Origins of MRUN

In May 2002 a group of individuals from 7 Midwestern universities met in Chicagoto exchange ideas about their respective responsibilities and goals in fostering startup companies based on research at their respective institutions. The people in that meeting were associated with many of the largest research insititutions in the Midwest.  Collectively their institutions accounted for about $2.5 billion of research annually at that time.

  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • University of Minnesota
  • University Michigan
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Chicago/Argonne
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

For those attending the meeting it was an eye–opener to learn that despite differences in organization, focus and style, everyone shared a common objective to maximize the commercialization of research from their institutions through spinoff high technology companies. The group exchanged information and concluded that follow up meetings would be useful to all. Many ideas emerged from the discussion but the top items on the list included:

  • Sharing ideas about best practices,
  • Sharing leads re candidates for startup management teams,
  • Building a regional inventory of angel and seed capital investors,
  • Creating a listing of pre–seed and seed investment opportunities within the region,
  • Creating a venue where seed–stage investors and others could access information about our respective startup activities and investment      opportunities