This study addresses the problem of the funding gap that characterizes technology transfer activities by investigating a particular type of financial instrument, namely, university-oriented seed funds (USFs) that seek to sustain technology transfer and spin-offs from universities and public research centers. In addition to defining and classifying the investment focus and possible linkages and collaborations of universities and research centers, this study offers empirical evidence about these funds in comparison with others and their portfolio companies. Data pertaining seventy-three USFs and a matched control group of two hundred and eight venture capital funds, with one thousand five hundred and twenty-six portfolio companies (six hundred and fifty USF-backed, eight hundred and seventy-six non-USF-backed) shed light on the characteristics of each type of funds and related companies. The results also suggest key implications for practice and avenues for further research.
Keywords: University seed funds, venture capital, funding gap, academic spin-offs, technology commercialization
Jel Code: G23, G24