The University of Southern California (USC) will be sharing some numbers about its startup funding activities at First Look L.A. tomorrow, an invitation-only event it’s organizing in partnership with UCLA and CalTech. These numbers are nothing to sneeze at: in less than two years, USC has managed to raise an impressive $115 million in funding for 15 startups.
For your background: the University of Southern California, to be more precise its Stevens Institute for Innovation, helps USC spin-offs manage intellectual property, regularly incubates and showcases new high-tech ventures and connects promising young teams to appropriate investors for follow-up financing and commercialization.
Los Angeles-based USC tells us 15 startups have raised a healthy $115 million in funding in total since the beginning of the 2008 calendar year, tapping ‘creative’ financing sources beyond venture capital such as private and overseas investors as well as government grants. Based on those funding numbers, USC asserts the spin-offs are averaging close to $7 million in funding each, not including those that haven’t yet secured a significant investment and also excluding funding numbers for startups that couldn’t be verified through multiple sources.
You can find some of the startups on the USC Stevens Institute website, but most familiar to you will be Box.net, Orgoo (now dead) and Flixya.com. Another promising one is BigStage, which lets you create photo-realistic 3D-animated avatars that can be used in virtual worlds, video games, etc. The startup was recently ranked 18th in Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Most Promising Companies and has raised over $10 million in financing over two rounds.
Needless to say, I think it’s a great to see universities doing their part in furthering technological innovation and giving promising young companies a leg up, and I think it’s equally great to see them reach out and disclose numbers. Id be interested to seeing how they stack up to other education and research organization’s results.