The Old College Try

VC investing at the university level

"Publish or Perish" has long been the mantra at universities as the prerequisite for tenure. This is quickly being disrupted and replaced with "Get Funded or Perish."

Universities, venture capitalists and students have seen an awkward turning point in their relationships as the speed of technology is quickly redefining the demands for research and development. Venture capital wants to play a larger role at the university level, often a breeding ground for innovation, but this causes a discrepancy over who owns the end product and the profits: universities, researchers or investors?

Participants on the SXSW panel Venture Investing in Universities represented all sides and positions of the debate, including: 

-   Investors seeking a more clearly defined outcome and         endgame.

-   Research Scientists (turned entrepreneur) who received VC     funding but shared the rights to the product with Yale.

-   Yale University who funds the research, development and     education aspect.

The debate will continue as research, development and engineering talent is enticed to the private sector over the promise of funding and the right to own the product they have developed. As development migrates to the private sector, universities will have no choice but to adapt to retain talent.