Faculty + Staff

UC startups generate $20B in economic activity for California

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Graphic for a story on UC-affiliated startups
UCLA

The top five fields for the creation of UCLA-affiliated startups were medical therapeutics, medical diagnostics, medical devices, research tools, and software and services.

A study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute of the rapid formation of startups at UC campuses found that universitywide research has led to hundreds of new companies, employing tens of thousands of workers and adding $20 billion to the California economy.

The study, which analyzed startup formation at each campus and across the UC system, found that the pace and number of new companies started by UC graduates and faculty has accelerated over the past 15 years.

Of the roughly 1,300 startups that have come out of UC since 1968, three-quarters were launched between 2000-2015.

  • UC-affiliated companies directly employ 38,056 workers and indirectly support 108,460 other jobs across a wide range of industries and incomes, from suppliers to restaurants.
  • Those same companies generate total economic activity totaling $20.1 billion and contribute $503.8 million in federal tax revenue and another $88 million in state and local tax revenue.
  • UC-affiliated start-ups also have been an important magnet for investment, attracting more than $16 billion in private venture funding since 1968 and hundreds of millions of dollars more in public grants.

“The University of California and its 10 campuses are a dynamic and valuable force for the state’s economy,” said Sean Randolph, lead report author and senior director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “UC’s strategic work in harnessing the power of its emerging entrepreneurial culture is providing enormous benefits for the state economy and for the economies of the diverse regions where UC campuses are located.”

The Bay Area ouncil is a partnership of business with labor, government, higher education and community leaders that works to support the economic vitality and competitiveness of California and the Bay Area. It produces authoritative analyses on key economic issues in the region and the state, and mobilizes leaders from diverse backgrounds around targeted policy initiatives.

According to the report, UCLA has the highest level of licensing royalty income of any UC campus in  FY 2015 — $71.2 million. According to the Association of University Technology Managers, UCLA was ranked third in the nation in startup creation in FY2014. Forbes Magazine ranks UCLA fifth in the nation on its list of America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities for both 2014 and 2015. 

“UCLA supports an entrepreneurial culture through an especially broad array of programs,” according to the report.

Of the 201 UCLA-affiliated startups generated between 1968 and June 2015, more than 100 are still active. The top five fields for the creation of startups were medical therapeutics, medical diagnostics, medical devices, research tools, and software and services.

A selected listing of startups commercializing UCLA discoveries is available here.

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