Michigan is experiencing a significant growth in available venture capital and a dramatic change in culture tied to the realization that innovative new and growing companies spawned in our own backyard hold the key to our economic future. The state is using its financial strength to support venture-capital funds and direct grant investments to emerging companies. The University of Michigan is conducting sponsored research at an annual rate of approximately $1.5 billion and is accelerating the pace of research commercialization. As a result of the combined efforts of the state, the U-M, other universities and the private sector, Michigan is making a sustained economic comeback, perhaps slow but certainly steady. And entrepreneurship and venture capital are close to the heart of that renaissance.
At the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance (CVP), we prepare students for local, national and global leadership roles through our finance/entrepreneurial-studies courses in venture capital, private equity, global private equity, financing research commercialization and entrepreneurial finance. To augment classroom materials and lectures, we engage students in actual projects with University researchers, entrepreneurial company founders and U-M alumni who bring live, current deals to class. This first-hand experience immerses students in real situations with real people where they can apply their skills to real challenges in real time. At the CVP, we also conduct scholarly research on global issues. Our recent study of cross-border mergers and acquisitions and private-equity investment in the BRIC countries will be featured in the India Business Conference this October. Our study of private investment in public entities, published in The Review of Financial Studies, is currently the most widely cited work on that topic. Our study of the underlying theory and drivers of venture capital and buyout fundraising is breakthrough research in financial economics.
In May 2011, the CVP-originated Michigan Growth Capital Symposium celebrated its 30th year, further burnishing its image as the centerpiece for early stage venture-capital investment and entrepreneurial activity in Michigan. Over the past three decades, the annual gathering has grown in quality and success by attracting increasing numbers of venture capitalists, institutional investors, practicing entrepreneurs and corporate sponsors. The Global Private Equity Conference, which focuseson later-stage investment capital and harvests, entered its sixth year in 2011. We continue to realize tremendous enthusiasm for the Alan Gelband Public-to-Private Buyout Competition, a head-to-head challenge between two top teams from our Private Equity MBA class selected by a panel of private-equity judges.
One of the greatest advantages of the CVP, the Zell Lurie Institute and the Ross School of Business is that former students — such as Jeff Blau, BBA ’90, president of The Related Companies and benefactor of the School’s Blau Auditorium, David Evans, AB ’85, founder of Glencoe Capital and benefactor of the University of Michigan, Alan Gelband, BBA’65, MBA ’67, founder of Gelband Investment Company, and Naimish Patel, BBA ’97, an investment partner in Long Point Capital — cycle back to the University throughout their careers, along with a host of other graduates who participate in CVP-supported and other courses in our programs. Their ongoing interest and engagement greatly enrich our overall educational environment.