Three years after its unveiling, the $35 million venture-capital fund being pooled by Ohio State University and Ohio University is taking concrete steps toward launching.
The OSU-OU Innovation Fund has selected a managing partner and expects to announce the pick this month, pending final contract negotiations, said Stephen Golding, Ohio University’s vice president for finance and administration.
A venture capital fund in California was originally going to manage the fund when it was announced in 2012, with Ohio State committing $20 million and OU putting down $15 million.
“After several attempts at identifying a firm to (manage the fund), we came to the conclusion that we weren’t able to find the right partner that had the same alignment that we did,” Golding said.
The managing partner will be based in Columbus, he said, where they’ll be better able to accomplish what Ohio State and OU want – to fill a gap in the state’s private equity continuum by funding early-stage tech companies.
Gordon Gee, then-president of Ohio State, in 2012 described the gap “between idea and tangible venture” as “the valley of death, because it is where good ideas die. We cannot allow that to happen, and universities can provide a solution.”
Golding said he and soon-to-be-former Ohio State CFO Geoff Chatas have been working to make sure the fund complements other early-stage funding groups.