LVG Seed Fund
SIF183 LVG Seed Fund
Project Manager: Melur K. (Ram) Ramasubramanian
The purpose of this award is to provide additional funds to the LVG Seed Fund established in 2016 to accelerate the commercialization of UVA research technologies.
Approved: Summer 2021
Project Dates: 10/1/2021 – 9/30/2029
Funding Awarded: $10,000,000 ($6M SIF, $4M Medical Center Strategic and Reserve Fund)
The LVG Seed Fund II has made considerable progress in our first year of the award. Over the last twelve months we completed our first investment in CytoRecovery, Inc. This company is based on UVA technology out of the lab of Dr. Nathan Swami, Professor of Electrical & Computer Science. In addition, we continued to attract outside funding for our companies and to the region from venture capital firms, corporate venture arms and private angel groups leveraging $9 for every $1 invested by the Fund. Staff of the Fund played key roles in building both the local and regional ecosystem working with C’ville Bio Hub, the Launch Place, and VBHRC addressing the challenges in commercializing technology at the earliest stages of development. The staff spoke at multiple UVA programs as well as national conferences discussing the Fund, its activities and best practices. In May 2022, our sixth cohort of second year Darden students completed their Due Diligence in Seed Funds class, and we welcomed a new class in August 2022 after completing our fifth summer internship program. We look forward to the second year of the UVA LVG Seed Fund II with a strong pipeline of investment opportunities generated from UVA innovation.
As a result, our metrics in the early years of investing will focus on continuing to accelerate UVA innovation through:
a) investment in companies that commercialize UVA technologies/research,
b) attracting strong co-investors to these companies and as a result to UVA,
c) continuing to be a leader in experiential learning for Darden students through summer internships and the Due Diligence in Seed Fund class and,
d) maintain our leadership position and collaborations within the internal and external UVA community.
In addition, worked with a number of faculty teams developing technology for commercialization through two NIH I-Corps Programs in collaboration with iTHRIV and through internal “whiteboard” sessions with Fund staff and Fund Entrepreneurs-In-Residence.
Conducted nine investment committee meetings. The seed and early-stage investment market are in slight turmoil at the present time. This can be attributed to instability in the acquisition, public and overall global environment which results in a slowing of new investments, lowering of valuations.
The consequences for Fund II are that we reviewed less deals that were investment ready, it was harder to attract co-investors, valuation discussions were more difficult and we will have to be careful with our reserve strategies as companies will raise more rounds prior to an exit.
Although we are unable to predict when the current economic cycle will begin to reverse, our current expectations have us preparing for a slightly longer time frame to invest the full amount of the award. While this may be a practical result of the investing strategy of the Fund, we fortunately do not expect any reduction on our broader impact supporting UVA innovation. Individual deals may take longer, but we will continue building investor and business relationships to improve the resources within the startup ecosystem at UVA.