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U-M's Ross School student-led venture fund invests in edtech startup

  • Contact Greta Guest, (734) 936-7821, gguest@umich.edu or Katelyn Holbrook, (617) 426-2222, kholbrook@v2comms.com

U-M's Ross School, student-led venture fund, and Mytonomy logosANN ARBOR—The Social Venture Fund, a University of Michigan student-led investing fund at the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, has provided seed funding for Mytonomy Inc., a video storytelling platform for college and career advising.

The fund, the nation's first student-led impact investing fund, joined lead investor NewSchools Venture Fund and Kapor Capital in the deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Social Venture Fund makes early-stage investments of up to $100,000 in sustainable, innovative, for-profit organizations that deliver financial returns and place the generation of a significant social impact at the heart of their mission.

It is managed by Gautam Kaul, a finance professor at the Ross School of Business, and by 42 students with experience in technology, investment and education.

A team of eight students, led by MBA students Aamer Ali and Dan Rosen, sourced the deal and conducted in-depth due diligence on the company.

"Mytonomy addresses a key need in the education market and has social impact embedded into its business model, making it an ideal company for the Social Venture Fund to consider," Rosen said.

Maryland-based Mytonomy aims to address the disparity in high school guidance counseling services through a video-based social network. It focuses on first-generation college students and those studying science, technology, engineering and math.

The company's video library, which already contains more than 2,600 testimonials in English and Spanish, lets high school and college students watch videos from other students. The testimonials share advice on topics related to succeeding in high school, the college application process, and specific colleges, majors and careers, with their free student accounts.

In addition to the financial investment from the Social Venture Fund, Mytonomy will work with the fund and Ross on various projects.

"We are pleased to partner with a respected roster of investors to deliver much-needed college knowledge and to expose students to the careers of the future, especially those communities that are underrepresented in the tech industry," said Vinay Bhargava, Mytonomy CEO and co-founder. "We're particularly excited to engage directly with the Social Venture Fund to tap Ross' cross-disciplinary business students, as well as those from the School of Education and College of Engineering, to further our mission."

Along with the Wolverine Venture Fund and the Frankel Commercialization Fund, the Social Venture Fund completes Ross' trio of student-led venture funds, managed by the Zell Lurie Institute and which lets students experience all aspects of venture capital investing.

 

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One of U-M's top priorities is to help society reap the benefits of its $1 billion research portfolio through a rich variety of programs in tech transfer, entrepreneurship education, venture creation and business engagement that spur innovation and economic development throughout the region and beyond. Learn more at innovationeconomy.umich.edu.