University to launch venture fund to enhance Philadelphia’s entrepreneur ecosystem

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Less than a week after Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced a public-private venture fund, a Philadelphia university said it will  launch a venture fund next year.

Drexel University president John Fry mentioned the venture fund as part of a presentation mapping out the university’s plans for transforming a section of the surrounding neighborhood into an “innovation neighborhood.”

The fund will be managed as a subsidiary of Drexel University and will support not only Drexel University’s faculty, students and alumni, but also entrepreneurs in the region.

According to a description of the fund in the university’s strategic plan emailed to MedCity News:


“Drexel Ventures will provide funding and expertise to manage the invention disclosure process, determine patent and market viability, accelerate translational research, provide entrepreneurial co-ops, support and partner with area incubators and accelerators, provide seed funding to start-up organizations, expedite licensing for small businesses, and facilitate the ability of Drexel faculty to compete for and undertake contract proprietary research.”

The fund’s advisory board will include experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, private equity investors, and technical experts in a selection of fields and professions, according to the strategic plan.

At an event showcasing the university’ technology transfer projects, Robert McGrath, the senior associate vice provost for technology commercialization at Drexel, said the point of the fund is to enhance the transition of the university’s technology into the private sector. It would also negate the need for entrepreneurs to travel so far afield to chase investments and keep them in the region.

“Part of what this will do is it will create an environment where entrepreneurs don’t have to leave. You almost have to build an infrastructure where entrepreneurs have room to succeed. Money finds good companies. First Round Capital moving to the city sends a message and with the city doing what it did [with StartUp PHL], that sends a message to investors that this is an area where investment is valued.”

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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