The University of Massachusetts Amherst hopes maroon will soon not only symbolize the campus colors but also innovation.
University officials announced this week the formation of the Maroon Venture Partners Fund, a new effort to support entrepreneurship among alumni, faculty and students.
“UMass Amherst, as the Commonwealth’s flagship, plays a crucial role in the state’s innovation economy,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said. “Our research in fields such as applied life sciences, advanced manufacturing, food science, big data and climate science are internationally recognized. The ingenuity and expertise of our faculty and students, as well as our alumni, provide fertile opportunities for private and university investment to jointly enrich our economic future.”
The for-profit venture fund will invest in early stage companies linked to the flagship campus. Typical investments will range from $50,000 to $200,000, with the fund anticipating to make 12 to 15 investments over three years.
Charles Johnson, associate director of the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst, will oversee daily operations of the fund. Johnson will also serve on the fund’s five-person investment committee.
“We expect the fund to be a significant catalyst for entrepreneurship throughout the UMass Amherst community, and it also provides great opportunities for student engagement,” Johnson said.
The venture fund has raised $1.5 million to date, including a million dollar donation alumnus Paul Manning and $500,000 invested by the university.