The Equity Solutions Group is the latest addition to UC Berkeley’s ecosystem for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E). Under the leadership of Director Omar Qarshi, and including Carol Mimura and Richard Lyons, the Equity Solutions Group manages UC Berkeley's company stock holdings, primarily those obtained from IP licenses and access to campus facilities and services. The group seeks to diversify the types of transactions that result in company stock ownership, and maintain the quantity of shares owned in support of the university's mission. The team collaborates with stakeholders across the start-up equity lifecycle, from company formation, capital raises, and corporate actions to liquidity/exit events. Our partners include UC Berkeley's Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances, incubators, accelerators, hubs, and affiliated venture capital funds (e.g. the seven existing “shared-carry funds”), and also the Office of the Chief Investment Officer and the Knowledge Transfer Office at UC’s Office of the President.
Examples of Initiatives
Monitoring a growing portfolio of equity positions (~110) through private financing rounds (e.g., Seed, Series A-D, M&A, IPO).
UC CIO Collaboration
Collaborating with the office of UC’s Chief Investment Officer on equity certificate transfers, co-investment rights, corporate actions, mergers, acquisitions, and liquidation events.
Supporting campus licensing officers in negotiations to help win more equity for advancing UCB’s mission.
Driving better decisions to help grow our equity ownership through portfolio segmentation and characteristic studies. Examples may include lifecycle analysis of our average startup from seed to exit across different industries, sciences, and technologies. Perspective studies may include time from licensure to liquidity event, valuation at each round of financing, equity offered per round, and ultimately return multiple achieved over time. These insights will provide transparency with our partners when there is a need to raise new funds.
Natural point of contact for interactions related to equity between startup founders and the campus I&E ecosystem.
Ongoing management of equity packages, pro-rata rights, participation rights, capitalization tables, and valuation connected to the current portfolio.
Advising University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR) from time to time on management of gift-acquired equity in startups.
Data simulation and hypothesis testing of historical equity portfolio decision points to better inform UC Berkeley of incremental return on invested capital, potential future funding opportunities and optimal capital allocation. Hypothetical scenarios may include agnostic seed stage funding, targeted participation in specific funding rounds such as Series A, B, pre-IPO, or co-investing with our affiliates. Outcomes will inform magnitude of funding needs if we choose to make a calculated pivot in such directions.
Diversifying our portfolio of equity instruments with Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFEs), warrants, notes, etc.
Record-Keeping and Process Streamlining
Designing and implementing scalable and centralized record-keeping and decision-making for process efficiency within the startup equity portfolio.
Helping create new ways to acquire equity beyond licensing such as through UCB’s many accelerators and incubators (e.g., receiving fair market value in exchange for access to campus facilities and services).
Connecting funding sources and UC partners to portfolio pro-rata raises, series, etc.