Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund Now Accepting Investment Applications

A new pre-seed venture fund at the University of Michigan’s Innovation Partnerships is now accepting applications for investment opportunities.
16
The Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund focuses on investing in Michigan startups commercializing technologies from one of the state's 15 public universities. // Stock photo

A new pre-seed venture fund at the University of Michigan’s Innovation Partnerships is now accepting applications for investment opportunities.

The Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund focuses on investing in Michigan startups that have a license to commercialize technologies from one of the state’s 15 public universities.

The fund will focus on early-stage technology and life sciences companies typically seeking their first investment capital. Companies seeking investment must be operating within the state of Michigan.

With $5 million under management, expected initial investments by the MUICF will be between $50,000 to $250,000.

“We are thrilled to announce that the Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund has officially launched, enabling us to begin investing in and supporting innovative university startup companies from across our state,” says Kelly Sexton, associate vice president for research — innovation partnerships and economic impact at U-M.

“By investing in Michigan-grown companies, we look forward to seeing positive economic impacts as these startups complete key business milestones and accelerate their growth.”

The money awarded to Innovation Partnerships by the Michigan Strategic Fund and Michigan Economic Development Corp. also supports the creation of the Michigan University Innovation Capital Consortium.

The consortium is a collaborative platform bringing together leaders from university technology transfer and university-managed pre-seed venture funds to support the MUICF and university research-based startups. The MUICF targets investing in at least 17 companies in its first two years.

“The consortium is a vital component of the MUICF, with leaders from Michigan’s technology transfer and investment communities offering advisory and strategic support to the fund and its portfolio companies,” says Steve Weber, director of technology and commercialization at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. “I am excited to collaborate with my talented colleagues to support the innovative startups emerging from Michigan’s university research ecosystem.”

Initial members of the consortium include investors and technology transfer leaders from U-M, Western Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan Technological University.

“We are proud to support the MUICF and its consortium,” says Nataliya Stasiw, equity capital program director for entrepreneurship and innovation at the MEDC. “This new fund leverages the success of other statewide research commercialization programs. Together, we are building a world-class infrastructure to bring university research discoveries out of the lab and into society, improving and saving lives while growing and diversifying Michigan’s economy.”

The MUICF and the consortium are building on the success of the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program that has hubs managed by U-M (life sciences and advanced transportation), MSU (agricultural technologies and industrial biotechnology), Wayne State (advanced computer technologies), and Michigan Tech (advanced materials).

The Tech Transfer Talent Network statewide Mentor-in-Residence program is managed by U-M and Michigan Tech, and the ADVANCE University Early Stage Proof of Concept Fund is managed by MSU.