Tech Transfer eNews Blog

MSU’s new student VC fund to invest in university start-ups

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 17th, 2019

A group of students at Michigan State University is about to get a real taste of the venture investing world, and university start-ups will be the beneficiaries of their investment decisions.

A new partnership between Red Cedar Ventures — a  the wholly owned venture investment subsidiary of the MSU Foundation — and the university’s Center for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance, or CVCPEEF, is bringing the realities of venture funding directly into the classroom.

In the just-launched program, students taking Entrepreneurial Finance will assess university start-ups and make investments of up to $50,000.

“Students taking Entrepreneurial Finance can now put the principles learned in the classroom into practice,” said Zsuzsanna Fluck, associate professor of finance and director of the CVCPEEF. “Working with MSU start-ups, students will conduct assessments and due diligence into emerging start-ups here on campus. This is experiential learning at its finest.”

The first group of students is already conducting investment evaluations on over 20 start-ups, many of which are competing in this week’s Burgess New Venture Challenge. At an event on April 26th, the Student Venture Capital Fund will deliver its final investment evaluations and award funding to its top picks.

The fund’s capital comes directly from Red Cedar Ventures, which will execute and hold student investment recommendations within the company’s portfolio.

“Since 2016, Red Cedar Ventures has been building a portfolio that champions some of the most promising technologies and start-ups coming out of Michigan State University,” said Jeff Wesley, executive director of Red Cedar Ventures, who will mentor the students. “This collaboration supports our students by providing a richer experiential learning opportunity, lending depth to their understanding of the venture capital landscape.”

The student fund will continue beyond the competition, assessing investment opportunities the MSU Hatch, the school’s start-up incubator for student entrepreneurs. The Hatch serves hundreds of student members in a three-stage, milestone-based program. With over sixty startup companies in the Hatch program’s final “Launch” stage alone, the Student Venture Capital Fund will have a growing pipeline of companies into which dollars can be deployed.

Source: MSU Today

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