This year alone has seen direct equity deals from universities such as Stanford, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and the University of Oxford, among many others.
Purdue University is set to acquire Kaplan University and all of its assets including 15 campuses and 32,000 students for just $1. Under the agreement, Kaplan’s parent company (part of Graham Holdings) will receive a percentage of revenue from the Purdue-operated Kaplan going forward.
Universities are increasingly active in private markets, and not just as LPs in venture funds through their endowments. This year alone has seen direct equity deals from universities such as Stanford (to SOCI and LimeBike), Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (Decentrik Technologies), University of Oxford (Oxsonics), and the University of Michigan (Nynex Therapeutics), among many others. This excludes grants and debt deals so these are actual equity bets or incubator/accelerator/business plan competition deals.
Direct deals in startups from universities and their associated endowments have trended up significantly over the last 7 years. Deals climbed to a new high in 2016 with $694M spread over 84 deals. Q1’17 saw 33 deals, the highest seen since the 34 in Q3’14.