University reaps benefits of investment

By Alexander Slavitz

Contributing Writer

Although the exact benefits cannot be disclosed, the University will be receiving a large payoff due to its investment in Zynga, the producer of popular Facebook games such as Farmville and Words with Friends. This is because the company will be going public this month at an expected worth of around $9 billion. The University invested in Zynga soon after it was founded in 2007 through its investment in a professional venture capital fund called Avalon Ventures.

“In the rise in popularity of the social media industry, there’s a lot of winners and losers,” said John Luthi, the University’s investment analyst.

Social media is a compelling revolution. Luthi attributed the basic driving force of this revolution to the basic human need to communicate with one other, a desire that social media easily fills.

“It’s one of the best performing investments we’ve made,” said Chris Brown, Chief Investment Officer for the University, in the Dec. 8 issue of “The Daily Item.” 

Luthi noted that social media investment is a medium to long-term commitment, as it’s hard to know how the market will fluctuate. As an ’04 alumnus and now senior investment analyst, Luthi stressed that it is important to steward endowment for today to positively affect the University’s future.

Even with an endowment of $575 million in June, Luthi was confidently able to say that Zygna is a nice highlight for the University’s investments. 

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