USC Stevens Taps VCs To Spur Spinouts

USC Stevens Institute, the effort at the University of Southern California to spur innovation within the school, has tapped a number of venture capitalists to help guide a new mentorship and funding program, the institute said this morning. According to USC Stevens, it has tapped James Blair of Domain Associates, David Lane of ONSET Ventures, Andy Rappaport of August Capital and the Rappaport Family Foundation, Mark Stevens of Sequoia Capital, and Ken Klein, President of Wind River, as charter members of its Ideas Empowered program. USC said that the program aims to identify the "most exciting and game-changing ideas imagined in the minds of USC researchers." The Institute said the program will provide both funding and mentoring to student and faculty teams, with the aim of getting those teams investment funding within a year or so.

USC explained that the program will run as a two-year, pilot program, and is specifically designed to help bridge the gap between academic ideas and the marketplace. Among other uses for funding, the Institute said the funding will go towards proof-of-concept experiments and prototype development. The goals of the effort include attracting investment to create new startups and licensing of technology to existing companies. Amount of funding available to teams was not announced by the school

USC's Stevens Institute was established through a major gift by Mark Stevens of Sequoia a number of years ago. Steven is a USC Trustee and General Partner at Sequoia; Klein is also a USC Trustee. The Institute is run by Krisztina Holly.