Illinois Emerging Technologies launches third fund

Life-science and medical-technology startups, which often face the toughest road in getting started, have another source of funding.

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Life-science and medical-technology startups, which often face the toughest road in getting started, have another source of funding.

The Illinois Emerging Technologies Fund has just raised its third fund, with about $15 million in capital. The fund makes early-stage investments in complex research and development ideas, generally related to patents. The first fund launched in 2004, with a follow-up in 2009.

The fund is led by Nancy Sullivan, who also is CEO of Illinois Ventures, a venture-capital fund created by the University of Illinois. Sullivan also leads the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund, a proof-of-concept fund at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Illinois Emerging Technologies Fund is a more traditional fund, which includes outside investors. Its best-known investments are ShareThis, a web software spinout from the University of Illinois that’s now based in San Francisco, and iCyt, a Champaign-based biotech company acquired by Sony in 2010. Other deals include Personify, which created technology used in virtual reality and augmented reality, and cancer-related startup Diagnostic Photonics.

“We’re seeing a lot of opportunities in the medical and engineering spaces and the convergence of the two,” Sullivan said. “With Enterprise Works at UIUC, Matter and 1871, we’ve seen some things we might not have otherwise seen. There are more therapeutics coming out of Chicago than before. Some of the student-led startups are starting to mature.”

The new fund has made two investments, Revolution Medicines, a U of I drug-discovery spinout based in Redwood City, Calif., and Apervita, a Chicago-based health care technology company. Sullivan expects the new Emerging Technologies fund will make eight to 12 investments.