The University of Michigan, which has an endowment valued at about $12 billion, is considering further investing in a16z, Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund. The University announced the news in the agenda for its Board of Regents meeting on February 21, saying that a follow-up investment could happen in the near future.
The University’s endowment has already committed over $3 million to CNK Fund I in June 2018 and has now included it as an approved partnership for follow-on investment. The amount of the next investment, however, remains unspecified. The fund was created by Andreessen Horowitz and it “invest[s] in cryptonetwork technology companies across the spectrum of seed, venture, and growth stage opportunities,” Michigan University said in its agenda.
The official document issued by the University offered the public the reasoning behind the follow-up investment. The University said that cryptocurrencies have become “an important area of innovation and entrepreneurship that warrants focused attention” and that it is regarded as “a distinct type of technology by entrepreneurs, funding sources, and developers.”
“As opportunities related to cryptonetworks transition from being undefined to becoming more visible and sharply defined, the·need for a separate thematic fund may recede. In addition, the regulatory landscape for crypto-based investments is potentially more cumbersome than is the case with the sort of traditional IT investing that otherwise characterizes AH’s activities,” it said in the agenda.
And while Michigan University will be the first to follow-up with an investment, it’s neither the first nor the largest investment made by a university. Several high-profile educational institutions have already backed funds focused on cryptocurrencies, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of North Carolina.