U plays role in venture capital fund

By By Katie Valentine

By Katie Valentine

A fund, run in part by U students, invested in a local company and has helped it grow.

The University Venture Fund is a venture capital fund that gives 20 students from the U, Westminster and BYU an opportunity to gain business and investment experience before they graduate. The fund was one of three financial backers for the Orem-based company Omniture. BYU graduate Joshua James started Omniture, an online marketing and web analyzing company, in 1996. Last week, Adobe bought Omniture for $1.8 billion.

The fund privately invested in the Omniture business and sold its shares after Omniture went public in 2006. The fund made money by investing with Omniture early, but it’s unknown how much it made.

“It’s a private fund,” said Tom Stringham, adviser for University Venture Fund, who declined to say how much the fund profited.

The fund relies solely on private funds and isn’t connected to the U financially. It is a for-profit entity.

Venture capitalism is a hard market to break into, which is why the University Venture Fund is a good opportunity for students to get a foot in the door, said Jonathan Bowen, a senior in finance and an associate with the University Venture Fund.

“It’s unparalleled,” Bowen said. “The best thing in my education, second to none.”

hen Omniture went public, it sold for $6.50 a share and closed its first day at $6.53. The shares purchased by Adobe are now worth $21.50 per share.

Omniture didn’t make money, according to the fund. The company would make about $30 million, but its expenditures added up to $45 million.

The most dramatic way the sale of Omniture could affect Utah’s economy is if it were to leave Utah, said Jack Brittain, vice president for the U’s Technology Venture Development. Omniture is a top employer of students who major in computer science, he said.

There hasn’t been any announcement of whether Omniture’s headquarters will change.

Adobe Systems Incorporated creates multimedia and creativity software. Adobe8212;based in San Jose, Calif.8212;was started by U graduate John Warnock in 1982.
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