UCLA Venture Capital Fund Realizes 12th Liquidity Event with Twitter Shares

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Fund has enjoyed a 30 percent increase in membership and 100 percent increase in cashless giving including shares from DogVacay and Cloudera in last 18 months.


As a graduate of UCLA, I really wanted to give back to the UCLA community and all that is has given to me. The cashless donation is a really clever way to give entrepreneurs a way to help in building the next generation of UCLA entrepreneurs.

The UCLA Venture Capital Fund announced today that shares from Twitter mark the twelfth liquidity event the UCLA VC Fund has realized in the last 18 months. In addition to Twitter, shares from Bigfoot Networks, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Solar City, Amira Pharmaceuticals, and Kosmix also had liquidity events. During the same time period, membership to the Fund increased by over 30 percent and there was also a 100 percent growth in new pledges of illiquid private stock, including shares of Cloudera and DogVacay.

“The last 18 months have been an exciting time for the UCLA Venture Capital Fund with the rise of new members injecting new ideas, experience and vitality into our network, the increase in cashless donations which expands our ability to support the UCLA entrepreneurial community, and the expansion of our leadership team,” said Michael Silton, executive chair of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund. “You can really feel the excitement and intellectual fire power that all of our members are bringing to the UCLA entrepreneurial community.”

UCLA VC Fund Teams with Student Entrepreneurial Programs Across Campus
As part of the Fund’s mission to support and promote entrepreneurship at UCLA, the Fund regularly sponsors graduate and undergraduate entrepreneur programs. This month, the Fund is teaming with the Institute for Technology Advancement (ITA) to award a $10,000 UCLA VC ITA Investment to the winning student entrepreneur at the Student Entrepreneur Venture Competition Final on May 29, 2014. This competition is open to teams that have formed businesses where at least one member comes from the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and one from the Anderson School of Business.

Cashless Giving
In order to join the UCLA VC Fund, individuals typically pledge stock worth $25,000 (minimum is $10,000) to the Fund.

“As a graduate of UCLA, I really wanted to give back to the UCLA community and all that it has given to me,” said Aaron Hirschhorn, CEO and founder of DogVacay. “The cashless donation is a really clever way to give entrepreneurs like myself with growing startups a way to help in building the next generation of UCLA entrepreneurs.”

New Members Energize Base
Two of the Fund’s newest members -- Craig Jones and Kevin McFarland --personify how the VC Fund comes full circle. Jones and McFarland are both M.B.A. candidates at UCLA Anderson School of Management who co-founded SmartestK12 during their studies. The startup caught the attention of VC Fund members after two pitch events the VC Fund co-hosted with Startup UCLA, an on-campus accelerator program. The VC Fund named SmartestK12 the “Most Promising UCLA Startup Company” in 2013 and awarded them a seed investment. Fund members have actively taken the co-founders under their wings providing advice, networking and guidance. In turn, both have recently formally joined the VC Fund as members by making a cashless donation and are now in the position to mentor and give back to the UCLA entrepreneurial community themselves.

Leadership Team Expansion
Under the guidance of Michael Silton, appointed executive chair of the UCLA VC Fund in 2013, the leadership team was expanded to include:

  •     Executive Committee chaired by Michael Silton; members include Josh Green, General Partner Mohr Davidow and Chairman of the National Venture Capital Association; Michael Howse, Founder/CEO of Eleven Ventures; John Kohler, General Partner, Redleaf Venture Management, LLC; Jeffrey Y Suto, Principal Attorney and Keith Leonard, CEO of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals
  •     Membership and Events Committee chaired by Gary Baker, Founder of ClipBlast!
  •     Public Relations and Outreach Committee chaired by Craig Carpenter, CMO AccessData Group
  •     Investment Committee chaired by Rocky Gunderson, Founder of SierraRock

About the UCLA Venture Capital Fund
The UCLA Venture Capital Fund is a community of UCLA alumni and friends whose core purpose is to support and promote entrepreneurship at UCLA. The VC Fund mentors students, fosters the growth of UCLA companies, and connects entrepreneurs with an interest in UCLA. Members have the opportunity to advise campus entrepreneurship initiatives, raise funds for UCLA start-ups, and ultimately to advance UCLA as one of the top entrepreneurial universities in the nation. More information about the VC Fund and how to join it is available at http://venturecapital.ucla.edu/.

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Theresa Smith