MRUN is about high tech and research-based startups in the Midwest. Specifically, its about building a network of those who create, fund and grow startups in the Midwest. Why work together to build relationships through MRUN? Because we need to know one another before we can productively invest and innnovate together
MRUN was established in 2002 as an alliance of university business development professionals dedicated to facilitating growth of technology spinout companies through start–up formation. MRUN is built around the idea that regional cooperation in new business formation can foster commercialization of university research. To that end, representatives involved with startup business formation at several Midwest reseach institutions chose to leverage their relative geographic proximity and began meeting quarterly to explore cooperative options. The early MRUN members were from eight Midwest states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Today MRUN members include universities, research institutions, investors, entrepreneurs and those who help them. All are either in or interested in the Midwest. The MRUN community helps members work together informally to address common problems in startup business development and exchange information about:
- Angel and seed–stage financing
- Placement of management talent
- Opportunities for collaboration
While MRUN works closely with patent and licensing officers in their respective institutions, the focus is on start–up enterprise development as an important element of university technology transfer and local economic development. Although MRUN started as an organization of university startup development professionals, today it includes the diverse elements across the Midwest that drive and support innovative startup creation and growth.
Through its efforts, MRUN also seeks to draw attention to the quality of the Midwest’s many excellent research institutions and their importance to the growth of the region in the 21st Century.
MRUN is unique in that it operates at the intersection of three key areas
- Geographical and cultural connections (e.g. “the Midwest” as a region distinct from “the Coasts”)
- Institutional similarities (members are individuals who are associated with significant research institutions)
- Similar functional responsibilities (members are all involved in some way with fostering commercialization of research through startup development).
- Inter–institutional — MRUN members use each other as conduits into neighboring institutions
- University resources
- Local community financial/management contacts
- Build relationships with investors outside the region
- Promote awareness and recognition of Midwest research institution strengths.
Current MRUN Initiatives
- Organize “conference–within–a conference” sessions on university startup issues at selected meetings
- Participate as MRUN presenters on start–up formation issues at selected meetings
- Foster contacts with accelerators, seed stage angel and venture capital investors for startup clients.