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Wolverine Venture Fund's First-Ever IPO!

10/7/04 - Message from Tim Faley, Managing Director

I have the privilege of sharing great news - the MBA student-led Wolverine Venture Fund has its first IPO! IntraLase Corporation, The WVF's very first investment, announced at 6:30 p.m. eastern time yesterday (October 6, 2004) that their shares will begin trading on the NASDAQ exchange (ILSE) at an initial offering price of $13/share. Since the Fund's shares are included in the initial offering, that share price will return over $1 million to the WVF.

The Fund's initial investment in IntraLase occurred in May 1998. Tom Porter, EDF Ventures' champion for this deal, was kind enough to present this opportunity to the newly-created WVF. Thank-you Tom! Beyond the initial investment, the Fund has participated in three additional follow-on investment rounds with IntraLase; one each in 1999, 2000, and 2001.

As the first investment of the WVF, every one of the 75 MBA student board members (including the present members) and the four BBA students that participated in the WVF over the years have engaged in some activity related to IntraLase--from assessing the company to tracking the company's progress. Special kudos must be made, however, to the group of students that were directly involved in that initial investment. They are: Paul Altman (MBA '98), Alex Holderness (MBA '98), Will Johnson (MBA '98 and current WVF advisor), Ashesh Kamdar (MBA '99) and Ken Outcalt (MBA '99).

Karen Bantel, the founding managing director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and the founding managing director of the WVF was instrumental in the Fund's formation and the WVF's first two investments in IntraLase. Karen's successor in both of those roles, Tim Petersen, energetically coordinated the WVF's second two investments in the company.

Thanks to all the outside advisors of the WVF - both past and present. Their guidance of the student board members is invaluable. Special thanks to the founding and current advisory board chairs (Alumni Fund Managers), David Shelby and Mary Campbell, respectively.

Sam Zell has always challenged the Institute to "make no small plans."  This IPO represents a tremendous milestone for the WVF and the Institute -- but it is certainly not a destination.

On behalf of Tom Kinnear, Institute Executive Director and myself, we extend our congratulations to all the WVF participants that have helped make this historic event a reality -- students, advisors, faculty, and staff - past and present. This IPO validates the Fund's vision of creating a program that can simultaneously deliver exceptional student experiences and have significant 'real-world' impact.


In recognition of this achievement, the Zell Lurie Institute hosted a reception on October 14, 2004 where the WVF student advisors and advisory board members were in attendance.   

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