Roger Ehrenberg, managing partner of IA Ventures, returned to his alma mater to present at the Ann Arbor New Tech Meetup. He offers up his observations and impressions of Ann Arbor's entrepreneurial ecosystem - its virtues and short-comings.
"One thing I noticed at Michigan is how developed and entrepreneurial its Office of Technology Transfer is relative to many of its peers. My sense is that because of Ann Arbor’s physical location (a land-locked jewel of innovation), it has had to be incredibly scrappy and experimental in order to achieve its goals. There simply aren’t the deep network effects that exist in San Francisco/Silicon Valley, New York/Silicon Alley or Boston/Cambridge. And while it is still early in the game, they have done a great job cultivating relationships across the University and working closely with the departments to get technology successfully spun-out from the School (kudos to Wes Huffstutter for greasing the wheels of cross-institutional progress). But the fact that “tech transfer” at Michigan doesn’t conjure up thoughts of the usual hard-to-work-with, inflexible bureaucracy is a tribute to what they’ve accomplished in the past decade. Other schools have much to learn from Michigan’s progress."
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