RBV’s inaugural fund will invest in startups emerging out of Cornell in a sign that university ecosystems are increasingly of interest to investors.

Cornell University

Cornell University, photo by Will Barkoff

Red Bear Ventures (RBV), a new US-based venture capital firm, is raising its inaugural fund that will focus on spinouts and startups emerging out of Cornell University.

The firm, while not officially endorsed by or affiliated with Cornell University, has had a positive response from the university community and hopes to build long-lasting relationships with researchers, managing partner Gus Warren tells Global University Venturing.

RBV expects to make initial investments of $500,000 to $2m, and is willing to lead rounds or follow other investors. The firm has grown out of Red Bear Angels, an angel investor community that has been investing in Cornell-affiliated startups for more than a decade.

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Cornell University does not have its own venture fund and RBV appears to be the first vehicle dedicated to the Ithaca, New York-based campus. It is not unusual for highly research-intensive US universities to lack a fund — recent GUV research showed that in fact, only a third of the country’s top institutions run their own fund.

RBV’s Fund I is open to accredited investors only and the firm is also looking for portfolio company advisers, due diligence experts and people who can source deal flow from their networks.

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).