Yale students and recent students have launched many companies in recent years, from potential game-changers such as forest-monitoring software developer SilviaTerra and Higher One, the financial services firm for college students, to the distinctly urban cardboard furniture maker, Chairigami.
Now Yale is taking a step to speed up the startups, creating a $2.5 million venture fund along withConnecticut Innovations, the state’s technology investment arm. The YEI Innovation Fund will invest as much as $100,000 in companies that launch through the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, a startup mentoring program at the university that runs a summer fellowship.
The institute’s success is starting to add up, with 75 active companies that have raised $66 million and created 300 jobs. But only 70 of those jobs are in Connecticut, in part because firms must follow the money to Silicon Valley, Boston and New York — a commonly heard refrain among entrepreneurs in this state.
The YEI Innovation Fund, inspired partly by a commitment to enterprise by the new Yale president, Peter Salovey, would be managed by Elm Street Ventures, a New Haven-based fund specializing in life sciences — though it would not be limited to that sector.