Foundation awarded $1M for ASU-accelerated companies

February 12, 2014

The Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority (MCIDA) has awarded a $1 million grant to the ASU Foundation for A New American University to create a venture capital fund. The fund will be invested in companies that benefit from ASU-supported accelerator programs, helping them take the next step in their development with early-stage manufacturing start-up support.

Accessing this early-stage risk capital will allow Arizona companies and entrepreneurs to create jobs and wealth. This is in keeping with the mission of the MCIDA, to create and maintain jobs within Maricopa County and help residents achieve a better standard of living and way of life. exterior view of ASU SkySong Download Full Image

“When the IDA partners with ASU, it makes both organizations stronger,” said David Adame, president of the authority. “One of the fundamental goals of the IDA is to spur economic development with a focus on job creation. This agreement with ASU will help improve the fiscal health of our community.”

“Maricopa County is excited to join with ASU to help emerging businesses develop into sustainable companies and promote job growth in the county," said Denny Barney, chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors who represents District 1. "This partnership demonstrates our commitment to investing in the long-term, sustainable growth of Maricopa County.”

The venture capital fund was developed by the ASU Foundation and two university initiatives – the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group and ASU’s technology transfer arm, Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE).

This evergreen fund will take small equity positions in each company that receives investment capital in transactions ranging from $50,000 to $250,000. EIG and AzTE will select companies for investment through a process developed in consultation with donors. Final approval will be given by a selection committee.

As a company matures and realizes liquidity, proceeds will flow back to the fund to be re-invested in future companies. ASU’s goal is to build the fund to $10 million through private donations.

“This fund is the next step in ASU’s evolution of the knowledge enterprise model," said R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., CEO of the ASU Foundation. "We are able to advance entrepreneurship through our ASU accelerators – Furnace Technology Transfer, ASU Startup, Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative – then support the results with venture capital that will allow them to expand and achieve.

“We’re grateful to MCIDA for recognizing the value of supporting Arizona-based entrepreneurship through ASU,” Shangraw added. “We look forward to using this grant to fund manufacturing companies that will contribute to the public good of our community and our state.”

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at ASU helps innovators, inventors, ideators and entrepreneurs launch for-profit and more-than-profit ventures. The joint initiative between ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and AzTE serves as the hub for entrepreneurial activity at ASU, and is based at ASU SkySong in Scottsdale. Over three years, the unit has grown to encompass not just startup acceleration, but a range of entrepreneurship-related activities across the university, the metro area and the state. This fiscal year, EIG will support more than 70 startups.

“More than half the startups we have worked with over the last two and a half years have been manufacturing-related, and this new fund will support their growth and development as job and wealth creators,” said Gordon McConnell, associate vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and a general partner of the new fund.

In 10 years, AzTE has supported the launch and development of 67 ASU spinoff companies. Spinoffs based on ASU-developed technologies raised $68 million in external funding during the 2013 fiscal year. Altogether, companies licensing ASU discoveries have raised nearly $400 million in venture funding since AzTE’s creation in 2003.

“A healthy venture capital industry is a key part of a robust startup ecosystem,” said Charles Lewis, AzTE vice president for venture development, and a general partner of the new fund. “This generous gift from MCIDA will help ASU to start and grow this fund for the benefit of entrepreneurs.”

Media contact:
Amelia Huggins
Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

Copy writer, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College


Donation drive part of National TRIO Day at ASU

February 12, 2014

National TRIO Day at Arizona State University will draw community members and more than 100 high school and college students for a series of workshops to educate attendees on the history and purpose of TRIO programs, as well as participate in a community service project drive Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Tempe campus.

Participants will help in collecting and sorting school supplies that will be donated to Western Valley Elementary School in Phoenix, as a way to show appreciation to the community for its support of the TRIO programs. Download Full Image

TRIO programs – Upward Bound, Veterans Upward Bound and Student Support Services – provide access to higher education for low-income, first-generation and students with disabilities. The federally-funded TRIO programs across ASU's four locations serve more than 900 high school and college students and veterans. Each program strives to increase retention and graduation rates by providing services, opportunities and resources that enhance personal skills and academic excellence.

“TRIO programs like Upward Bound and Veterans’ Upward Bound are two of many valuable mechanisms through which we advance our goal of enhancing college access,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “These important, federally funded programs make it possible for ASU to support the academic and overall success of Arizona’s first-generation, veteran and disabled students, and we are proud be part of the TRIO network.”

National TRIO Day at ASU will also include a special keynote address from Irvin L. Coin, who has dedicated more than 40 years to TRIO programs at ASU and has motivated more than 4,000 individuals to pursue higher education. Coin served as the director of ASU's Upward Bound Program and TRIO Programs, and has also served as the president of the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel (WESTOP) – regional association, president of the Arizona Chapter of WESTOP and as a board member of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) national association.

“Students use a variety of our services, including tutoring, our computer lab and attending cultural events," said Sylvia Symonds, director of TRIO Student Support Services Downtown Phoenix. "Students continually tell us how much they value one-on-one interactions with staff more than any other service. They come to us in times of triumph, as well as when they experience challenges personally and academically."

Upward Bound graduate Brenda Mendez is now an ASU business student who will graduate college early. "Upward Bound was a life changing opportunity and experience that prepared me for every aspect of college," said Mendez.  "I believe that this program helped me to succeed, I graduated in the top 2% of my high school class and received 10 scholarships toward my education. I look forward to giving back to others like me."

Community Service Project drive donations will be accepted through Saturday, Feb. 22 at various drop box locations across the university. Acceptable school supply donations include any type of notebook, backpacks, pencils, pens, erasers, child-safe scissors, folders, binders, notecards, glue, markers, crayons, colored pencils, construction paper, children’s books, etc.

Donation locations:

Downtown Phoenix campus
TRiO Student Support Services, Post Office Suite 104

Polytechnic campus
TRiO Student Support Services, Sutton Hall 201

Tempe campus
TRIO Student Support Services - Disability, Matthews Center
Upward Bound, Irish Hall A 118
Veterans Upward Bound Office, Irish Hall A 121
Day of Service event, Lattie F. Coor Hall, Room 170

West campus
TRIO Student Support Services and STEM, University Center 220

TRIO services include: assistance in choosing a college; tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; assistance in applying to college; workplace and college visits; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; and academic support in high school or assistance to re-enter high school.

Register online to attend National TRIO Day at ASU. The event is free and open to the public.

Diana Bejarano,, 480-965-1604