University of Michigan and KPMG Unveil 2016 QuantumShift Graduates

First annual entrepreneur recognition and leadership program seeks to help highly successful entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, today announced graduates of QuantumShift, a week-long entrepreneurial development program recognizing successful entrepreneurs and executives of U.S. high-growth private companies.

“No matter how much business experience an individual has – and those selected for this year’s program are among the most knowledgeable in the country – the need and importance of reinvigorating the entrepreneurial spirit is never-ending,” said Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “The business leaders who participated in this year’s program were able to learn from each other by sharing their own unique experiences and walked away with a refreshed ability to take their already successful organizations to the next level.”

QuantumShift is a collaborative project between KPMG LLP and the Ross School of Business. Unlike other recognition-only entrepreneurial development programs, QuantumShift is rooted in sustained learning, networking and collaboration. The program provides an opportunity for participants to learn from a wealth of talented professionals – including distinguished Ross School of Business faculty members – and offers graduates access to the Fellows Network, an exclusive peer-to-peer network focused on ongoing problem solving, development and mentorship.

Zell Lurie University of Michigan Ross QuantumShiftThe diverse class of participants represents some of the top entrepreneurs and executives in the country. As a group, the participants’ organizations average $62 million in revenue and have a combined total revenue of $2.4 billion. Together, they have a three-year growth rate of 149 percent, and more than half of the executives were named to the 2015 Inc. 5000 list.

“We were blown away by the expertise and knowledge the inaugural QuantumShift class brought to this year’s program,” said Brian Hughes, national leader of KPMG LLP’s Private Markets Group. “We’ll continue to follow these gifted business leaders throughout their careers, and are looking forward to watching each of their enterprises reach new levels of success.”

The following participated in this year’s QuantumShift program, held May 1-6, 2016 at the University of Michigan:

  • Manoj Agarwal, CEO, US Tech Solutions
  • Jason Albanese, CEO, Centric Digital
  • Bruce Ballengee, CEO, Pariveda Solutions, Inc.
  • John P. Borneman, Ph.D., CEO and chairman, Standard Homeopathic Company and Hyland’s, Inc.
  • Lauren Boyer, CEO, Underscore Marketing
  • Vance Brown, CEO and co-founder, Cherwell Software
  • Ricky Caplin, CEO, The HCi Group
  • Jaswinder S. Chadha, CEO, Axtria, Inc.
  • Oni Chukwu, CEO and president, etouches, Inc
  • Ryan J.Q. Clark, CEO, PeopleShare, Inc
  • Megan Driscoll, CEO and founder, PharmaLogics Recruiting
  • R. Gregory Eisner, president, Engineers Gate
  • Sloan D. Gaon, CEO, PulsePoint
  • Nick Gesue, CEO, Lancaster Pollard
  • Dinesh Gulati, CEO and managing director, IIT, Inc.
  • Avi Gupta, CEO and founder, SmartZip Analytics
  • Vinita A. Gupta, co-CEO and founder, Apex Resources, Inc.
  • Oisin Hanrahan, CEO and co-founder, Handy
  • Mike Harris, CEO, Zonoff
  • Joe Hessling, CEO, 365 Retail Markets
  • Sylvester Hester, CEO and president, Global Automotive Alliance
  • Craig Hubbell, CEO, PlayNetwork
  • Jay Kulkarni, CEO, Theorem Inc.
  • Carl Joyner, CEO, TRIOSE, Inc.
  • Michael Kaiser, CEO, People’s Care
  • E. Davon Kelly, CEO and president, NOVAD Management Consulting LLC
  • James Kilkelly, CEO, Apto Solutions, Inc.
  • Wan Kim, CEO and Brand Owner, Smoothie King Franchises
  • Tony Knopp, CEO, TicketManager, Inc.
  • Amy V. Kothari, CEO, My Alarm Center
  • Paulo Lima, co-founder and president, IT Cosmetics
  • Peggy McHale, principal, Consultants 2 Go
  • Abdul K Naushad, CEO, PayCommerce Inc.
  • Jeff Nelson, CEO and president, Healogics, Inc.
  • Chris Onan, co-founder and CFO, Galvanize
  • Eric Schweiger, M.D, CEO and founder, Schweiger Dermatology Group
  • Gary Solomon, Jr., president, Solomon Group
  • Timothy W. Wallace, CEO, iPipeline, Inc.
  • Wade Wyant, CEO and president, ITS Partners

Zell Lurie University of Michigan Ross QuantumShift

This year’s QuantumShift participants were vetted through a nomination and application process beginning in September 2015. To qualify, candidates must be the founder, owner and/or CEO of a private, U.S. company and have a meaningful personal stake in their companies’ success. Their companies must be private, have an established revenue base, show a strong record of revenue growth and have a clear objective of continued growth. A final list of qualified nominees was reviewed by the Michigan Ross QuantumShift Admissions Committee, with the top 40 candidates selected for admission to the program.

Following completion of QuantumShift, graduates become members of the QuantumShift Fellows Network, a business support association providing them with opportunities to convene with fellow peers at scheduled in-person regional events and an annual National Fellows Conference.

To learn more about the 2016 QuantumShift graduates, visit and follow #QuantumShiftUS on Twitter.


Entrepreneurship Course 2016 – Biomedical Commercialization

Entrepreneur BioMedicine Univeristy of MichiganAre you thinking about a career in healthcare consulting, investment banking, private equity or in-house business development? Or do you wish to join a healthcare product development and commercialization team in an established or an early-stage company?

If you are considering these options, you might find this interdisciplinary course from ZLI (ES 720) a worthwhile career booster or simply interesting. The class was developed at Johns Hopkins and is taught Winter A on Mondays, 6:30-9:30p.m.

Registration is open to MBA students and to graduate students in medicine, bioengineering, pharmacy, life sciences, law, public health, and health management.

The course is taught by ZLI Associate Director and Clinical Assistant Professor Eric Gordon. Professor Gordon’s areas of interest are entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, the biomedical industry (pharmaceuticals, devices and biotechnology), venture capital, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and digital and mobile marketing. He also is a professor at the School of Law. He has served as an adviser or co-founder to numerous companies.

For more information email: (Erik Gordon)

Len Middleton featured on CBS Sunday Morning

Len Middleton, professor of corporate strategy, international business and entrepreneurship, appeared on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend to talk about athletes who mismanage their fortunes. He appears in the segment talking about a new business class he teaches geared directly toward young, future professional athletes on how to manage their money so they don’t go broke by the time they retire. Prof. Middleton attributes this to the lottery effect: the feeling that they’ve won the lottery when they sign their contracts. The correlation between the athletes who spend all of their money is a lack of knowledge. Prof. Middleton says, “It’s not rocket science; it’s not hard to learn. It’s just being exposed to it.” Athletes who have recently taken this class include Zach Nagelvoort (NHL) and Christian Covington (NFL).

You can watch the full video segment on CBS News here and read the full article here.

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.

Entrepreneurial Ventures Course Offered to EMBA Students

The Institute is once again raising the standard in entrepreneurial education and action-based learning by offering a new course, EMBA 606 – Entrepreneurial Ventures, which will enable participants to sharpen their ability to find and evaluate opportunities for a new venture, as well as to think creatively and solve problems in highly unstructured situations. Back by popular demand after its trial offering, the course is available to executive MBA (EMBA) students in the 2015 winter term.

Taught by Professor Len Middleton, the course will cover a broad range of topics essential to leading entrepreneurial ventures, including idea generation, feasibility analysis, starting a company, raising capital, building a business plan, attracting a team, preparing for growth, corporate innovation and buying a business. During the course, teams will develop a feasibility and business model with a venture capital pitch presentation. The course will draw on a broad selection of readings, class lectures and discussions, case studies, guest speakers and videos.

“CEOs today are worried about keeping up with the changing business world – they want to work with entrepreneurs to feed the innovation beast,” said Len Middleton, faculty member in the Strategy and Entrepreneurial Studies department at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. “Most corporations are looking for individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset who can create and build new products and services in order to stay competitive – this new mindset will require EMBAs to have entrepreneurial skills. This course will help executives develop skills that will help them compete in an agile, creative workforce, whether it’s in their own ventures or as part of an established organization.”

Ross student leverages entrepreneurial EMBA course
Dr. Ali Safiedine, EMBA ’14 and a student of the initial Entrepreneurial Ventures course, currently serves as CEO of NEMO Capital Partners. Prior to the course, Safiedine invested in a distressed electronic health record (EHR) and revenue management company that was on the verge of shutting down and leaving thousands of physicians in the lurch. He and his business partners had to move very quickly, and became a sponsor company of Ross’ Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP), where students of the course worked side by side with Middleton and Safiedine to devise a business plan for the company.

“As both the EMBA student and the CEO of the sponsored company, I experienced a very unique situation where I was encouraged to learn and lead at the same time,” Safiedine said. “My biggest take away from the course – aside from the invaluable business planning help my partners and I received – was the confidence it instilled in me. Because of my work with Ross, I feel more self assured in my business decisions and capabilities as a leader.”

There are currently 83 students enrolled in the 2015 winter course. For more information about the course, please view the Ross course list.

Launch of the Reverse Innovation Course to Bring New Mobility Solutions to Market

We are once again pioneering entrepreneurial education and action-based learning by offering a new course, Reverse Innovation, that will give students hands-on experience helping leading companies develop and bring new innovations to market. The course will take students through the process of reverse innovation – a backward flow of ideation from entrepreneurs and small businesses in China,India and other developing countries and emerging economies to large companies in the United States. Students this semester will get real-world experience going through the process by studying and applying scalable, energy-efficient mobility systems that have been deployed in countries around the world. The course is funded by the University’s Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation (SMART) Program with the support of the Alcoa Foundation, as well as the Ford Motor Company and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), a private organization that funds and trains faculty and student innovators to create successful, socially beneficial businesses.

The Zell Lurie Institute is the first institution in the nation to integrate reverse innovation into its entrepreneurial coursework, with 18 multi-disciplinary teams participating, representing 40 scientists and engineers, as well as 25 MBAs. To gather data for the course, the Institute and SMART sent joint MBA-MS students from the University’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and a student video team around the world to document mobility trends and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Gigabytes of data including interviews and video footage have been collected, with the goal of extracting salient socio-economic differences in how innovation in mobility is being addressed outside of the U.S. The findings and analysis will form the basis for the fall-term course project, which will engage SMART e(ntrepreneurship)-teams in the development of technology prototypes and entrepreneurial business models in the New Mobility area.

“This course is a perfect example of the collaborative, action-based learning that we find so important for our entrepreneurial students here at the University,” said Peter Adriaens, professor of entrepreneurship at the Ross School of Business. “It is designed to get students involved in thinking outside of what’s out there today, bringing a new level of innovation to the concept of transportation as we know it. By taking their budding ideas and vetting them, getting them funded and getting prototypes created, this type of hands-on course gives students the experience they need as they pursue business outside of the university setting.”

Realizing the growing movement away from traditional transportation trends, the course is largely motivated by public companies like Ford who are exploring how innovations that occur in the developing countries, in the absence of a legacy infrastructure, can help spur ideas for products in the U.S. Three of the concepts devised by students in this course, eV Score, ChargeMyCarNow and Bar2Bar Transportation, have also received funding through Dare to Dream Assessment and Mayleben Venture Shaping grants – the University’s program that moves students through the business creation process by offering business development seminars and awarding grants to individuals and student teams – thanks to SMART and the Alcoa Foundation. All student teams in the course are encouraged to apply for these types of grants, which will be awarded again in the spring.

“Our industry is about to go through a major transformation, driven by a confluence of market factors including new technologies and changing demographics,” said Erica Klampfl, future mobility manager, Ford research and innovation. “We’re exploring how advancements in mobility occur in developing countries and researching whether such solutions could be leveraged here. We’re really looking forward to seeing what these talented students come up with.”   

“The movement away from car ownership and towards more sustainable, multi-modal, IT enabled systems is already happening globally and parts of the U.S. are trying to catch up to the trend,” said Sue Zielinski, managing director of SMART. “Consider all of the apps that are being created for taxi hailing, ride sharing, fare payment, new service models, and more. Since 2006 SMART has been pioneering the advancement of the emerging New Mobility industry and entrepreneurial space (including launching its global Mobi Prize in 2012 with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation). When the Zell Lurie Institute brought the idea of a course to our attention, we knew it would be a great opportunity to work with the University’s bright MBA students to help solve mobility issues plaguing the transportation industry.”

To read the full press release visit here

Zell Entrpreneurship and Law Program Creates Entrepreneurial Synergy

In January, the new Zell Entrepreneurship And Law (ZEAL) program, funded by the Institute’s co-benefactor Sam Zell, JD ’66, debuted at the U-M Law School, and in June, Erik Gordon, faculty advisor of the Wolverine Venture Fund, was named ZEAL’s first director. The program’s new Entrepreneurship Clinic now offers U-M student entrepreneurs free legal counsel on structuring start-up companies. It also creates entrepreneurial synergies that are resonating across the University campus.

“This is a major milestone, and we’re thrilled about it,” Faley says. “ZEAL is a wonderful opportunity for both business and law students to learn from each other.” Through the Entrepreneurship Clinic, law students, working under the supervision of faculty who are experienced attorneys, learn to counsel new businesses about corporate and LLC structure, partnership agreements, intellectual-property assignments, and other matters. Student entrepreneurs from the Ross School and the broader U-M entrepreneurial community, in turn, gain a deeper understanding of the legal issues and documentation involved in new-venture formation and venture-capital investments.

“By working together, the Zell Lurie Institute and ZEAL are creating a powerhouse of entrepreneurship that strengthens the University’s entrepreneurial ecology,” says Gordon, whose personal background spans law and business. “This collaboration ensures student entrepreneurs receive proper legal guidance at the very beginning of new-venture creation and avoid a tangle of legal complications down the road. The partnership also opens a new avenue for law students who want to become involved in entrepreneurship.”

To read the full report, click here.