Capitalizing on decades of leadership in nearly all major categories of technical endeavor, the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois created IllinoisVENTURES, which was formally launched in 2002, to catalyze the creation and development of research-derived companies in information technologies, physical sciences, life sciences and clean technology, particularly those deriving from the University of Illinois and other Midwestern Universities and federal laboratories. John Banta was recruited to lead the new organization, with the broad mandate to license promising technology and promote the formation of spin-off companies. Within the year, Rob Schultz and John Regan joined Banta, having worked closely with him and each other as entrepreneurs, investors and fellow Board members in prior projects. They were joined by Kathryn Hyer, an experienced life science investment banker and early-stage executive already associated with the University. Under the guidance of a world-class Board comprised of leaders from all phases of the investment community as well as academia, they set out to create a state of the art environment for new company formation via a unique public/private partnership. The team recognized that in addition to business development support the effort needed to comprise meaningful investment resource or it could not bring about referenceable success. Their own experiences demonstrated that substantial capital could be attracted to the region, but only by fundable companies that had begun to mitigate risk through the development of strong teams, the productization of their technology and the validation of proposed markets. Given the limited presence of seed and early stage technology investors actively committing capital to the region, in 2004 they raised their first venture fund, the Illinois Emerging Technologies Fund. They realized as well that success could not be obtained or defined locally, but rather was a regional phenomenon. Ultimately, the collective effort of the Board of Managers, University leadership, the partners and supporting staff and particularly the collaborating entrepreneurs and researchers resulted in the pioneering of a successful commercialization strategy that benefited a multivariate set of public and private stakeholders, demonstrating that significant returns can be generated from a portfolio comprised in the majority of companies deriving from and/or with significant presence in the Midwest. To date, IllinoisVENTURES has formed and supported an array of award wining projects in multiple domains throughout the region, which have attracted substantial third-party co-investment from leading investment firms across the nation. The long-standing collaborative experience of the team working together in early stage new enterprise formation is the basis of that success.