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Tucsonan launches venture-capital fund to support UA tech start-ups

Tucsonan launches venture-capital fund to support UA tech start-ups

Local businessman Fletcher McCusker has founded a new venture-capital fund designed to support University of Arizona technology startups.

UA Venture Capital LLC was founded by McCusker, CEO of Sinfonía Health Care, who is a principal of the fund along with Sinfonia chief financial officer Michael Deitch and Larry Hecker, a corporate attorney long involved in local economic-development efforts.

UA Venture Capital will consider investing in UA “science, technology, services and intellectual property” originating from faculty, students, alumni and affiliates.

The fund is headquartered in the historic Ronstadt House at 607 N. Sixth Ave., just blocks away from downtown and the university.

McCusker said the biggest problem for Tucson-based startups has been growth capital.

He noted that he had to continually seek outside funding for Sinfonía, which he founded in 2013, and for Providence Service Corp., a home-based health-care company he founded in 1997 and left in 2012.

McCusker already has been involved with a UA startup.

SinfoníaRx was created in November 2013, when Sinfonía HealthCare acquired a medication-management program known as the Medication Management Center, developed by employees of the UA College of Pharmacy.

In September, SinfoníaRx was acquired for an undisclosed sum by a Philadelphia-area company specializing in medication management.

“Ultimately, SinfoníaRx was funded entirely by Tucsonans and we believe that model, combined with institutional investment, can support a number of startup ventures,” McCusker said in a news release.

McCusker said UA Venture Capital is in the process of raising money from accredited investors for its first fund, which should by fully funded by mid-October.

He declined to discuss the size of the fund or its expected investments, citing regulatory restrictions while investments for the first fund are solicited.

Arizona ranked 20th among the states, up from 26th in 2015, for the value of venture-capital deals in the state in 2016 at $220.5 million, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights’ 2016 MoneyTree report.

David Allen, UA vice president for the school’s technology-transfer agency, Tech Launch Arizona, said, “Having access to local capital will definitely be a boost for UA technology commercialization.”

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner

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