“There’s a ton of stuff that really could be impacting the lives of everybody on Earth, that is not making it out of the lab and into practical application,” said David Van Wie, founder and chief investment officer at Aventurine Capital Group. That’s how he summarizes the problem he is trying to solve with his IP-forward accelerator. He hopes that spinning out companies — and letting inventors and academics continue to do what they do best — is a winning formula.
Aventurine focuses on where venture capital doesn’t typically go: It gets in early to support people who aren’t natural entrepreneurs and invests in IP for the long term using what it calls a Perpetual IP Income fund, or PIPI fund. If it sounds as if it’s the antithesis of quick growth and timely exit, that’d be accurate. But the team believes that’s OK, and that perhaps VCs don’t need to be in a big fat hurry all the time anyway.
“This is a researcher who spent 20 years of their lives chasing a certain thing,” said Joe Maruschak, the company’s managing director of Aventurine’s investment studio. That’s how he described who Aventurine is looking to fund. “They caught the bug for chemistry, and they’ve spent all of their lives going into chemistry. They’ve got their Ph.D., got a job in university, and then discovered something.”
Central to Aventurine’s thesis is that academics shouldn’t have to be entrepreneurs to ensure that their discoveries or innovations can be developed and brought to market to eventually have an impact in the world. It recognizes that a researcher’s skill set is not necessarily the same as a founder’s, and that they shouldn’t be forced to learn how to do it overnight.