UCLA VenturesIs UCLA Ventures a venture capital fund?
What is the relationship between UCLA and UCLA Ventures?
The PledgeWhat is the Pledge?
Who can make a pledge?
Why make a pledge?
What is the minimum amount needed to pledge?
How does UCLA Ventures value equity?
Do I need board or investor approval?
What are the tax implications of the pledge?
Successful ExitsWhat if I already had an exit?
What happens to the proceeds from liquidity events?
If you're not making investments, are there other avenues for investment at UCLA?
Can students join?
Are we a venture capital fund?
We are not a venture capital fund – at least, not in the traditional sense. We do not have limited partners, and we rarely make direct investments. Instead, we’ve built a robust portfolio of venture-backed equity using a unique “cashless” pledge mechanism. This model relies on the generous support of UCLA alumni, faculty, students, and friends, who pledge shares in venture-backed companies to the University. With the returns from this portfolio, we then support UCLA and its entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Though we are not a traditional venture capital fund, we actively support our portfolio companies – and the entrepreneurs behind them. After all, UCLA Ventures only succeeds if our portfolio companies succeed!
What is the relationship between UCLA and UCLA Ventures
UCLA Ventures is a fund of the UCLA Foundation (add link), a 501(c)(3). It has been affiliated with the University since its inception in 1999. It is housed under the office of Corporate Foundations and Research Relations (add link), within UCLA External Affairs.
UCLA Ventures, formerly the UCLA Venture Capital Fund, was formed in 1999 when a group of well-known venture capitalists and entrepreneurs partnered with UCLA to create the UCLA Venture Capital Fund. This fund sits in the UCLA Foundation, a 501(c)(3), and its proceeds are intended to impact UCLA and its entrepreneurial ecosystem. The UCLA Venture Capital Fund raised approximately $1 million in philanthropic donations and invested that money into startups associated with UCLA and its alumni.
Over the course of a few years, the tech bubble bursts, and many of the Fund's initial investments lost significant value, which lead UCLA Ventures to create the "Cashless Pledge" model, allowing entrepreneurs to pledge illiquid equity to UCLA.
Since the development of the cashless pledge mechanism, this group has grown to over 150 active entrepreneurs, investors, and other leaders.
Our structure is different in that we amass venture assets through a cashless pledge model - "Founder's Pledge", not through investments. And instead of raising money from limited partners (LPs), we earn money from the successful exits of pledged companies and from philanthropic donations from individuals passionate about making UCLA the destination for future entrepreneurs.
We are similar to a VC fund in that we are invested in your success. If you succeed, the university and its students benefit as well! To ensure that, we provide our members with resources and connections necessary for their success.
The pledge takes the form of a simple one page letter that asks for the pledge now, even though the shares are not transferred to UCLA Ventures until liquidity occurs.
We do not take any equity right away, we simply ask to you earmark a portion of your stake in the company's future success to the university via the cashless pledge mechanism.
Many of our members have founded several successful startups and have decades of experience. With the help of this group and our institutional knowledge, UCLA Ventures can help you with recruitment, visibility, networking, and provide you access to UCLA resources.
There is also value beyond what you can give personally: your pledge will inspire others to pledge, helping create a movement of giving back in future generations of Bruins!
The amount of the pledge can determine your level of membership and most members have pledged at the leadership levels to enjoy exclusive events and perks.
There are certain thresholds that can put you in a leadership position within UCLA Ventures.