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The founders of a venture capital fund formed to invest in companies spawned from the University of Arizona have launched a second fund with a goal of raising $100 million.
Founded in 2017 by local businessman Fletcher McCusker, UAVenture Capital raised $20 million for its first fund and invested in six startup companies based on UA technology or started by UA students.
UAVenture Capital is now in the process of raising money toward a target of $100 million for the second fund, McCusker said.
“The activity and robust nature of UA innovation and invention requires significant startup capital, thus the reason for the second fund,” said McCusker, who previously founded the public company Providence Service Corp. and Sinfonía Healthcare Corp.
UA President Robert Robbins said the school is grateful to McCusker and UAVenture Capital for their support in helping bring UA innovations to their full potential.
“Their work on behalf of the UA not only supports innovations that benefit the world, but it also helps put the university and Tucson on the map as a place where ideas can become reality,” Robbins said in a news release.
The initial UAVenture Capital fund focused on startups bringing to market UA science, technology, services and intellectual property originating from faculty, students, alumni and affiliates.
Companies that won funding included startups founded on UA-owned inventions, including Codelucida, Regulonix and FreeFall, as well as Post.Bid.Ship and Qwick, companies launched by UA students.
Exact investments weren’t disclosed, but averaged about $2 million each, McCusker has said.
Citing the need for more funding, McCusker said the startup activity is more robust than he imagined, attracting national and international attention.
“We see huge gains in our region’s reputation as a startup harbor,” he said.
UAVenture Capital was itself indirectly seeded by UA technology.
McCusker’s Sinfonia Healthcare created SinfoníaRx in 2013, when it acquired a medication-management technology company founded on technology developed at the UA College of Pharmacy.
With the help of Tech Launch Arizona — the UA office that commercializes inventions from research — SinfoníaRx was sold to Tabula Rasa HealthCare in September 2017.
McCusker and fund principals Larry Hecker and Michael Deitch used proceeds from the sale to reinvest in the community with the UAVenture Capital.
Tech Launch Arizona Assistant Vice President Doug Hockstad noted that the starting of a second fund boosts opportunities for UA entrepreneurs.
“The UAVC’s focus on University of Arizona startups illustrates the strength of the research and intellectual property being developed here,” Hockstad said.