University Partners with Osage to Fund Startups

Issue Date: 
June 13, 2016

The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute is now partnering with Osage University Partners (OUP), a venture capital firm established to invest in companies spun off from OUP’s university partner institutions.

Under the terms of the partnership, the University, on a case-by-case basis, may give to OUP the right to participate in future funding rounds and equity agreements for startup companies based on Pitt research. When the University assigns those participation rights, Pitt will also be eligible to share in the eventual profits on the investment. 

“One of the biggest challenges many Pitt startups face is access to growth capital. We are excited to be working with OUP as they have a thorough understanding of the university startup space and are familiar with working with university technology transfer offices,” said Evan Facher, the Innovation Institute’s director of enterprise development.

OUP has invested in 39 university start-up companies across the United States since 2009, when it raised its initial $100 million in venture capital. Last year, it completed raising an additional $215 million, which it plans to invest in about 50 university spin-off firms. OUP invests across many technology sectors, including both life sciences and physical sciences, and evaluates opportunities across all stages of development. The firm is based in Bala Cynwyd, outside Philadelphia.

Pitt joins OUP’s network of more than 70 universities and research centers. OUP generally invests in a syndicate along with other top-tier venture capital firms. Its typical investment ranges from  $5 million to $10 million as a startup company grows.

More than 120 startup companies based on Pitt research have been launched over the past 10 years with the assistance of the Pitt Innovation Institute, which provides a comprehensive suite of services for Pitt innovators, from the protection of intellectual property to the commercialization of new discoveries through licensing and new enterprise development. The institute also provides entrepreneurship educational programming, mentoring, early-stage gap funding, and networking for Pitt faculty, students and partners, as well as for entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout Western Pennsylvania.