History

The fund traces its roots to a visit to the University of Utah in 2000 by Geoff Woolley, a venture capitalist who received his M.B.A. from Utah's David Eccles School of Business. He suggested the students start their own venture fund, and several students began raising the seed money. The effort got a big boost in 2001 with the help of a $500,000 commitment from James Lee Sorenson, vice chairman of Sorenson Development and an alumnus of the University of Utah. He challenged the students to raise money from actual institutional investors rather than just rely on charitable donations. Jared Hutchings and other founding students worked hard with local professionals to close the first $5M from institutional and individual investors including UBS and Tim Draper in 2004. By 2006, the Fund was managing $18.2M in assets, making it the largest student-run fund by assets under management in the country.

         

The fund's first deal was BaroSense Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif., life-sciences company, in a round led by RWI Group, a Palo Alto, Calif., VC firm in 2004. Since then the Fund has made 24 investments in a diverse number of industries and stages. The Fund has had eight successful exits including four IPOs. Today the Fund makes early stage, growth equity and later stage buyout investments in industries spanning consumer products to software to biotechnology.

The Fund has also achieved strong success is its other core goal: Develop the entrepreneurial leaders of tomorrow. UVF has put over 400 students through its program, most of work at many of the most prestigious companies around the world.