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Posted on Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Student-run Wolverine Venture Fund invests in hearing aid company Sonitus Medical

By Ben Freed

The Wolverine Venture Fund, managed by University of Michigan MBA and Ph.D. students, said it has invested in Sonitus Medical for the second time.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Sonitus Medical creates hearing devices that conduct sound through the bones of the user rather than simply magnifying sound in the user's ear.

The Wolverine Venture Fund joined fellow Ann Arbor-based fund Arboretum Ventures in the Series D round of venture capital funding spearheaded by Abingworth, an international venture capital fund, which raised $25 million for the company.

The Wolverine Venture Fund, based in The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, had previously invested in Sonitus in March 2011.

University of Michigan students manage the $5.5 million Wolverine Venture Fund in teams that focus on different industries, with faculty members serving as managing directors. Local and international VC firms serve as advisors.

“This round has also been a tremendous experience for the students who oversaw the process,” said Erik Gordon, a managing director of the fund, in a statement. “They were not only able to see the rapid progression of a portfolio company in the past year and participate in its latest financing, but they also got to collaborate on the deal with some very good, well-established venture capital firms from around the world.”

A six-member team of students including both MBA and Ph.D. candidates conducted due diligence, negotiated the investment, and collaborated with the other funds involved in the investment.

“We were given a seat at the table with experienced investors representing firms here in Michigan, from the coasts and overseas, and invested real money that is going to make a meaningful difference for the company and those with hearing loss and single-sided deafness,” said M.D./Ph.D. student Nicholas Douville in a press release.

The fund has invested in over 20 companies, and is one of three student-led funds in the business school, with over $6.5 million under their combined management.

Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

It's about time that schools give their students some practical experience.