The University of Notre Dame has come a long way since its creation in 2017 and is ready to step up its game with its second venture fund, the 1842 Fund.

cover art for episode 113 of Beyond the Breakthrough featuring Kelley Rich

Can university spinouts help fight poverty? That’s a question Kelley Rich, interim vice-president for innovation at the University of Notre Dame, is trying to answer as head of the institution’s innovation hub IDEA Center. It’s part of a campus-wide initiative launched in January 2024 that will see increased poverty research taking place — it gets to the heart of the private Catholic university’s mission of bringing about positive societal change.

Rich recently signed a partnership with High Alpha Innovation, an Indiana-based venture studio operator that will put a venture studio, with a first focus on poverty, on campus. High Alpha is also the general partner running the 1842 Fund, a fund that will invest in university spinouts, as well as student and community startups. The fund, which has a target of raising $35m, will work in close partnership with the IDEA Center to fund impact-focused spinouts.

This is Notre Dame’s second university venture fund — its first, Pit Road Fund, is fully deployed. The university has decided against managing a second fund itself, in part because of a perceived conflict of interest, Rich explains in the podcast.


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Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).