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Updated 10:00 AM June 22, 2009

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Frankel Fund to invest in wind energy

The Frankel Commercialization Fund, a student-managed venture capital seed fund at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, is investing $80,000 in Accio Energy, an Ann Arbor-based developer of an innovative wind energy system.

This marks the fund's fourth investment and the first in a renewable-energy company.

Accio Energy, founded by entrepreneurs Dawn White and David Carmein, has developed a wind energy device that uses charged particles and wind to create electricity. The proprietary "aerovoltaic" technology uses no moving parts and is both highly scalable and cost-effective.

Accio Energy's wind systems meet the need to expand wind energy to more locations, from rural area to urban rooftops. Jeffrey Basch, who has a master's degree from the Ross School, is the company's general manager.

"We are delighted to join the Frankel Fund's CleanTech investment portfolio," says White, Accio Energy's president. "The Frankel Fund's endorsement of our aerovoltaic technology and investment quality is another notable milestone for our transformational wind energy system."

The fund was formed to help accelerate commercialization of technology and the formation of companies at U-M and the surrounding community.

Accio Energy intends to use the Frankel Fund seed money to develop a prototype for use in customer demonstrations and to develop a strong intellectual property portfolio.

"We are excited for the opportunity to invest in Accio Energy," says Theo Ludwick, a member of the fund's CleanTech team. "We believe that Accio Energy has the technology to create and capture a large, new renewable energy market, and is led by an extremely savvy and capable team."

Tom Porter, director of the Frankel Fund and the Ross School's executive-in-residence says, "Accio will be a great addition to our portfolio and we are pleased that we could assist a company that is at the forefront of what we hope will be the next major new industry in Michigan."

The Frankel Fund is organized into student teams that function as independently financed venture capital companies providing early-stage company financing, often known as seed or pre-seed investing. Each student team reports to a board of directors consisting of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, industry experts and CEOs who provide additional mentoring and learning opportunities for the Ross students.

Other students responsible for the Accio investment include Laura Bruce, Siobhan Doherty, Mike Hartley, Nina Henning and Brian Katzman, students at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, a dual master's degree program between the Ross School and the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

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