Northern Kentucky University Announces Investment in Cintrifuse

For immediate release…
Thursday – Sept. 25, 2014

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey Mearns announced today that the University and the NKU Foundation have received an anonymous $1 million contribution to invest in Cintrifuse (http://www.cintrifuse.com).

The investment will be added to the Cintrifuse Fund of Funds, which invests in regional and national early-stage venture capital funds. Cintrifuse provides an avenue for corporations and venture capitalists to gain further insights into and engagement with the startup community in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.

The returns on the NKU’s Cintrifuse investment will support the NKU Fund for Excellence.  The Fund for Excellence provides the university president the ability to support student scholarships, academic programs, study abroad opportunities, and continued innovation activities at NKU.

Tim Schigel, manager of the $57MM Cintrifuse fund adds, “We’re very pleased to add Northern Kentucky University as an investor.  They join 14 other corporations, foundations, and schools around the area who all want Greater Cincinnati to continue to be at the forefront of innovation.  We think it’s great to add their voice to the conversation.”

Mr. Mearns said the Cintrifuse investment further demonstrates NKU’s commitment to supporting local innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Our strong academic programs and skilled faculty, students, and alumni make this region an attractive home for innovative companies large and small," Mr. Mearns said. "And with outstanding initiatives like UpTech and Cintrifuse, the local entrepreneurship community has never been stronger.  This investment will provide new opportunities for our students and faculty to share their ideas with international leaders and investors in innovation.”

Other university programs supporting innovation and entrepreneurship include:

  • A unique partnership between the College of Informatics and UpTech (http://www.uptechideas.org), a Northern Kentucky-based accelerator connecting talent, funding, and ideas to support the region’s thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  • The Center for Applied Informatics (http://cai.nku.edu) is the outreach arm of the College of Informatics. It draws upon student and faculty expertise to develop technology-infused business solutions for local companies, startups, and nonprofits through websites, databases, mobile apps, web services, cloud solutions, and analytics.
  • The Haile/US Bank College of Business Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (http://ei.nku.edu), which provides students with skills and resources to navigate the startup process; connects students and experts with small businesses; and helps students and alumni locate resources to launch or grow their businesses.

Like each of these programs, the University’s $1 million Cintrifuse investment will support regional innovation and entrepreneurship. Cintrifuse connects the region’s high-potential, venture-backable startups to advice, talent, funding, and customers.

“The team at NKU has always been big proponents of the startup ecosystem.  Their investment in the Fund and engagement with Cintrifuse solidifies their ongoing commitment to the region’s initiative of attracting and supporting entrepreneurs,” adds Nancy Koors, Cintrifuse interim CEO and Northern Kentucky resident.

The Cintrifuse robust network of supporters includes Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Duke Energy, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and the University of Cincinnati.

“This gift has many benefits for NKU.  First, the returns on this investment will support the NKU Fund for Excellence and provide opportunity to support student scholarships and programs.  Second, it also allows Northern Kentucky University to join such a respected group of organizations in supporting Cintrifuse,” Mr. Mearns said.

About Cintrifuse:

Cintrifuse is an organization that enables the building of high-growth companies.  With the entrepreneur at the center of its service offerings, Cintrifuse plays a different role – connector, supporter, or provider – depending on where the startup is in its life cycle – ideation, incubation, market entry, growth, exit.

Cintrifuse offers its members advisory services, connections to funding, talent, and customers as well as co-working space. Unique to other startup advocacy groups, Cintrifuse also operates a for-profit fund investing in other venture funds, not directly in startups themselves.  The investors in the Fund of Funds (and also Cintrifuse operationally) represent not only the top companies of Cincinnati, but also the world (Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Duke Energy, Western & Southern, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the University of Cincinnati, to name just a handful).  Through this relationship, large corporations win by getting access to innovation; VCs win by increasing their deal flow and connections; and most importantly, startups win as combination of all.

Cintrifuse will soon be relocating to state-of-the-art co-working space in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati.

About the Cintrifuse Fund of Funds

The Cintrifuse Early Stage Capital Fund I, LLC, a for profit venture capital fund of funds, invests in regional and national early-stage venture capital funds with a focus on technology, life sciences, consumer goods/services and energy. The Cintrifuse Fund of Funds is operated by Cintrifuse Fund Management, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cintrifuse, a not-for-profit corporation.  Cintrifuse is developing a network of venture capital firms and other high-potential investment sources. Cintrifuse Fund of Funds’ goals are to generate strong financial returns for investors and to meaningfully increase the amount of venture capital activity in the region. The Cintrifuse Early Stage Capital Fund I has closed $57 million to date. It is believed to be the largest privately funded first-time regional fund of funds in the country.

About Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University is a major metropolitan university enrolling more than 15,000 associate, undergraduate, graduate, professional, and doctoral students in six colleges - the College of Arts and Sciences, the Haile/US Bank College of Business, the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Health Professions, the College of Informatics, and the Chase College of Law. NKU's innovative academic programs and unparalleled commitment to student success both in the classroom and beyond have helped the university earn the designation of one of America's Best Colleges by Forbes magazine six consecutive years.

About Northern Kentucky University Foundation, Inc.

The NKU Foundation was established in 1970 as a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to maximize sustainable support for NKU by receiving, managing, and administering private gift support while prudently discharging its fiduciary obligations to the university, donors, and designated beneficiaries.  The Foundation operates exclusively to promote the educational, scientific, cultural, research and recreational objectives of Northern Kentucky University in support of the university's pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, and public service.

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For more information, contact Chris Cole at (859) 572-6574 or colec@nku.edu.