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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Arizona State launches an investment network of university affiliates

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: March 28th, 2018

Arizona State University (ASU) has launched a new program to give university supporters access to investment opportunities arising from ASU innovations. The ASU Thunderbird Investor Network (ATIN) will combine the strength of the university’s research and its entrepreneurial drive with the Thunderbird School of Global Management’s network of angel investors.

“As a top-tier research university, ASU provides a tremendous amount of support for our students to gain the experience in entrepreneurship and innovation they need to become leaders in industry,” says Jeff Mindlin, vice president of investments for the ASU Foundation, which manages private investments in the university. “Our foundation operates on a model of finding out what our alumni and advocates are passionate about, and connecting them with an ASU college, center or initiative that can help them explore that passion,” adds Mindlin. “But we recognize that these members of the ASU community, and many other people affiliated with the university in some way, have personal financial goals in addition to philanthropy. The ASU Thunderbird Investor Network is a nexus where these potential investors can interface with investment opportunities born out of university research and innovation, to the benefit of both.”

Investors must be accredited and have an affiliation with ASU or Thunderbird, whether they’re donors, alumni, students, parents, faculty or staff. Similarly, any start-up applying for funding through ATIN must have a direct connection to the university.

Rick Shangraw, CEO of entrepreneurship support group ASU Enterprise Partners, comments, “The most exciting aspect of the ASU Thunderbird Investor Network is its ability to bring multiple stakeholders together — researchers, alumni, investors, the foundation and Enterprise Partners — to advance ideas that were incubated by the university’s energy and encouragement. We see those ideas taking shape every day at ASU, and we watch as their creators prepare to become leaders in their fields.

“As these investors and innovators will tell you, their time in ASU’s ecosystem of discovery thoroughly prepared them for success outside the university,” says Shangraw. “We’re delighted to now be able to make the benefits of their entrepreneurship available to the ASU community through the ASU Thunderbird Investor Network.”

Source: ASU Now

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