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U-M plans to invest up to $25M in its own start-ups

The University of Michigan is dipping its toes in the pool of Ann Arbor's entrepreneurial ecosystem, pledging to make a number of six-figure investments in start-ups spun out of the university.

U-M's new Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups initiative promises to invest as much as $25 million over the next decade into venture-backed start-ups that are based around inventions born in U-M's labs. U-M will invest as much as $500,000 into a fundraising round that already has venture backing.

"It will definitely have a positive impact," says Jim Adox, managing director of Venture Investors. "It's absolutely heading in the right direction."

Adox should know. His downtown Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm and his previous firm have invested in eight U-M spin outs, including big hits like HandyLab. Venture Investors, which has offices in Madison, Wisconsin, and Ann Arbor specializes in start-ups spun out of top-tier universities like U-M and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That means U-M's announcement is welcome news.

"It's a big part of what we do and a big part of our strategy," Adox says.

He adds that $500,000 isn't a lot when it comes to the expensive venture rounds needed to develop complex university technology, a criticism that has arisen since the announcement. However, having the university and its billions of dollars' worth of investment power involved with the local investment community is a significant step that needed to be taken and will help facilitate even more entrepreneurial funding.

Source: Jim Adox, managing director of Venture Investors
Writer: Jon Zemke
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  • Venture Investors
    201 South Main Street
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    Venture Investors is a provider of seed and early stage venture capital in the Midwest. It works with healthcare and technology companies throughout the region. It has an Ann Arbor office.