Tech Transfer has created this program to deploy experienced serial-entrepreneurs (Mentors) to assist the Business Formation Group in accelerating U-M start-up ventures, evaluating early-stage technology, distributing internal resources, and transforming technologies into business ventures. We call this our Mentor-in-Residence program. Unlike traditional mentors, Mentors-in-Residence are employees of the University, reside at Tech Transfer, and work on multiple projects simultaneously.

How We Use Mentors-in-Residence (MIR)

Tech Transfer leverages the depth of experience of the Mentors-in-Residence (MIR) to:

  1. Improve our decision process for early-stage technology transfer opportunities
  2. Expand and accelerate our new business ventures
  3. Expand the Catalyst Resource Network (mentors, experts, management talent, and paid consultants)
  4. Improve the decisions and outcomes of our gap funding expenditures

MIRs typically commit to twelve-month assignments at half-time. This is to provide continuity for our commercialization projects. Mentors-in-Residence are located at Tech Transfer although the nature of the work requires substantial time mentoring inventors and new venture entrepreneurs off-site. The activities of the MIRs are coordinated through the director of the Michigan Venture Center.

To avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest, the MIRs are not actively involved with ventures where they have financial involvement and are required to disclose any relationships with companies that are likely competitors for our ventures. MIRs are also required to maintain strict confidentiality with regards to our business ventures and U-M intellectual property. MIRs are expected to leverage their own personal networks, where appropriate, to benefit commercialization projects.

Sample assignments include business plan development, assisting with grant proposals, developing go-to-market strategies, finding talent for new ventures, identifying and minimizing key market risks, locating resources, monitoring progress along product development path, etc.

Profile of Mentors-in-Residence

To achieve these objectives, Tech Transfer seeks to recruit MIRs with well-credentialed backgrounds. MIRs are selected not only by qualifications and references, but by the creating a balance of backgrounds among the existing Mentors-in-Residence and by filling gaps in expertise based on the types of technologies being created at the University of Michigan. We use the following criteria when selecting a MIR:

  • Experience or knowledge of technology commercialization
  • Management experience in an early-stage company
  • In-depth knowledge of regional start-up resources (e.g. ability to identify local start-up management talent)
  • Willingness to expand Tech Transfer’s business formation capabilities through sharing of personal contacts for Catalyst Resource Network
  • Ability to make the time commitment to the program
  • Experience raising capital (e.g. angel, venture, grants)

Contact the Michigan Venture Center at venturecenter@umich.edu to discuss a potential candidate.