Capitol Alert

Vivek Ranadive to lead University of California investment fund

Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive cheers on the Kings on Dec. 16, 2014.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive cheers on the Kings on Dec. 16, 2014. The Sacramento Bee file

Software executive and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has been tapped to lead a new venture capital fund focused on University of California research, the university announced Tuesday.

Anchored by $250 million from UC’s investment office, the fund will be an independent entity run by Ranadive, who will build a business team and help attract outside capital. He has also committed to investing an additional 5 percent of the fund’s total assets from his own money.

“It is a tremendous honor to partner with the University of California in this unique collaboration focused on investing in breakthrough technologies emerging from the world-class University of California system,” Ranadive said in a statement. “As an entrepreneur, I look forward to supporting fellow entrepreneurs and growing innovative, value-driven enterprises with a mission to advance our society and make the world a better place.”

The fund, which does not include money from student tuition or state taxpayers, will primarily finance projects from UC faculty and students, in areas such as life sciences, information technology, energy, agriculture and materials. The university touted the vast reach of the inventions produced at its campuses, including more than 800 start-up companies since 1980.

“It makes sense, rather than these researchers going outside UC to get funding, they could come here,” spokeswoman Dianne Klein said.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff