UW creates business arm

By Daniel Bendtsen

Laramie Boomerang

Via Wyoming News Exchange

LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted to establish a business arm of the university, WyoVentures LLC, a venture that’s charged with “creating and maintaining an educational and practical entrepreneurship resource infrastructure, which will be an easily accessible single point of entry for start-up ventures in Wyoming.”

Ed Synakowski, UW’s vice president for research and economic development, told the trustees that the new company provides “a legal framework through which activities can be conducted that are presently not allowed by the university, including management of investment funds and venture capital.”

Synakowski said there are no plans to transfer any UW property to WyoVentures.

The trustees are responsible for selecting seven board members for the LLC.

The board is required to include four “industry” representatives, each representing one of the following five business sectors: Natural resources, advanced manufacturing, knowledge and creative industries, agriculture, and tourism and outdoor recreation.

The industry representatives will each serve two-year terms.

UW provided just $1,000 in initial capital for the company, according to the operating agreement approved last week.

Aside from the company’s “business coaching” responsibilities, the operating agreement indicates that WyoVentures might pursue seed grants, “early stage” capital funds, angel investing and education for investors and entrepreneurs.

The company’s creation is part of the continuing development of UW’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which was launched in 2018.

The operating agreement for WyoVentures, of which UW is the only member, also states the company should organize “entrepreneurship meet-ups and business education events across Wyoming, including but not limited to an annual entrepreneurship expo.”

The company’s board members are allowed to hire a CEO and the UW Board of Trustees will only need to sign off on “any acquisition of, investment by, or sale by the company of assets or procurement of services with a value of $500,000 or more in a single transaction or series of related transaction over a one year period.”