Sacramento Business Journal - October 6, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Educator uses brains, not financial brawn to help venture capitalists
Sacramento Business Journal
Courtesy of Maidu Interpretive Center
The Maidu Interpretive Center in Roseville is expected to be completed in 2010.
Judy Kjelstrom, director of the Biotechnology Program at University of California Davis, circulated around the Sacramento Region Clean Energy Showcase Venture Expo on Sept. 26 wearing a name tag that said “Velocity Venture Capital.”
The university allows her to spend 20 percent of her time on personal projects, Kjelstrom said, and she spends some of it as an unpaid consultant for Velocity Venture Capital LLC of Folsom. She helps Velocity hunt around for biotechnology startups with good business potential.
Velocity general partner Jack Crawford Jr. approached her for help a couple of years ago when the venture capital company was just getting started.
“All they’re doing is using my brain to assess whether (a company has) good science,” Kjelstrom said. “Jack doesn’t know molecular biology like I do.”
Velocity invests $100,000 to $1 million in early-stage companies. Will Kjelstrom invest?
“I don’t have any money,” Kjelstrom said, laughing. “I sit around with these rich guys and look at these deals, but I don’t have any money.”
“My vision is (to help form) more companies so our graduate students can stay in the valley and there will be more jobs,” she said.
Kjelstrom said she didn’t find any good biotechnology-related prospects for Velocity at the conference.
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