The University of Michigan’s Tech Transfer office and the Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) have announced that they will partner on a new, collaborative office inside Tech Transfer’s Venture Accelerator. The partnership, the first of its kind for the MVCA, will give the organization’s members direct access to the startups and technology spun out of university research.
U-M is known as one of the top research institutions in the nation, says MVCA associate director Manisha Tayal, and the prospect of bringing investors in close contact with university startups was very appealing. “Companies with strong technology are good investments, and the university’s tech transfer office is known for having very strong technology,” she explains.
Though this is the first collaboration of its kind, the U-M tech transfer office and the MVCA have enjoyed a long, interdependent history. Tayal says that MVCA members, made up of 240 individuals and 80 firms representing private and corporate VCs, angel investors, economic development organizations, and academic institutions, have invested in many U-M startups, including HandyLab—which happens to be one of Michigan’s biggest startup exits—and Histosonics.
Though most of its members are based in Michigan or the Midwest, not all of them are, and Tayal thinks the new office will be especially beneficial to out-of-state investors. “This allows our members the chance to engage and look at the technology more closely,” she adds.
The announcement was made at the Entrepreneurs Engage “unconference” held at the university’s North Campus Research Complex at the end of last month. The Venture Accelerator also announced it will soon get its 18th tenant, Austin, TX-based Ambiq Micro, a startup developing super-efficient microcontrollers. In the past decade, 92 spinoff companies have come out of the university, according to a press release from the Tech Transfer office.