University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman said Wednesday that the university would begin investing directly in new businesses created from research conducted on its campus. The program, called Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups (MINTS), would provide up to $25 million in early-stage capital over the next 10 years.
The university says eligible start-ups would be companies that have licensed technologies derived from research conducted in faculty labs. MINTS would fund up to to $500,000 in companies that have secured an initial round of equity capital from a qualifying independent venture capital firm.
Coleman noted that the MINTS initiative is not a new expense for the university, but rather a diversification of its investment assets directly into technologies developed by its researchers. “Simply put,” said Coleman, “University of Michigan start-ups are a good financial opportunity.”
The university’s investment advisers, Coleman added, examined start-ups from the university over the past past 20 years. Had the university invested in these start-ups, said Coleman, “the returns would have been healthy. Returns would have been competitive with the returns on our venture capital portfolio.”
* * *