The UChicago Startup Investment Program is a new initiative where the University of Chicago co-invests alongside established venture funds in startups led by UChicago faculty, students, staff and alumni. The University has set aside $25 million from its endowment to invest in startups that are raising an early round of funding, known as a Series A.
The Office of Investments, which manages the University’s endowment, oversees the UChicago Startup Investment Program with support from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Only qualified startups will considered and the Polsky Center is responsible for conducting the first round of vetting. Please do not reach out to the Office of Investments directly; they will only meet with qualified startups referred by the Polsky Center. The Polsky Center team will only advance promising companies meeting the following requirements.
- Qualified startups must have a significant affiliation with the University, which means the startup must either be built on University-owned intellectual property, or faculty, alumni, students or staff must be on the founding team.
- One source for potential companies will be the Polsky Center’s technology commercialization and licensing team, which is working to increase the number of companies arising from inventions and intellectual property developed by University researchers.
- It is expected that most qualified companies, including ones built on university-owned patents, will have completed one or more of the Polsky Center’s programs, such as the NVC; the John Edwardson '72 Social New Venture Challenge; the College New Venture Challenge for undergraduates; the University of Chicago Innovation Fund, which invests in startups at an earlier stage; or the Polsky Accelerator or Incubator, both of which provide one-on-one coaching, office space and other resources to entrepreneurs.
- An established venture capital firm is required to lead the company’s investment round and is expected to take a seat on the startup’s board.
How to Apply:
Interested applicants expecting to meet all of these requirements are encouraged to contact us by filling out this online form. Qualified applicants will meet with staff from the the Polsky Center to discuss their fundraising plans.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.