Technology investment firm Techpacific.com and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have formalised a relationship they hope will help the university's start-ups. Techpacific, which manages a portion of the Hong Kong Government's applied-research fund, has about US$73 million to invest. Early-stage funding had been more difficult to find, said Tony Eastham, president and chief executive of the university's RandD Corp - which is supporting 25 companies through its in-house entrepreneurship programme. Some of these companies have made presentations to potential investors affiliated with Techpacific, and Mr Eastham said a formal relationship should help them gain even greater exposure to potential funding. 'We are hoping this will give our companies access to enough resources to move beyond the initial stage,' he said. However, this week's agreement does not include any commitments to invest. While the university's start-up companies are in search of funds, Techpacific has been reaching out to research institutions and incubators in the region, looking for technology companies that might help improve the performance of its portfolio. Techpacific recently reported a second-quarter loss of US$10.54 million after writing down US$7 million in declining value on its investment portfolio. 'We have invested in some poorly performed companies on the basis that they will be able to market technologies,' Techpacific chief executive Johnny Chan Kok-chung said. A problem in previous investments was that the technology and research and development did not belong to them, he said. There were benefits in the university link, with the faculty and researchers able to advise Techpacific on the technology aspects of potential investments. 'If we see something technologically that we like, Mr Eastham and his colleagues can have a look at them,' Mr Chan said. The university has a HK$10 million fund for seed-stage investment. Some of the 25 companies in its entrepreneurship programme have received funding.