Concordia has launched a new initiative to help turn the innovative ideas bred on campus into genuine entrepreneurial opportunities.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the fall 2021 edition of Hearts Together, a publication of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor.

CU Ventures connects students and faculty with the capital, mentoring, and other resources needed to help turn ideas into real-world business enterprises. Concordia, meanwhile, retains a financial stake in the new company. The hope is that the new model will help generate revenue to supplement tuition and philanthropy at Concordia.

“It’s a win-win,” says Curt Gielow, CU Ventures executive vice president. “Universities are facing increased financial pressures, so the need to explore alternative revenue models is greater than ever.”

In addition to Gielow, the CU Ventures leadership team includes Dr. Daniel Sem, president of CU Ventures and dean of Concordia’s Batterman School of Business, and Rev. Dr. Roy Peterson, board chairman and president of the Concordia University Foundation.

In the news

Reporter Teddy Nykiel featured CU Ventures in WisconsinInno, a sister publication of The Business Journals. In her article, she focuses on Concordia’s innovative approach at producing a new revenue source for the university.

Click here or on the image below to read more.

Ventures on board

Much like any other fledgling business, CU Ventures is still in the start-up stage, but already there are a handful of ventures in the works. One of those, Estrigenix Therapeutics, is a pharmaceutical company cofounded by Sem and collaborators from two other Wisconsin universities. The company’s founders developed a chemical compound that reduces hot flashes and the occurrence of dementia in women.

Just this past summer, the promising start-up placed second in a statewide business plan competition. During the competition, Kylee Marks (’21) presented to a panel of venture capitalists/judges on behalf of Estrigenix. Marks took on marketing for Estrigenix as part of her senior thesis project. She graduated from Concordia in May with double master’s degrees in product development (pharmaceutical concentration) and business administration.

“Being a part of the Estrigenix team has provided me with invaluable experience,” says Marks. “I have had the opportunity to learn from three incredibly knowledgeable individuals whose passion for improving women’s health is truly inspirational. I am excited for the potential impact this drug will have on women and their future generations.”

Want in?

Read more and learn how you can get involved