UNC–Chapel Hill’s new $10 million investment fund aimed at helping startups commercialize technology developed at the university has tapped Durham venture capital fund Hatteras Venture Partners to manage the fund.
Hatteras was chosen for its experience investing in startups, among other factors, said Sallie Shuping-Russell, the chair of the university’s fund, Carolina Research Ventures. CRV screened 65-70 venture capital funds and individuals from across the southeast and mid-Atlantic states and conducted interviews with five potential fund managers, she said.
CRV was created last year by the university’s trustees to address the dearth of seed funding available to startups and extend the university’s efforts to move its technology into the marketplace. CRV was originally announced as a $5 million fund, but since then the UNC Health Care System decided to provide an additional $5 million.
The bulk of the startups that CRV invests in are likely to be local, according to both Russell and Clay Thorp, co-founder and general partner at Hatteras.
CRV is separate from other Hatteras funds, although Hatteras could co-invest alongside Carolina Research in some instances. Hatteras has about $350 million under management in five funds.
Hatteras has always focused on investing in life science companies such as pharmaceutical and medical device businesses, but CRV is willing to invest in information technology and other types of businesses.
Thorp said that Hatteras has experience in investing in heatlhcare IT companies and will seek input from industry experts, including an advisory board that CRV plans to form, when considering investments outside its expertise.
Thorp also said that, based on the university’s research activities, he expects “a significant portion of he deal flow will be life-science-related.”
Hatteras has named one of its principals, Mike Dial, as CRV’s day-to-day manager. Thorp and another Hatteras general partner, Christy Shaffer, will serve on the investment committee with Dial.
Dial knows his way around the UNC campus. He has a doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics from the university and held research scientist positions there.
Thorp said that CRV already has developed “a rich pipeline” of potential deals.