Professor Peter Adriaens returns to School of Engineering

After eight years, Professor Peter Adriaens’s appointment at the Zell Lurie Institute and the Ross School of Business will end this summer. He will become a full-time faculty member at the College of Engineering and dedicate time to growing two fintech startups he is affiliated with: Equarius Risk Analytics in New York and KeyStone Compact Group, Ltd. in London.

Prof. Adriaens joined ZLI in 2006 as a sabbatical appointment at a time when entrepreneurship at U-M was starting to grow exponentially, and tech transfer was looking for broader engagement of faculty and students in shaping new ventures.

During his tenure with ZLI, Prof. Adriaens has contributed in many valuable ways:

  • Inspired the cleantech teams at the Wolverine and the former Frankel (Zell Commercialization) Funds as a result of a cleantech investment workshop he organized in 2007 (sponsored by ZLI) that brought together engineering professors and Ross alum investors
  • Was a member of the original formation board of the Center for Entrepreneurship in 2008
  • Educated over 700 science and engineering students in business entrepreneurship and cleantech ventures since 2007
  • Together with Tim Faley, developed the trademarked KeyStone Compact method, a business assessment and venture development tool for startups. It has attracted over $2 million in external R&D funding from Ford Motor Company, the Finnish Innovation Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the NCIIA (National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance—now called VentureWell) to analyze emerging industry clusters and design multi-asset renewal funds for institutional investors such as pension funds. It has also been leveraged by a broad group of engineering and MBA students in the American Jobs Project to develop an investable roadmap for industrial renewal in 10 manufacturing states
  • Advised a diverse group of Erb Institute and MBA students on “business water risk,” an area of research that led to new risk metrics and business opportunities with partners such as MSCI, Goldman, and Trucost
  • Collaborated with colleagues and students on business modeling and designs for investability, including the recent $3 million 3rd Millennium Energy-Food-Water Innovation Challenge
  • Mentored four engineering PhD students and many MS/MBA students who participated in the Dare to Dream grant program, the Michigan Business Challenge, and other ZLI activities that have sent teams nationwide.

“In the entrepreneurial space, it is often said that innovation opportunities are found at the intersection of disciplines,” Prof. Adriaens wrote. “They also exist on the edge of activities we regard as separate for appointment tracking purposes: teaching, research and service. A teaching approach becomes a student advising service and a new business activity, the activity stimulates new intellectual depth in research, and the research is translated in industrial or investment policy designs. I hope the ZLI will continue engaging in strategic endeavors with cross-appointments.”

We’d like to thank Prof. Adriaens for his years of service and for all he’s done for the Zell Lurie Institute, and especially his students. We wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.

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