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University of Michigan's Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund Makes Two Investments

Pre-seed investments made in Michigan-based AdAdapted and AlertWatch

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Michigan's Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business today announced that its student managed Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund has made two investments. The fund provided pre-seed investments to healthcare startup AlertWatch and ad tech start up AdAdapted. The collective investments total $90,000 and closed in November 2013 and January 2014, respectively. The deals mark the latest in a series of successful investments by the fund (formerly the Frankel Fund), which includes Accio Energy, Ambiq Micro and Are You A Human in its portfolio.

The Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund is a student-led, pre-seed investment fund established to identify and accelerate the commercialization of ideas generated within the University community and the surrounding area. A team of 25 graduate students manage the fund and are organized into four investment teams - health care, technology, consumer and cleantech investments. Each team may invest up to $100,000 per investment (in multiple installments) in entrepreneurial ideas with great potential and a vision for the future. The process provides action-based educational experience for MBA and other graduate students in early stage company formation and evaluation. The Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund is part of a trifecta of student-led venture funds offered at Ross, including the pioneering Wolverine Venture Fund and Social Venture Fund.

"The Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund is as close to a real-world investing experience as any MBA student could possibly receive," said Stewart Thornhill, director of the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund and executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute. "Both of these investments demonstrate the strength of the local startup scene and represent the power of the greater U-M community to foster growth within the region. AlertWatch and AdAdapted both have tremendous promise to transform their respective industries and deliver a return on our investments."

U-M Spinout AlertWatch Aims to Increase Patient Safety
AlertWatch, Inc. is an Ann Arbor-based spinoff from the University of Michigan Health System that produces clinical decision support systems for hospitals. Founded in 2011, AlertWatch simplifies patient monitoring with intuitive products for operating rooms and intensive care units by displaying vital data to doctors in an easy-to-understand format that could help increase patient safety. AlertWatch was founded by Dr. Kevin Tremper and is led by CEO Justin Adams, a University of Michigan BSEE '01 and MBA '09.

"The Fund's investment in AlertWatch is a great example of the immense talent available here in the Ann Arbor area.  Not only do we have top notch technologies being developed here at The University of Michigan, but we also have management teams capable of growing and developing very impressive companies," said Chris Doughty, MBA '14 and the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund student lead on the deal. "The opportunities for venture capital investments in Ann Arbor are immense and will continue to attract attention from venture capital firms around the country."

AlertWatch's close ties to the Ann Arbor area, their strong management team and the potential return on the Fund's investment make it an ideal investment. The Fund became aware of AlertWatch through its close relationship with U-M's Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), which also proved to be a valuable source of information during the due diligence process.  Since the investment was made in late 2013, AlertWatch has made significant progress on pilot testing, co-marketing partnerships and data showing improved health outcomes, and the company learned this month that it has achieved FDA 510k approval status, one of the key milestones outlined in the Fund's deal with AlertWatch.

Doughty also noted the benefits of the valuable educational experience from working on the Fund's investment. "As a student, I found the opportunity to work closely on a deal to be an extremely valuable experience. While conducting due diligence is critical when evaluating a deal, the investment team's relationship with the company is even more important. My biggest takeaways from this experience are to make sure you work well with the management team of the company you're investing in and to remember why you're investing.  If you believe in the company and its management team, your investment will be successful."

AdAdapted to Transform In-App Mobile Advertising
Ann Arbor-based AdAdapted offers a platform that automates the native advertising model for advertisers that want to reach mobile app users via dynamic, customizable, non-disruptive, product placement opportunities within mobile games and apps. With AdAdapted, advertisers can launch scalable, trackable, custom branded campaigns across a wide variety of apps without duplicating efforts with each publisher.  

The investment in AdAdapted marks the Zell Commercialization Fund's first investment in the rapidly-growing ad tech sector and was led by Ray Gallagher, MBA '14. Prior to this round, the year-old start-up received financing from the Michigan Micro Loan Fund in October 2012 and won the first place award of $2,000 in the New Business Ideas category of the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest business plan competition at ACE '13.

Companies and individuals interested in obtaining funding from the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund may find additional details about the application process on the Institute's website at  

About the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
The Institute and its Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance bring together a potent mix of knowledge, experience and opportunities from the front lines of entrepreneurship and alternative investments. The student learning experience is further enhanced through internships, entrepreneurial clubs and events that serve to provide viable networks and engage the business community. The School's three student-led investment funds, with over $6.5M under management, immerse students in the business assessment and investment process. Founding Board Members include Samuel Zell, Chairman of Equity Group Investments and Eugene Applebaum, Founder of Arbor Drugs, Inc. For more information, visit the Institute at

About the Stephen M. Ross School of Business
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a vibrant and distinctive learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today's dynamic global economy. The Ross School of Business mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.

Ross is consistently ranked among the world's leading business schools. Academic degree programs include an MBA, Part-time MBA (Evening and Weekend formats), Executive MBA, Global MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, Master of Entrepreneurship, Master of Management, BBA, and PhD. In addition, the school delivers open-enrollment and custom executive education programs targeting general management, leadership development, and strategic human resource management.

SOURCE Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

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