdue innovations."

In the past three years, the fund has invested more than $400,000 in six companies based on Purdue innovations: bioVidria Inc., Medtric Biotech LLC, Microfluidic Innovations LLC, Spensa Technologies Inc., Telos Discovery Systems Inc. and Tymora Analytical Operations LLC.

Anton Iliuk, president and chief technology officer of Tymora Analytical Operations, said the Emerging Innovations Fund investment helped with the initial steps of marketing and selling its first product, PolyMAC. The company develops nanotechnology to help make cancer research and drug discovery more efficient and effective.

"The EIF award helped us bring our next product, pIMAGO, to market," he said. "It also provided us with good leverage to obtain subsequent investments from other resources."

Contributions to the Emerging Innovations Fund can be made by contacting Paul Sturm, director of development for Purdue's Discovery Park in the University Development Office, at 765-494-6668 or prsturm@prf.org. Alumni and friends also can visit http://bit.ly/1fQ2tai to make a donation, or send a check to Dauch Alumni Center, 403 W. Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN, 47906. There are no pre-qualifications or minimum amounts to contribute. All donors will receive an annual report that highlights the activities of the Emerging Innovations Fund.

About the Emerging Innovations Fund

In 2008 Purdue Research Foundation introduced the Emerging Innovations Fund, an integrated approach to research innovation, development and commercialization. The Emerging Innovations Fund is a self-sustaining initiative that brings together ideas, management and money to accelerate the commercialization of early-stage technologies in the Purdue community. 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org

Sources: Richard Cosier, 765-494-4353, rcosier@purdue.edu

Jon Gortat, 765-588-3485, jdgortat@prf.org

Anton Iliuk, 765-490-6834, anton.iliuk@tymora-analytical.com

Paul Sturm, 765-494-6668, prsturm@prf.org

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