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Investment Approach and Philosophy

The fund seeks inventions, discoveries, products or services that were developed in whole or in part at NYU, have achieved proof of concept (or a prototype) and are ready for commercial product development, rather than those requiring further basic research. Once such a technology has been identified, the Fund partners with NYU students, faculty and researchers to help identify and develop a compelling business plan, a strong management team and solid financial backing (from both the Fund and other angel and venture capital investors) to launch an independent commercial venture.

This may involve direction interaction with the Fund's investment professionals, as well as with other entrepreneurs and mentors:

  • Identify key intellectual property required for spin-out
  • Define and develop a compelling business plan
  • Identify human resource needs and build entrepreneurial management teams
  • Facilitate introductions to legal, accounting, insurance, real estate, and recruiting firms experienced with early stage technology ventures
  • Assist with early business development with potential customers and business/development partners
  • Structure, fund and launch the new venture
  • Assist with the transfer or licensing of intellectual property, physical assets and human resources
  • Form a syndicate with other angel and venture capital investors to finance the company’s growth

Criteria for Investment

Starting in 2011, the NYU Innovation Venture Fund began making early-stage investments in startup companies commercializing NYU-developed research and technologies that hold significant commercial growth potential.

Though a complete business plan and team is not required for consideration, the technology underpinning the venture concept should solve a measurable customer problem in a large and growing market. The founders should be the nucleus around which can form a strong, entrepreneurial team able to execute a financially attractive business plan. Like most other venture capitalists, the Fund seeks to achieve a liquidity event/exit/sale within 3-7 years from the time of the initial investment.

The Fund will consider proposals using the following initial evaluation criteria:

  1. Technology has achieved proof of concept or prototype and is ready for commercial product development (not further basic research)
  2. Technology has important and sustainable points of differentiation
  3. Identifiable customer(s) with a compelling value proposition
  4. Viable regulatory approval & reimbursement strategy, if applicable
  5. Market able to sustain $50 million/yr revenues within 5 yrs of market entry
  6. Logical mechanism for transferring key know-how and IP
  7. Investment required for exit is in the $1s or $10s of millions, not $100s
  8. Founders with key skills & experience committed to venture success
  9. Business capable of generating venture scale returns (5-10x return on invested capital)

Don’t worry if you don’t know if you meet all the criteria laid out above–we expect you may only have preliminary, or incomplete views on many of these issues at this point.  We may be able to help you will identify resources to more fully assess the merits of your opportunity.

To get started, complete the venture profile form. »

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