FundingWe are experts at finding the right funding for your venture needs. These could be University funds to assess and develop promising projects or government and private sources of funds, including angel and venture capital.

The Venture Center provides direct access to a variety of funding resources. Our relationship with investors and access to funding sources is key to the success of our startups. We help to secure funds for market readiness, translational research, to prepare Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications and business plan competitions, and continue through to rounds of funding with institutional venture capital funds. Our relationships not only help open doors for emerging companies, but help keep them open throughout the inevitable onset of challenges creating a new company.

Venture Capital Firms

Venture Capital (VC) firms invest in businesses with significant revenue potential ($10 million to $100 million in revenue) and with an achievable exit strategy in a definable period. Some VCs are interested in early stage developments where the risks are high and the payoff is three-to-ten years into the future. Other firms are more interested in later stage investment opportunities where risks are lower. Most venture capitalists have very specific industry and/or geographic preferences. U-M Tech Transfer Venture Center specialists can guide you and connect you to the right investment partners.

Beyond the initial seed round of venture funding, U-M Tech Transfer can provide connections to follow-on funding sources. The University offers a program called MINTS, Michigan Invests in New Technology Startups, that, with our recommendation and a qualified venture fund partner, will invest up to $1 million in Round A funding in qualified U-M startups. Contact your venture center specialist for more information on MINTS funding.

U-M Tech Transfer is also part of Osage University Partners (OUP) and is one of eight original universities selected because of our process and track record for helping to create valuable U-M startups. Osage invests on our behalf in selected A round funding events and provides us with valuable assessments of our startup opportunities.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are high net worth individuals (accredited investors) that make equity investments as individuals or as part of a group in early stage companies. This investment may be passive or active. Active investment may mean a role in management, bringing in the next round of capital, and/or help in establishing strategic alliances.

Pre Seed Funds

Pre Seed Funds are sources of capital to prepare a startup for the final preparations to apply for private capital, such as a venture capital seed funding round or angel funding. Pre Seed investments are often in the form of a convertible debt or other funding structure that gets priced during the subsequent private funding round. Venture Center specialists have connections to organizations offering Pre Seed funding, and can prepare you to maximize your chances of a successful application.

Gap Funds

Gap funds are grants administered by U-M Tech Transfer that address market readiness issues. Typical activities resourced by gap funds can include customer discovery efforts, retaining consultants to help model and test a new concept or to address compliance, regulatory, security or other market issues, and building market prototypes to demonstrate customer potential. Gap funds address the commercial validation of promising technologies and startups and complement the focus on technical readiness of translational research funding. See your licensing or venture specialist for more information.

Translational Research Funds

Translational Research funds are awarded to faculty for promising inventions disclosed to Tech Transfer. These funds should further develop the technology, addressing key proof of concept issues. The funds are awarded based on the market potential and prospects for commercialization as determined by Tech Transfer and its business / venture partners and an Advisory Committee for programs consisting of technology and business experts. Often a program director manages the application process and the progress of the awardees, partnering with Tech Transfer to monitor prospective customer requirements. Follow these links for more program information.

Other Funding

We also connect our startup projects to government and community funding resources from our partners, including microloans and SBIR/STTR Funds.

For More Information

Contact a Tech Transfer Venture Specialist for details and assistance with any of the funding resources mentioned, or to determine which funds would be appropriate for your venture, as well as facilitate introductions to angel investors and special investment partners.