Welcome to Michigan eLab


About Michigan eLab

About Michigan eLab

founded by a team of passionate entrepreneurs and investors with ties to the University of Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem

Our Team

Our Team

venture industry veterans with demonstrated commitments to the Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem



located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor just two blocks West of the University of Michigan campus


The universities of Michigan and their partners inside and outside the State of Michigan are hard at work creating a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Detroit and throughout the State of Michigan. The rapidly expanding entrepreneurship programs at UM, for example, and the spinouts from the $1.3 billion dollars of annual research expenditures are creating the seeds for disruptive innovation and business models that are truly unique in the world. This entrepreneurial ecosystem has experienced dramatic growth in the past five years and an unprecedented opportunity now exists to accelerate the creation of world-class startups in the ecosystem.

Michigan eLab is a technology venture capital fund created to capitalize on this growth of entrepreneurial activity and will seek startups with disruptive innovations, exceptional teams, and capital efficient business models that have the potential to serve large markets. Michigan eLab is strategically based both in Ann Arbor, to leverage innovation and talent, and in Silicon Valley, to leverage customers, business development, funding sources and a strong network of experienced advisors (our coaches). Michigan eLab’s mission is to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem by bridging valuable but scarce resources from the Valley to local entrepreneurs in Michigan. We are passionate about Michigan and nurturing world-changing ideas by connecting entrepreneurs to capital and expertise needed to build great, disruptive companies!


Similar to an accelerator, Michigan eLab will make small seed investments in early stage companies (typically $25,000 – $100,000) in return for equity. Unlike an accelerator, however, Michigan eLab does not fund companies in batches but instead takes a more focused strategy of working closely with our startup companies and will invest additional capital and lead Series A and Series B investment rounds. Additionally, we don’t restrict our involvement with startups to three months but instead we work side-by-side with startups given each of our deep operating and investment experience, as well as, leverage our customer, coaches and entrepreneurial network to bring the right connections to companies at the right time.

We believe “the team” is the most important aspect of a successful startup company and Michigan eLab partners and coaches will work with your company to help you put together the right team so you can nail product-market fit and make your first customers insanely successful (both critical for your success and for attracting additional financing).

Michigan eLab has experience in building strong investment syndicates with world class investors. We lead Series A investments either with companies that have already matured into Series A or those companies that have accelerated with eLab as part of the founding team.

News & Events

latest news & events

Akadeum Gets $1 Million Seed; Co-founder Joins Full Time

“Cell isolation technologies are becoming more and more important. Everyone is looking for easy, simple, low cost, and this promises to take care of all three. As far as early-stage technologies go, this is as promising as I’ve ever seen” -Bill Hyun (Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Cytometry at the University of California, San Francisco)


There have been two recent votes of confidence for Ann Arbor-based Akadeum Life Sciences Inc., a 2014 spinoff from the University of Michigan.

In October, it finished raising a seed round of $1 million, which will fund product development and beef up sales and marketing.

Normally that would be the big news.

But that was overshadowed by a late September announcement that co-founder John Younger would quit his day job to devote all his time and efforts to Akadeum.

The company has a very specific niche in the lab testing world; it uses what it calls buoyancy activated cell sorting, trademarked as BAGS, to make it easier, cheaper and faster to prepare tissue, water or food samples for testing

Younger was a well-funded researcher at UM whose announcement took many by surprise. He said he even got a call from Science magazine asking if it was true.

Read more here

Akadeum Aims to Disrupt Cell-Sorting Technology with Microbubbles

Akadeum Life Sciences is doing something that most biotechs don’t, says CEO Brandon McNaugton: practicing the lean startup method, which puts a heavy focus on customer discovery and feedback.

It was this process of talking to customers that inspired Ann Arbor, MI-based Akadeum to develop the Application Discovery Program, a tool it uses to help customers with their research that we’ll delve deeper into in a minute. It’s an ambitious undertaking for a startup that is already working to change the way cell sorting is performed and thought about.

In scientific and medical research, cells often must be separated from their surroundings—T-cells from blood, for example—before they can be studied. McNaughton says current cell separation methods can be time-consuming, costly, and damaging to cells.

Read more here

Why Passion and Preparedness Matter to Urban-Focused Investors

Detroit is considered by many to be the ultimate proving ground for social entrepreneurs, a place where they can test solutions to homelessness, lack of functioning public transit, and other major problems.

Capitalizing on that reputation, the Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium—held Friday at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and co-hosted by Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan—was designed to address the challenges faced by modern American cities through entrepreneurship, said conference organizer David Tarver, and help connect entrepreneurs with resources they need to get their ideas funded and out into the marketplace. (To see how the conference played out on Twitter, search the hashtag #UES2015.)

Read more here

Lean Biotech Startup Akadeum Life Sciences Closes $1 Million in Financing

From blood to food to medicine, cells are all around us. However, the current methods of separating those cells from their surroundings for research, diagnostics, and cell therapy–also known as cell sorting–can be time-consuming, costly, and damaging to the cells.

To address this, Ann Arbor-based startup Akadeum Life Sciences is developing a radically new product that uses BACS™ (buoyancy-activated cell sorting) to acquire target cells from biological samples by using tiny floating spheres called “microbubbles” and disposable microbubble collectors.

Read more here


About Michigan eLab

Menlo Innovations office space      photo03

Michigan eLab was founded by a team of passionate entrepreneurs and investors with ties to the University of Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem and successful track records in venture capital and creating disruptive startups. Located strategically in both Ann Arbor and Silicon Valley, Michigan eLab’s mission is to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem by bridging valuable but scarce resources from the Valley to local entrepreneurs in Michigan.

Unlike an incubator or accelerator, Michigan eLab is a full venture capital fund that can support a startup beyond the seed round and all the way through to final liquidity. eLab also provides formal training in entrepreneurship and shared resources to improve capital efficiency for young companies. In addition to its experienced partners and staff, eLab has a committed network of

technology commercialization experts who are passionate about Michigan and have agreed to be coaches for aspiring new Michigan eLab startup companies. Michigan eLab is built on the basic premise that expanding the reach to customers, capital, and liquidity through this network can increase the pace of growth and greatly improve the chances of success for new companies.

Our Team

The Partners and the Advisors of Michigan eLab

The Partners of Michigan eLab are venture industry veterans with demonstrated commitments to the Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem. Rick and Bob are University of Michigan alums with active involvement in the Schools of Engineering and Law. Doug was previously the Executive Director of the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship from 2009 to 2013. Scott has successfully spent the last 12 years in venture capital focused on spinning innovations out of university research and is a Michigan I-Corps instructor. Paul Brown recently joined Michigan eLab and was previously Vice President of CAPITAL MARKETS at the Michigan

Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), where he managed the bulk of the State’s $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund. The Michigan eLab Advisory Board is comprised of Michigan leaders committed to building leading companies leveraging the talent, innovation and customers in Michigan and Silicon Valley. Each of them have led business formation, technology development and built the Michigan ecosystem. The Michigan eLab Advisory board members, Ira Jaffe, Dave Munson and Dan Rhodes, provide guidance and insights to the partner team to build the next generation of innovative bushiness leaders.

eLab Partner Portal


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General Partner


Rick Bolander

Managing Director

San Mateo, CA

Rick Bolander has been a private investor since 1988 launching Blue Sky…


Paul Brown

Managing Director

Ann Arbor, MI

Paul has diverse experience as an entrepreneur and venture capital investor…


Scott Chou

Managing Director

San Mateo, CA

Scott Chou has been in the venture capital industry since 1997 and has been …


Doug Neal

Managing Director

Ann Arbor, MI

Doug Neal has over 20 years of technology industry experience including …


Bob Stefanski

Managing Director

Palo Alto, CA

Bob is an entrepreneur with deep operational and board experience in the …


Advisors & Partners


Ira Jaffe


Southfield, MI

Ira Jaffe is the Founding Partner of Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss P.C., Ira is a highly regarded pillar of …


Dave Munson


Ann Arbor, MI

Since 2006, Dave Munson has served as the University of Michigan’s Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering….


Dan Rhodes


Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Rhodes was co-founder and CEO of a successful cancer genomics and informatics company …

Thomas Zurbuchen

Talent Partner

Ann Arbor, MI

Prof. Thomas Zurbuchen is the Associate Dean of Entrepreneurial Programs in the College of Engineering …

Tom Kinnear

Special Partner

Ann Arbor, MI

Thomas C. Kinnear is D. Maynard Phelps Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Marketing …


The coaches working with the eLab

The coaches working with the eLab are both University of Michigan alums and a world-class group of successful technologists and business people dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship within the university and Ann Arbor ecosystem.


Rama Aysola

CEO, SensorFlash;

San Francisco, CA


Hank Barry

Former CEO, Napster; Former VC, Hummer Winblad; Partner, Sidley Austin;

San Francisco, CA


Nancy Benovich Gilby

VP Engineering, A2O Mobile;

Palo Alto, CA


Devon Biondi

VP Strategy Services, Mashery;

San Francisco, CA


Jason Blessing

CEO, Plex Systems;

Troy, MI


Ben Kazez

Sr. Dir Mobile, Expedia; Founder, Mobiata;

Ann Arbor, MI


Scott Kliger

Founder and CEO of Sprink; Founder and CEO Jingle Networks, Superior, CO


Charles Newman

Founder and Chairman Emeritus of ReCellular, Inc.


Nate Oostedorp

Chief Product Officer, Sight Machine; Co-founder, Slashdot;

Ann Arbor, MI


Lou Ostdiek

CTO, Brightidea, Distinguished Engineer, IBM;

San Francisco, CA


Mahendra Ramsinghani

Managing Director, First Step Fund,

Detroit, MI


Ryan Sarver

Director of Platform, Twitter;

San Francisco, CA;


Jeff Schox

Schox Patent Law;

San Francisco, CA


Richard Sheridan

Founder of Menlo Innovations;

Ann Arbor, MI


Eric Sieczka

Chairman & CEO Epsilon Imaging and Pixel Velocity


Elliot Soloway

Former CEO GoKnow; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Univ. of Michigan;

Ann Arbor, MI


Dug Song

Co-founder & CEO, Duo Security; Chief Architecture, Barracuda Networks;

Ann Arbor, MI


Nathan Stoll

Google News Creator; Co-founder, Aardvark;

San Francisco, CA


David Segura

CEO and Founder, VisionIT,

Detroit, MI


Jim Sterken

Co-founder, CEO & CTO, Arbortext,

Ann Arbor, MI


David Tarver

Founder of Telecom Analysis Systems,

Birmingham, MI


Duane Tursi

Co-founder of Netarx, VP Sales and Marketing of Yottabyte,

Bloomfield, MI


Doug Willoughby

Chief Architect, Compuware,

Detroit, MI


about Michigan eLab



Is the eLab a venture fund or an incubator?
Can companies that did not incubate with the eLab receive funding from the eLab?
Is the eLab only open to graduates of the University of Michigan?
How do I apply to get resources and funding from the eLab?

Q. Is the eLab a venture fund or an incubator?

A. The eLab is primarily a venture capital fund although it does have shared office and mentorship resources like incubators. Most incubators are essentially real estate or consulting businesses that only provide a small amount of seed capital and/or in kind services. In contrast, the Michigan eLab can provide capital funding through all rounds of growth for a startup company and does not charge for rent or business advice.

Q. Can companies that did not incubate with the eLab receive funding from the eLab?

A. Yes, the eLab is primarily a venture capital fund

Q. Is the eLab only open to graduates of the University of Michigan?

A. No, the eLab is open to any startup company with a significant operating presence within Michigan.

Q. How do I apply to get resources and funding from the eLab?

A. You can start by emailing us a business proposal. PowerPoint is the preferred format. If there is interest in your proposal, we will contact you for a meeting and take the rest from there.


Michigan eLab

The Michigan eLab is located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor just two blocks West of the University of Michigan campus. Being within walking distance of public transportation, amazing restaurants and that largest public research university in the country, this location represents an ideal place

to work and network.
Our facility can provide temporary office space for multiple startup companies at a time with high speed Internet, conference rooms, and a fun and energetic atmosphere.

We also maintain a business development office in the heart of Silicon Valley that maintains relationships with strategic partners and venture capital resources. eLab companies are welcome to leverage either facility for their business needs.

Michigan Location

Menlo Innovations office space
Michigan eLab
505 E. Liberty St, Suite  LL500
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
tel: +1 (734) 926-5221

California Location

Michigan eLab
999 Baker Way, Suite 400
San Mateo, CA 94404
tel: +1 (650) 551-5000


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