2015 Schedule
Interactive: March 13–17  •  Film: March 13–21  •  Music: March 17–22

Science Project: Venture Ready Outside the Valley

Saturday, March 14
11:00AM - 12:00PM

Hilton Austin Downtown
Salon B
500 E 4th St


It is difficult to take early scientific research from universities and turn it into viable companies. The difficulty increases dramatically when the activity is taking place outside the venture capital epicenters of San Francisco/Valley or Boston, or places where resources are limited, such as the Midwest. Using the success of the University of Michigan as a case study, this panel will discuss how to take science projects (research) and leverage internal funding, regional and national talent, and the local ecosystem to turn them into sustainable, fundable ventures.

The University of Michigan resides in Ann Arbor, a town of 110,000 people, squarely in the fly-over zone of the Midwest. Yet it has launched, on average, more than ten startups a year for the past 15 years. Since 1985, roughly 75 percent of University of Michigan startups are still active, including M&A. These startups have raised over one billion in equity financing in the last 10 years.


#sxsw #SpinOut


Lora Kerr


University of Michigan

Ms. Kerr is currently a Mentor-in-Residence at the University of Michigan where she helps faculty and staff start companies with a greater focus on healthcare IT startups. Ms. Kerr has over 20 year...

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Michael Psarouthakis

Sr Venture Specialist

University of Michigan

Michael focuses on new company formation based on the physical sciences IP discovered and developed at the University of Michigan. He has over 21 years of venture fund management, entrepreneurial a...

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Wesley Huffstutter



Wesley manages the Catalyst Resource Network and student entrepreneurship for University of Michigan's Tech Transfer office. In this role he works on entrepreneurial ecosystem development and find...

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