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Week 10 March, 2013

Welcome to our second weekly Global University Venturing ezine, with all the past week's news. Do keep checking our website for the latest news. Over the coming week, we will have statistics on the UK's R&D spend, news on Cambridge's latest spin-out fund, and analysis of the UK Government's forthcoming commercialisation report.

To go to the news section in this ezine, please scroll down or follow the link here: #news while the comment section is just below or use this link: #comment.

For more, please go to:

Global Corporate Venturing Symposium, London 21/22 May

250+ corporate venturers networking and sharing best practice, including the launch of the Research To Commercialisation Club (R2C Club) with universities.

Comment: The inspirational Hult Prize by

Gregg Bayes-Brown
News Editor at Global University Venturing

In light of the 2008 financial crisis, criticism has arisen from all angles of how business globally is conducted. Wealth disparity, bankers being “too big to jail”, and corporations’ exploitation of tax loopholes have led to both public anger directed towards corporations, and, as the rise of populist political parties around the world on both the left and right demonstrates, towards capitalism itself.

It would be ludicrous, however, to tar all business with the greed-brush, and the university venturing community is a shining example of how the assumption is completely unfounded. At Global University Venturing, we see ourselves not only reporting on the cusp of innovation, but on businesses that have the potential to positively impact on the lives of billions around the world.

It was this sense of positivity that I was overwhelmingly greeted with when I attended the 2013 Hult Prize Regional Final in London last weekend. Bill Clinton describes the Hult Prize as one of five ideas that will change the world, and it was easy to see why. Teams of university-backed social entrepreneurs convened simultaneously at five separate international locations to share their ideas on not just how to generate a profitable business, but how to use that cash to create viable and sustainable firms that would have a real and meaningful impact on the communities in which they operate.

The London event began with a talk from the CEO of Sunny Money, a company helped by previous Hult Prize winners, which has the mission of replacing kerosene lamps in Africa with solar ones. While a seemingly small difference, the true impact of solar lamps in Africa cannot be understated. Kerosene lamps are not only hazardous to health, even proving fatal, but can cost African families up to 30% of their limited income just so they can see around the house at night. Sunny Money aims to change that by providing lamps that are safe, reusable, and affordable, and now commands one quarter of the African lamp market, thanks to the Hult Prize.

This year, students were asked to provide solutions to the world food crisis in a bid to win $1m in seed funding for their business idea. Billions go hungry every day, not through lack of abundance, but through poverty. The ideas presented in London were not just simple aid-style handouts, nor were they seeking to exploit. Instead, they were simple, sustainable ideas that not only provided food, but helped generate income for both the proposed startups to create a sustainable business model, and the people who used them; generating more money precisely where it is needed.

In university venturing, you see this across the board. Ideas and technology that enriches, edtech that can educate everyone, biotech that can transform and save; ideas that truly have the potential to change the world becoming a reality.

This is capitalism that works.

It is therefore with great pleasure that I can announce that GUV is stepping up its coverage of this inspirational sector with its inaugural magazine, due out in PDF format later this month.

Comment: Why corporate venturing needs to adapt to survive

SETsquared chairman Simon Bond discusses what barries corporate venturing needs to overcome in 2013 and beyond.

Stanford-backed Alpine finds new CEO

Stanford-backed big data firm Alpine Data Labs appoints Joe Otto as new chief executive officer.

Wisconsin spin-out swallows $1m

Swallow Solutions, a spin-out of the University of Wisconsin, raises $1m in a series A round led by Venture Management.

Innovacom makes a Green investment

Comms firm Green Communications, set up using technology developed at French universities, receives €600k ($780k) from Innovacom.