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Ohio State, Ohio universities happy with many-pronged returns of joint VC fund

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

After the first fund met its objectives – not only financial returns, but also fostering digital firms in Ohio and creating jobs for their graduates – the public universities that founded an Ohio-focused venture capital firm are considering launching a second fund.

Managing Director Bill Baumel told Columbus Business First last month that the Ohio Innovation Fund is on course to repay five times what limited partners put into it, averaging a 30 percent annual return in the five years since the Columbus firm began investing.

“Everyone is ecstatic about the program’s accomplishment,” Ohio University President Hugh Sherman said in an interview. “It wasn’t a large sum of money; it was just a technique for us to see if we could receive investment returns – and it worked.”

Sherman stated that he would be “comfortable” providing the OU Foundation with a second OIF fund.

Ohio State CFO Mike Papadakis said, “It was really about establishing that startup ecosystem in Ohio, bringing those links back to the students and universities.” “We’re very pleased with how Fund I has turned out. We’ve had a few discussions concerning future funding.”

Related article: Here’s what Ohio State thinks about its Drive Capital VC investment now.

The fund was established in 2012 with $20 million from Ohio State and $15 million from Ohio University, but it didn’t begin investing until the schools poached Cincinnati native Baumel from a Silicon Valley VC company in 2016. According to regulatory documents, Kent State University and the State Teachers Retirement System later joined as limited partners; the fund’s total size is unknown.

Source: Columbus Inno – Ohio State, Ohio universities happy with many-pronged returns of joint VC fund


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