Investment

MSU Launches Student Venture Capital Fund Within Broad College of Business

Contact(s): Aaryn RichardCaroline Brooks

A new partnership between Red Cedar Ventures — the wholly owned venture investment subsidiary of the Michigan State University Foundation — and the Center for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance, or CVCPEEF, is now delivering venture funding experiences directly into the classroom.

Launched in Spring 2019, students taking Entrepreneurial Finance will get a taste of the risks and rewards associated with venture capital investment. Moreover, startup companies within MSU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will get a chance to receive funding up to $50,000.

"Students taking Entrepreneurial Finance can now put the principles learned in the classroom into practice," said Zsuzsanna Fluck, associate professor of finance and director of the CVCPEEF. "Working with MSU startups, students will conduct assessments and due diligence into emerging startups here on campus. This is experiential learning at its finest."

Entrepreneurial Finance students are already hard at work conducting investment evaluations on over 20 startup dossiers, many of which are competing in this week's Burgess New Venture Challenge. At an event on April 26th, the Student Venture Capital Fund will deliver its final investment evaluations and award venture funding to its top picks.

The Student Venture Capital Fund’s dollars come directly from Red Cedar Ventures, which will execute and hold student investment recommendations within the company’s portfolio.

"Since 2016, Red Cedar Ventures has been building a portfolio that champions some of the most promising technologies and startups coming out of Michigan State University," said Jeff Wesley, executive director of Red Cedar Ventures and who will serve entrepreneurial finance students as a key investment mentor. "This collaboration supports our students by providing a richer experiential learning opportunity, lending depth to their understanding of the venture capital landscape."

The Student Venture Capital Fund will continue seeing new investment opportunities generated by activity within the MSU Hatch, the startup incubator exclusive to MSU student entrepreneurs. Today, the MSU Hatch serves hundreds of student members in its three-stage, milestone-based program. With over sixty startup companies in the Hatch program’s final “Launch” stage alone, the Student Venture Capital Fund will have a growing pipeline of companies into which dollars can be deployed.

"At the CVCPEEF, we focus on four core values to help drive the industry forward: research, education, outreach, and collaboration,” said Fluck. “The Student Venture Capital Fund is vital to driving student learning.”

MVCA Exclusive Q&A: Red Cedar Ventures Executive Director, Jeff Wesley

In January, Jeff Wesley was named the executive director of Red Cedar Ventures! Prior to joining Red Cedar Ventures, he was the CEO of Two Men and Truck International. He also served as the President of Accu-Bite Dental Supply, after beginning his career at Deloitte. Wesley has significant experience in leading and scaling private companies to record success.

In this exclusive guest post, Wesley shares what the firm looks for when investing in a startup and why he’s bullish about the future of Red Cedar Ventures.