AudioCode, DrankBank.com, Footnotes, Ritmosim, Shutterhub and StudentKit represent the latest crop of promising opportunities for business ventures generated by U-M student teams from the Ross School of Business, College of Engineering, School of Medicine and other academic units. Through the new Mayleben Family Venture Shaping Grant program, these teams each received $500 in funding to take the next step in transforming their good ideas into great businesses.
“I’ve helped to fund start-up companies as an angel investor, so I know where the gaps and challenges lie for new ventures,” says Tim M. Mayleben, BBA ’84, the CEO and president of Aastrom Biosciences in Ann Arbor. “That cumulative knowledge and experience, coupled with my own business success over the years, put me in the position to give back to the people who have helped to shape my career.” Mayleben and his wife, Dawn, made their gift to the University in fall 2011, and the grant program started in January 2012.
Over the past 20 years, Mayleben has built a successful track record as an investor in promising early-stage businesses. Before joining Aastrom Biosciences in 2005, he headed his own advisory and investment firm, ElMa Advisors, where he worked closely with the founders and management teams of life-science and health-care companies. Earlier, he was president, COO and a director of NightHawk Radiology Holdings Inc. Mayleben also served as the COO of Esperion Therapeutics, and led the raising of more than $200 million in venture capital and institutional equity funding. He later negotiated the acquisition of Esperion by Pfizer in 2004.
“The Zell Lurie Institute plays a leading role in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus, and I like the more-scientific approach they are taking to creating start-ups,” says Mayleben, who is a member of the Wolverine Venture Fund Advisory Board and gives occasional guest lectures on research commercialization at the Ross School. “This additional grant funding allows student entrepreneurs with limited resources to develop their ideas more fully. As a result, the start-ups they launch will be much stronger, well-reasoned and well-tested. And they will be more successful in attracting angel and venture-capital investors.”