Gain real-world experience in venture capital — before you graduate. Invest real dollars in real companies and engage with industry leaders through programs at the Zell Lurie Institute. Prior investment experience not required.

Underwriting the future of innovation.

The Zell Lurie Institute is the place to be for hands-on experience investing, managing, and growing a real venture capital portfolio – before you earn your degree. Since the launch of the first student-led fund in the nation in 1997, the University of Michigan has continued to push the boundaries of experiential learning in the venture investment space. The Institute provides students with the opportunity to develop their investment acumen, round out their industry experience, and grow their networks.

By investing in early-stage startups and supporting alumni entrepreneurs, the student-led funds create a vibrant startup ecosystem on campus and contribute to the growth and success of the global entrepreneurial community.

Expand to see the student-led funds and venture capital competitions available through the Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business. 

Michigan Investment Challenge

Michigan Investment Challenge (MIC) is an investor competition where students play the role of venture capital firms. Student teams evaluate real startup investment options presented by motivated entrepreneurs.

Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund

The Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund (ZLCF) is a student-run early-stage investment fund with the primary goal of identifying promising young startups in the University of Michigan community and surrounding areas and helping them build great companies. As an early-stage fund, ZLCF is often one of the first institutional investors in its portfolio companies.

Wolverine Venture Fund

The Wolverine Venture Fund was founded in 1997. It grew out of a fund established in 1988 by the Regents of the University of Michigan for donors interested in contributing to high-risk, high-return investments. WVF’s mission is to enrich student development by providing education through hands-on experience while acheiving returns on capital. WVF has invested in 30 companies and increased its assets from $2M to $7M through M&A and IPO exits.

Social Venture Fund

The Social Venture Fund (SVF) at the University of Michigan invests in and supports innovative companies that place social or environmental impact at the heart of their business model. SVF provides an unparalleled action-based learning experience, which places equal importance on maximizing financial returns and socially/environmentally-driven venture investing and entrepreneurship.

Zell Early Stage Fund

The Zell Early-Stage Fund’s first investment was $150,000 in Admetsys, a medical device company that has developed an artificial pancreas to help monitor insulin levels for hospital and surgical care. Admetsys helps minimize hospital complications, reduce ICU stay time, and save lives from quick glycemic measurements and calculated insulin administration.

Zell Founders Fund

The Zell Founders Fund is a $10M seed fund, managed by Stewart Thornhill, Executive Director of the Zell Lurie Institute, and an investment review advisory committee comprised of four Michigan Ross students, one student from each of the four remaining ZLI funds. The committee evaluates and invests in extraordinary student entrepreneurs whose business venture needs a helping hand to move from idea to profitability.

I’ll be a future founder and funder, so having these relationships is priceless. An experience like this continues to solidify why I chose to come to Michigan.

George Okpamen

MBA ‘23

George Okpamen, Michigan Ross MBA '23