Ventures

Student-run ventures are prime examples of the impact of U-M’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. These ventures by U-M students and a few recent grads span multiple disciplines and models—from for-profit businesses to nonprofit organizations to innovative products with market potential—and the university is helping nurture their journeys from idea to execution.

Each venture falls into one of three categories: START (S)—in the beginning stages, determining market potential; LAUNCH (L)—creating prototypes, defining customers, and developing teams; and GROW (G)—ready to deliver innovative products or services, looking for investment, and planning for success.

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  • Dear Black Women
    SLG

    Dear Black Women is an affirmation movement and social network for black women by black women. Dear Black women curates affirming spaces offline and online for black women to connect, heal and excel.

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    “Black women were so hungry for affirming spaces that fortified them and equipped them with the insights and tools they needed to better navigate their lives. This realization armed me with the conviction that the need for Dear Black Women is very real and inspired me to push forward with exploring all the ways that Dear Black Women can do its work. It is necessary work. And we are worth it!”— Florence Noel

    At the intersection of race and gender, black women face singular challenges in all major facets of life, including political participation; employment and earnings; work and family; poverty and opportunity; health and well-being; and violence and safety. As a result, black women often endure inadequate support and resources, leading to feelings of isolation, compromised self-worth and stymied self-actualization. Dear Black Women (DBW) was created to help address this widespread problem by creating online and offline networks that leverage the expertise, resources, wisdom and #BlackGirlMagic of black women all over the country.

    Zell Lurie Institute Entrepreneurial Advising, Founders Fund, Commercialization Fund, Dare to Dream and Marcel Gani Grants; TechArb Student Venture Accelerator; School of Information Field Award; The Weiser Family MBA Entrepreneur of the Year Award

    Photo Credit: Ifeyinwa Arinze


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  • Peerstachio
    SLG

    Peerstachio is a peer-to-peer learning and social networking website for undergraduate college students and high school seniors transitioning into college.

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    "Despite investing over 20,000 hours in academic learning during high school, students still face many academic and student-life challenges in college, leading to a subpar college experience that causes lack of motivation and college unpreparedness, resulting in many students eventually dropping-out or failing."— Scarlett Ong Rui Chern

    Peerstachio is a peer-to-peer learning and social networking website for undergraduate college students and high school seniors transitioning into college. Students will be able to ask and discuss their academic and student-life topics safely, responsively and relevantly via self-generated usernames—through an open, instant-messaging discussion platform. Students can also connect and build diverse peer-mentor relationships to support them throughout their educational journey.

    Minor in Entrepreneurship; Zell Lurie Institute Entrepreneurship Advising, Michigan Business Challenge, Dare to Dream Grants, Marcel Gani Internships Program; Michigan Law Entrepreneurship Clinic; Entrepreneurship and Venture Club; Michigan Advertising and Marketing Club; Office of Academic Innovation


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  • Adelie
    SLG

    Adelie empowers women and men to take control of their parental leave, without having to rely solely on a manager or HR business partner.

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    “Adelie penguins are a species with strong parental instincts. The parents take turns watching their young and fishing for food. These penguins embody everything we hope to achieve with Adelie – supporting mothers and fathers through the parental leave process and empowering them to move forward in their careers.”

    Adelie is developing a digital platform to seamlessly manage parental leave for expectant mothers and fathers, reducing the stress and emotional burden placed disproportionately on women.

    Seigle Impact Track—Small Giants Positive Organizing Award, sponsored by Small Giants Community and the Center for Positive Organizations; placed 4th in Seigle Impact Track; Michigan Business Challenge Showcase Award


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  • Clot Buster
    SLG

    Clot Buster is developing a medical device to safely and rapidly remove clots for stroke treatment.

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    Clot retrieval treatment increases the chances of a good outcome following a stroke by over 50%

    Clot Buster develops a medical device to safely and rapidly remove clot for treatment of vessel occlusion-caused diseases, including but not limited to stroke.

    Overall winner of the 2018 Michigan Business Challenge; Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business; U-M Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program


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  • Alternate Reality Initiative
    SLG

    Alternate Reality Initiative (ARI) is an organization designed to educate and unite students interested in learning about virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.

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    “We want to empower other students to build experiences and be prepared for the virtual, augmented, and mixed reality industries.”— Michael Zhang

    Alternate Reality Initiative (ARI) is an organization designed to educate and unite students interested in learning about virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. ARI educates people about the resources available on campus that can help students craft their own vision, and connect them to the greater VR/AR/MR industry ecosystem. ARI’s goal is to establish a community of students interested in these technologies and provide them with the foundational knowledge to then pursue their own goals with virtual, augmented, or mixed reality.

    optiMize Cohort VI


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  • WeListen
    SLG

    WeListen fosters small-group discussion between unlikely conversants to change the American political climate—campus by campus.

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    “Learning about issues turns into caring about issues, which is the catalyst for political activism.”

    WeListen aims to create a space on campus where people who disagree can have productive conversation about politics, in person, offline, and without debate. To ameliorate polarization on campus, WeListen has hosted six small group discussions on issues ranging from free speech and gun control, to immigration and the death penalty. WeListen hopes that these discussions will foster understanding between groups that don’t often interact.

    OptiMize Cohort VI


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  • ValCycle
    SLG

    ValCycle is an end-to-end platform connecting overstocked merchants to community organizations that can repurpose their inventory.

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    “Some well-run non-profits are already effectively intersecting reverse supply chains. ValCycle augments this space by centrally coordinating overstock transfers and empowering a far larger number of community organizations to benefit.” — Joseph Lacy

    ValCycle is an end-to-end platform connecting overstocked merchants to community organizations that can repurpose their inventory. ValCycle creates value in two ways: generating resources for social benefit programs, and reducing environmental waste. The platform assists community organizations in fundraising and accessing useful merchandise, all while reducing product waste and empowering those organizations.

    OptiMize Cohort VI

    Photo Credit: Azba Gurm


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  • Univentures
    SLG

    Univentures is a networking and skills-sharing web platform where U-M students across disciplines can easily connect and collaborate together on projects.

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    "Students want to connect with their peers, but there’s no easy way to do it. Whether it’s coding prototypes, fleshing out business models, or just finding like-minded team members, Univentures will help." – Young Eun Kim

    Students are constantly seeking help from their peers, but they generally use a scattershot approach that is time-consuming and often unsuccessful, especially when looking for people in other programs. Univentures networking and skill-sharing web platform enables U-M students across disciplines to easily connect and collaborate together on projects.

    School of Information Design Clinic, Zell Lurie Institute Dare to Dream and Mayleben Venture Shaping Grants, School of Public Health Innovation in Action


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  • TMPL
    SLG

    TMPL is a premium, natural product line whose products are made from the highest quality ingredients and have never been tested on animals.

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    Along with serving their customers through their product line, TMPL also strives to give back to the community through its ‘Menternship’ program.

    TMPL is a premium, natural product line whose products are made from the highest quality ingredients and have never been tested on animals. In addition to this product line, TMPL also facilitates a ‘Menternship’—a combined mentoring and internship program. TMPL’s ‘Menternship’ program is an intensive 8-week program designed to teach high school girls about brand and business development while simultaneously refining them as young women of excellence through one-on-one mentoring.

    BLI Small Grant; Minor in Entrepreneurship, Innovate Blue


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  • The Guild Poetry
    SLG

    The Guild Poetry is an organization that organizes poetry workshops and showcases to promote youth literacy and empowerment in Detroit.

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    “We promote dialogue about important issues like race, equality, and poverty on a college campus, where it is hard for students of color and minorities to voice their experiences that are different from the mainstream narrative.”

    The Guild Poetry comprises of a group of poets that have developed an unapologetic approach to poetrypresenting diverse stories and voices to craft commentary that is relevant, relatable and urgent in today’s political climate. The Guild Poetry brings poetry to youth in high schools and encourages them to use their voices, in addition to developing and putting on poetry workshops to teach them how to embrace their unique experiences and struggles.

    optiMize Cohort VI

    Photo Credit: Azba Gurm


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