UAVenture Capital aims to help launch companies spun from the University of Arizona.
University of Arizona’s commercialization efforts got a big boost recently with the founding of UAVenture Capital LLC. Its mission: Invest in science, technology, services and intellectual property that come out of the Tucson university.
The fund will provide early-stage capital to companies spun from inventions and innovations by UA faculty, students and colleagues.
“Having access to local capital will definitely be a boost for UA technology commercialization,” says David Allen, vice president of Tech Launch Arizona (TLA). TLA helps faculty bring their products and services to market.
UAVenture Capital founders know the value of seed money. CEO Fletcher J. McCusker and President Michael N. Deitch founded and recently sold SinfoníaRx, a medication therapy management company that began at the UA College of Pharmacy.
“The biggest problem for Tucson-based startups has been growth capital,” says McCusker. “Ultimately, SinfoníaRx was funded entirely by Tucsonans and we believe that model, combined with institutional investment, can support a number of startup ventures.”
We at Commercial Real Estate Group of Tucson, which helps companies identify Tucson business space for lease or purchase, applaud the fund’s formation. UAVenture Capital adds another crucial piece that allows TLA to help bring ideas to market.
We’ve been very impressed by TLA’s efforts to expand Tucson’s startup environment. Since TLA began in 2012, it has helped form 52 startups and file 1,000 patents.
Through a National Science Foundation I-Corps grant, it helps entrepreneurial teams identify customers for their innovative technologies. The Arizona Center for Innovation serves as a business incubator for startup companies. And its Tech Parks Arizona facilities create a synergy among young and established high-tech companies.
Tucson Supports Startups
UAVenture Capital joins a small but spirited community that supports entrepreneurship and efforts to grow Tucson’s innovation hub.
Tucson-based Desert Angels, for instance, has invested more than $43 million in over 100 Southwest startup and early-stage companies since 2000. Its more than 80 accredited investor members have gained national attention as an active angel investor group.
Startup Tucson is a nonprofit venture community that teaches entrepreneurs how to take their ideas to market or scale their existing businesses. It hosts events and activities that give entrepreneurs exposure to investors of startup and early stage firms.
Arizona Revives Tax Credit
We expect big growth in startups—and their need for Tucson business space—now that Arizona’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program has been refunded. The state will put $2.5 million into the program for each of the next four years.
Under the program, individual investors can earn a 30% state tax credit for qualifying investments, 35% for investments in rural or bioscience startups.
An original fund of $20 million brought in $420 million in early-stage capital raised by companies whose investors qualified for the tax credit. That’s a 21-to-1 ratio.
After the original fund tapped out in 2015, the state experienced a drop in angel investment. The technology community hopes this year’s new funding will put the state back on track for similar successes.
Commercial Real Estate Group of Tucson can help startups and young companies identify private and public sources of capital as they search for Tucson business space. Contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org, for a free consultation.