IU Philanthropic Venture Fund Wraps First Year of ‘Perpetual’ Model

Posted: Updated:
IU PhV says it currently has 30 “qualified opportunities in our pipeline." IU PhV says it currently has 30 “qualified opportunities in our pipeline."

The Indiana Philanthropic Venture Fund (IU PhV) is on the doorstep of its one-year anniversary and, although not limited to the life sciences, it has funneled $1.6 million into the sector’s early-stage Indiana-based companies. Its visionaries designed the evergreen fund to be a “perpetual resource” and an answer for Indiana University alums who want to support the university and its entrepreneurs.

Launched in March 2018, the $15 million IU PhV has invested in five life sciences startups, two of which were founded by or are led by women. In addition to the $15 million IU committed to the fund, IU PhV aims to raise another $35 million from alumni and supporters of the university. IU PhV Executive Director and Fund Manager Teri Willey says the fund invests in ventures with strong IU connections, such as companies founded by IU faculty or alumni and licensees that are developing IU intellectual property.

A second factor that makes the fund unique is its philanthropic model; IU Foundation board members and the Innovate Indiana Fund investment committee repeatedly heard requests from potential investors for their returns to go back to the university and related ventures.

“[IU PhV] is like a regular early-stage venture fund in every way except we don’t have traditional limited partners who are going to share in the returns; anybody who puts money into the fund doesn’t expect a return directly, they expect the return to go back to IU,” says Willey. “The biggest advantage of that is we can be patient and flexible investors, because the regular 10-year timeframe of a traditional fund doesn’t necessarily apply to us.”

Managed by the IU Research and Technology Corp., IU PhV recently invested $500,000 in Indianapolis-based Diagnotes Inc. The startup has created a cloud-based technology that “keeps everyone in the loop”—such as clinicians, administrative and office staff and patients.  

Nurses, doctors and care coordinators can securely text, voice or video chat with each other within the system, and each medical staff member can see a patient’s electronic health record (EHR). Diagnotes says the technology integrates with any EHR system, giving everyone real-time access to call schedules and enabling documentation of every discussion.

Willey says the investment is a bridge to a series B round and supports the young company as it expands into behavioral health. Indianapolis-based Scioto Biosciences is the fund’s other $500,000 life sciences-focused investment. The company is developing biofilms, or communities of “good” bacteria, for a variety of applications. Scioto says bacteria in a biofilm are better able to survive stress from the environment, such as passage through the gastrointestinal system, potentially enhancing their efficacy.

Indianapolis-based NERx BioSciences Inc., which is developing targeted therapeutics for cancer, will also receive a $500,000 total investment from IU PhV. Earlier-stage companies Indianapolis-based Care Revolution and Vascugen, also in Indianapolis, were the fund’s first investments; Vascugen received $200,000 and Care Revolution was awarded $150,000.

Vascugen is a regenerative medicine company developing therapies to repair human tissue damaged by reduced blood flow due to disease or injury, and Care Revolution is working to decrease the number of unnecessary transfers from nursing homes to hospitals.

Startups in the life sciences or related sectors comprised the fund’s first four investments; IU PhV has now awarded $2.9 million to nine startups. Willey says IU PhV currently has 30 “qualified opportunities in our pipeline now, and it’s only January.” In 2019, the fund will focus on generating more sector diversity in its portfolio and finding strong early-stage management for its startups, “which are determined to see their ideas have an impact in the community.”

“And we’re helping them do that in a way that, if we’re successful, would not only return money to the fund, but also generate a larger and larger community of people—investors and management—that are going to be ready to do this again,” says Willey. “Building that capacity is exciting.”

Willey says, while Indiana’s venture community is steadily improving, she believes it could be more coordinated.
Willey says a key focus for IU PhV in 2019 is addressing one of the “biggest issues” in early-stage tech.
  • Perspectives

    • World Refugee Day Shines Light on Untapped Pool of Talented Workers

      From Fortune 500 companies to local small businesses, a similar theme rings true. In this strong economy where unemployment is low and growth is high, companies are competing for top talent. In Indianapolis - according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics - unemployment is just 2.8 percent, and investment and job growth are on the rise. This is great news for Indianapolis-area residents looking for work or opportunities to advance their careers, but for businesses and...
    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Lilly Exec Named BioCrossroads CEO

      After a national search, BioCrossroads has announced Patty Martin will become the life science initiative's next president and chief executive officer. Martin, who most recently served as chief operating officer for Lilly Diabetes, will begin her new role Monday. She will become just the third CEO in the organization's 17-year history, and succeeds David Johnson, who in December announced plans to step down from the role to serve as president and CEO of the...

    • (file photo courtesy of Radial)

      Radial Opens Fulfillment Center in Brownsburg

      Pennsylvania-based Radial Inc. says its new fulfillment center in Brownsburg is now open. The e-commerce technology and operations company says the nearly 700,000-square-foot facility is the largest in its network and will have the capacity to house about 2,000 employees.

    • Holcomb will chair the 2019 conference, set for November 7 in Indianapolis.

      Janet Holcomb to Chair Conference For Women

      Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb will serve as chair for this year's Indiana Conference for Women. Nearly 2,000 people are expected to attend the ninth annual conference, in Indianapolis in November. Holcomb's career includes a stint as vice president of her family's bolt and fastener manufacturing business, R&R Engineering. She has also led fundraising efforts for political campaigns as well as nonprofit organizations focusing in areas including animal welfare, arts and...

    • (rendering courtesy of Jones Development Co.)

      New Business Park Planned for Whiteland

      Missouri-based Jones Development Co. has begun construction on a new business park in Johnson County. The 2.4 million-square-foot Whiteland Exchange will be located on 167 acres near I-65 in Whiteland.  Financial terms of the developer's investment in the project were not disclosed. The business park is slated to include modern industrial buildings for logistics, advanced manufacturing and related uses. Work is underway on the first two speculative buildings, which total nearly...

    • Franciscan Health Details Data Breach

      Mishawaka-based Franciscan Health is providing details of a data breach. The health system says an internal investigation found one of its employees accessed the protected health information of about 2,200 patients "without a business reason."  Franciscan says the vast majority of the affected medical records was limited to demographic information such as name, address, email address, date of birth, phone number, gender, race/ethnicity, the last four digits of...