Ring in Case of StartUp

While it’s always been the practice at U-M Tech Transfer to celebrate the milestones and successes of our U-M startups, it was decided in 2018 that we should somehow formalize the process. And, with that in mind, we set out to create a meaningful yet fun ritual around the formal launch of our startups. While this ritual of ours is still evolving, there are a few elements that have remained consistent from the beginning, and, given the response we’ve received thus far, we imagine they’ll be with us for a long time to come.

The main element is the ringing of the U-M Startup Bell.

startup bell


When, often after intensive work, a U-M commercialization project arrives at the point where a license is signed, we invite the men and women who brought it to this point to the U-M Tech Transfer offices to tell us about the research underlying the company, the commercialization-related work they’ve done to get the project to this point, and their plans for the future. Ideally, this group includes not only the management team of the newly-launch startup, but the U-M researchers who contributed the underlying technology, and members of the community who have helped to bring the project to this significant milestone. And, after telling us their story, and how they intend to change the world, we ask for one of them to step forward and ring the (incredibly loud) U-M Startup Bell, formally marking the company’s launch from the University of Michigan. This is usually then followed by photos in front of our “Wall of Startups,” the bestowing of plaques, and discussions about how U-M Tech Transfer might continue to be of use to the company as it moves forward, especially as relates to the acquisition of venture capital, the recruitment of key team members, intellectual property strategy, and the coordination of any ongoing research relationships that might exist.

At U-M Tech Transfer, we love our startups, and the people behind them. For each company that launches, there are dozens of people who have contributed mightily, giving freely of their time and talent, in order to ensure that a particular U-M technology has an opportunity to have a positive impact in the world. And, though the ringing of the bell, we’re attempting to recognize those contributions in some small way. It’s a small thing, but it’s an opportunity to step back, reflect on the journey, and note those contributions, and the fact that they do make a difference, not only to Michigan’s economy, but to society in general.