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Technology

Osaka University's new role: venture capitalist

OSAKA -- Osaka University is planning a wholly owned venture capital firm to fund startups formed by its own faculty and students.

     If the plan receives government approval, the national university will become the first in Japan to establish a venture capital firm since a related ban was lifted in April.

     The move would help academic spinoffs. Such businesses have a difficult time raising capital from the private sector, since innovations resulting from university research often take five to 10 years to commercialize.

     Osaka University is expected to file an application Wednesday with the education and economy ministries. Each ministry will review the business plan, which is expected to get the green light as early as next month.

     The university would tap a portion of the 16.6 billion yen ($161 million) contribution from the government while also soliciting contributions from private-sector financial institutions. The first fund is expected to total up to 10 billion yen for an estimated 15 years.

     The new firm would hire alumni of megabanking groups and private-sector venture capital funds, as well as certified public accountants and other professionals. The dozens of projects already selected for investment include those in regenerative medicine and drug development -- strong areas of the university -- along with information technology and manufacturing.

(Nikkei)

 

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