Michigan

The University of Michigan’s voracious appetite for venture capital is showing no signs of decreasing. The home of the Wolverines invested more than $318 million in venture funds in 2019, an increase of 7 percent from the previous year, according to an analysis of public documents.

While it increased the size of its bets, UM made fewer of them. Documents from multiple board meetings show the endowment committed to a total of 11 venture funds last year, down from 19 in 2018.

UM backed funds from a variety of geographies and with different strategies. Among the funds UM backed in 2019 are those from Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Hydrazine Capital and MHS Capital.

Most recently, it made a $40 million commitment across Kaszek Ventures IV and Kaszek Ventures Opportunity I in July. Both vehicles will focus on investing in seed  and early stage technology companies based in Latin America.

Kaszek Ventures IV closed on $375 million from 144 investors in September and Kaszek Venture Opportunities I closed on $225 million from 91 investors the same month.

UM also invested in multiple funds focused on Europe. It committed €30 million toward Healthcap VIII, a life science fund based in Sweden that is seeking to raise $277 million.

Likewise, the endowment invested $15 million to Accel London VI, which closed on $575 million in May. The fund is targeting technology companies in Europe and North American companies ready to expand to Europe.

Venture capital holdings accounted for 18.7 percent of the endowment’s portfolio and had a market value of more than $2.4 billion at the end of December. Just a year earlier, VC holdings made up 17.5 percent of the portfolio had a market value of $1.8 billion.

The endowment is already considering its first venture commitment of 2020. The firm will vote on a recommendation to commit $10 million to Miracle Plus Fund I during its Feb. 20 board meeting. The fund is based in Beijing and plans to invest in early stage technology companies through an accelerator program.

The University of Michigan Board of Regents governs the Ann Arbor-based institution. The university has more than 40,000 active students. The endowment has approximately $19 billion in assets under management.