NYU has announced its plans to create a $20 million venture fund to spur the commercialization of select technologies developed at NYU and to provide “seed” funding for startup companies based on those technologies.

University Names Venture Capitalist Frank Rimalovski as Managing Director of $20 Million Fund

In an effort to accelerate the transformation of ideas and discoveries by its students, faculty and researchers into external ventures, NYU today announced its plans to create a $20 million venture fund to spur the commercialization of select technologies developed at NYU and to provide “seed” funding for startup companies based on those technologies.  The fund – which will be almost entirely funded from external sources – is expected to make its first set of investments in 2011.

The University has named Frank Rimalovski -- who has extensive experience in the venture capital sector, in spurring institutional entrepreneurship, and as a technology executive -- as the fund’s managing director.  He will have primary responsibility for building entrepreneurial leadership teams and structuring the efforts to form companies around promising technologies within NYU, and for negotiating investments and crafting partnerships with other early stage investors.  He will work closely with NYU’s Office of Industrial Liaison, which licenses NYU technologies to existing and startup companies to promote their commercial development.

Over the past four years, NYU has ranked first among U.S. universities in income from technology licensing.  More than 50 start-ups have been formed around NYU discoveries and ideas over the last 20 years including Sugen (acquired by Pharmacia/Pfizer), Smart Therapeutics (acquired by Boston Scientific), Anaderm (acquired by Pfizer), TouchCo, Perceptive Pixel, and Spin Transfer Technologies, among others. 

NYU President John Sexton said, “It is not sufficient for great ideas to find homes only in lecture halls and laboratories; there is a world full of large and pressing challenges calling out to be solved by talented innovators who are eager to apply their ideas to alleviate suffering and improve human life.  Like the city it calls home, NYU sees entrepreneurship as part of its essential character; I hope and believe that this fund will be an additional spur to transforming scholarly passion into needed solutions to important problems.” 

Provost David McLaughlin said, “In envisioning this venture fund, NYU starts from an especially strong foundation – a leading international research university in New York City, the world’s capital.  Propelled by a broad range of research interests, NYU’s talented faculty and students have captured the world’s top honors – Nobels, Rhodes scholarships, Abels, Putnam prizes, Pulitzers, National Medals in Science and the Arts.   Leaders in their fields, many of them are eager to expand on NYU’s existing track record of finding expression for research, ideas, and innovations outside the university setting; this fund will give many of them a pathway to achieve that goal.

Paul Horn, NYU’s Sr. Vice Provost for Research, said, “Entrepreneurial success in a university setting is not only about financial return but also about exciting and attracting students and faculty, and adding the element of societal impact to the academic ethos.  Many of the most exciting basic science challenges were, and are found in what has become known as ‘Pasteur’s Quadrant,’ where basic science is driven by the desire for societal benefit.  ‘Pasteur’s Quadrant’ is terrain where NYU should dwell”.

Mr. Rimalovski said, “Today, New York City is an exciting and fertile landscape for entrepreneurship.  It possesses a compelling mix of angel and venture capital investors, entrepreneurs with a keen eye for the next great business opportunity, a dynamic and increasingly tight knit ecosystem, and top commercial and research institutions, medical centers and corporations.  The intersection of that environment and a great research university dedicated to creating pioneering innovations holds extraordinary possibilities.”

The Fund will be an “evergreen” fund -- realized gains from the successful exit or sale of ventures will be reinvested in other projects -- and has been initially capitalized with $2 million, with the balance to come from contributions by donors.   Investments made by the fund will generally range from $100,000 to $1 million, and will typically be accompanied by investments from other external early stage investors.   

The fund will be governed by an independent advisory board and two investment review boards which will review all investments made by the fund; membership of the investment review boards – which will include NYU faculty, as well as local investors and entrepreneurs -- will be completed over the coming months. 

Mr. Rimalovski, the fund’s managing director, brings 11 years of experience identifying, developing, funding and growing early stage companies based on research innovations.  He comes to NYU from New Venture Partners -- a venture capital firm dedicated to funding early-stage technology spinouts with over $700 million under management -- where he was a partner since co-founding the firm in 2001. Prior to this, Mr. Rimalovski was a Director/entrepreneur-in-residence at Lucent’s New Ventures Group, where he developed and incubated new businesses based on Bell Labs’ innovations. Before joining Lucent in 1998, he spent six years working with Silicon Valley technology leaders including Sun Microsystems, Apple and NeXT, where he held numerous positions in product management, marketing and business development. Earlier, he was an investment banker in the M&A groups of Bear Stearns and Rodman & Renshaw.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

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