Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic have formed a new $15 million venture capital fund designed to catapult the startups taking root around Blacksburg and Roanoke’s so-called innovation corridor.
About 60 percent of the investments will be in the life sciences industry and most will be based in Virginia. If they’re in another state, the companies must have some tie to the university or Carilion, fund managers James Ramey and Scott Horner said.
The managers are adamant that the VTC Innovation Fund is not about charity or pure economic development. They say their top priority will be showing a return on investment, but the organizers believe the fund can help boost the local startup ecosystem at the same time.
The fund plans to open an office inside RAMP, Roanoke’s new business accelerator.
“When we looked at our grand vision going forward, we see that the innovation ecosystem has a few holes in it,” Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands said. “One is in the venture capital area. It’s not the only one, but it’s one we identified that we could do something about.”