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Updated 11:00 AM March 6, 2006




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  Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Student-run Frankel Fund ready to invest in startups

The Frankel Commercialization Fund, a new student-run venture capital fund at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, has selected its first two MBA student teams and is looking to invest in early-stage companies.

The teams, one specializing in health-care opportunities and the other in technology, each will have about $60,000 in the first year to use as seed funding for an inventor with an idea or technology that has the potential to become a sizeable and rapidly growing company or product line. The teams also will work closely with the Office of Technology Transfer for University-owned ideas in the process of commercialization.

Members of the technology team include Gregg Hammerman, R.L. Harrison, Carl Timm and Alkinoos Vayanos. The health care team includes Mark Delong, Jafar Hasan, Scott Peterson, Michael Tarasev and Alex Zhu.

"The Frankel Fund will bring together business students interested in new company creation and product commercialization with talented University of Michigan students, faculty and researchers who have great ideas but often lack the experience or knowledge required to get their ideas to the marketplace," says Tom Porter, director of the fund and executive-in-residence at the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. "We are very pleased with the quality and prior experience of the students who have been chosen to participate in this exciting new program."

The Frankel Fund also has formed an advisory board, made up of alumni and supporters of the Ross School who have been successful in developing early-stage companies, markets and technologies, Porter says.

Board members include: Jim Adox, general partner of Ridge Line Ventures; Mary Campbell, managing director of EDF Ventures; Larry Hagerty, former president of Thomson Medstat; Al Kortesoya, former vice president of Critical Technologies Group, Cap Gemini/Ernst & Young; Roger Newton, founder/CEO of Esperion Therapeutics and now director of Esperion Division of Pfizer; Ken Nisbet, director of the U-M Office of Technology Transfer; Chuck Salley, former president of the IT Zone; Lisa Shapiro, president of Shapiro Solutions; Shelby Solomon, president of Etas, North American Division of Bosch; Ron Weiser, founder of McKinley Properties and former ambassador to Slovakia; and Jeff Williams, president and CEO of HandyLabs Inc.

Porter, who has had a successful career as a venture capitalist forming and investing in early-stage technology companies, directs the Frankel Fund Fellows Program. He co-founded Ann Arbor-based EDF Ventures, where he created four companies from technology developed at the University. He also serves on U-M's National Technology Transfer Board and the board of directors for IntraLase Corp.

Companies and individuals interested in funding from the Frankel program must apply by March 15 to be considered for investment by May, and by Oct. 15 to be considered by the end of 2006.

For more information, send questions to or visit To download an application form, see Frankel Fund Application Form. Completed applications, available at, should be sent to

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