March 16, 2016
GRA Ventures Program Marks Over $1 Billion in Equity Investment
University Research Startups Thriving in Georgia
By Georgia Research Alliance
ATLANTA, March 16, 2016 – The Georgia Research Alliance announced today that its GRA Ventures program has reached a major milestone. The companies in its portfolio have raised over $1 billion in equity investment from venture capital firms and strategic investors.
“A billion dollars in investment is a significant achievement for the GRA Ventures program,” said C. Michael Cassidy, President and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance. “Helping university faculty move their ideas out of the lab and grow them as new businesses is essential to Georgia’s economic future.”
The GRA Ventures program, started in 2002 was founded to enable universities to look across their faculty and laboratory landscape for intellectual property that could be developed into commercially viable products and technologies. Through its milestone-based funding program, university scientists can work with GRA to seed ideas and launch new companies.
According to the most recent data, the 150 projects or companies currently in the GRA Ventures portfolio have generated $140 million in revenues and employ over 1,300 professionals. University projects are eligible to receive $150,000 to $200,000 in grant funding through the GRA Ventures program. Companies formed from these projects and that meet certain requirements and showcase their potential to build a viable business may receive an additional $250,000 in loans from GRA Ventures. Some of the companies in the portfolio such as Pindrop Security, Clearside BioMedical, and Suniva have gone on to raise millions from venture capital investors.
“Funding to scale their ideas is just a portion of what GRA is offering university faculty,” said H. Lee Herron, VP of Venture Development of the Georgia Research Alliance. “We advise them on key business decisions and make connections with industry expertise, seasoned management, and potential funding sources.”
In an effort to support its portfolio projects and companies, GRA formed its Research Commercialization Council, a group of successful entrepreneurs and economic development advisors. The GRA Council includes over 100 industry experts who advise GRA and university faculty engaged in commercialization projects. In many cases council members serve as advisors and even as launch CEOs for GRA Ventures portfolio companies.
“We demonstrated an effective model for university faculty to recognize the potential of their work,” said Allen Moseley, General Partner with Noro-Moseley Partners and a Trustee of the GRA. “We have untapped potential in our universities labs and there are many great ideas to be found and developed.”
About Georgia Research Alliance
The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) works to expand research and commercialization capacity in Georgia’s universities to recruit world-class talent, seed new companies and transform lives. For over twenty-five years, GRA has worked to strengthen the university research enterprise in Georgia by working in partnership with the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development to create the companies and jobs of Georgia’s future. Visit www.gra.org for more information.
Director, Public Relations
Georgia Research Alliance