Spartan Innovations Venture Fellows

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SPARTAN INNOVATIONS VENTURE FELLOWS PROGRAM

The team at Spartan Innovations provides critical resources and guidance to Michigan State University researchers, faculty, and students, helping to launch their startup companies and commercialize technologies. As a venture creation group, the Spartan Innovations’ team consists of a small core of dedicated professionals with extensive experience in business development, startups, and venture capital.
 

Who Will? Venture Fellows Will.

Program In Review

Spanning the academic year, the Venture Fellows Program acts as a vital link in Michigan State’s tech transfer process. In fact, Venture Fellows provide critical support to the startup process, while receiving invaluable experience within the tech commercialization space.
 
The Venture Fellows program offers access to top-ranked faculty and industry experts, which means Fellows have the opportunity to expand their professional networks while honing their expertise in business plan development and raising capital while refining project management skills.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Each year, Spartan Innovations selects top-tier candidates into the Venture Fellows program. Once selected, fellows become part of several, three-person teams. These teams are comprised of one (1) first- or second-year Broad Business School graduate student (MBA) and two (2) STEM/STEAM PhD students.
 
Across the eight-month-long fellowship, student teams are responsible for the development of a cohesive, viable business plan. Each team’s plan centers on moving a specific technology towards commercialization. By the end of the fellowship, it is expected that each team will have a clear path towards launching their respective technologies as a startup company.

Projects

MBA and PhD students from a range of disciplines and experience levels are encouraged to apply. Venture Fellows projects are selected directly from the pipeline of MSU technologies—all of which are being considered for commercialization. While there may be a general alignment between a fellow’s skill-set and interests, the Venture Fellows team cannot guarantee a complete alignment between a field of study and project assignment.
 
Past projects have included: developing multiple laboratory-grown diamond technologies for industrial applications and consumer jewelry; commercialization of a repurposed drug for the treatment of tuberculosis; medical imaging technology for the advancement of cancer research; product/market definition of a wearable device for measuring human interaction.

Program Objectives

There are two main objectives for the Venture Fellows program: (i) provide an opportunity for MSU graduate students from the sciences and College of Business to gain first-hand business experience in the commercialization of breakthrough technology; (ii) advance the development of MSU technologies with the eventual goal of increasing the number of successful technology startups coming out of the University.

What You Can Expect

Students contribute roughly 8–10 hours per week to the fellowship program. Further, weekly team progress meetings with the Program Advisor, as well as a monthly group meeting, are required. The majority of the work will be team-based, but there may be occasional individual assignments.
 
Qualifying MBA graduate students may be in either the first or second year of their graduate program and have a strong interest in entrepreneurship and technology innovation. (A background in technology is not a pre-requisite in order to be considered for the fellowship or to be an effective team member.) Experience with this and similar programs has shown the best results come when team members are from diverse backgrounds and life experiences.
 
Qualifying PhD students will have completed both their coursework and qualifying exams. Further, these candidates will be at least a year from completing their dissertations. Preference is for students in life sciences, physical sciences, computer science, business, or communications. Please note: Qualifying PhD students must obtain permission from their thesis advisor to participate.

Benefits

Along with the opportunity to refine business and leadership skills, Venture Fellows are paid a fellowship of $6,500 for the eight-month period.

Application & Contact Information

Applications for the 2019/20 Venture Fellows program can be submitted beginning January 2019. For more information, please contact Andy McColm, Venture Fellows Student Director, Spartan Innovations, or call 517.884.4542. 
 

Meet 2018/2019 Cohort of Venture Fellows:

Ali Imani Azad
Salik Aziz
Aaron Chow
Charles Fobbs
Gerry Griffith
Rana Haimout
Tutilo Mudumba
Brian Nohomovich
Sina Parsnejad
Neda Rafat
Joseph Salatino
Di Zhang