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umich.edu

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Investments

28

Portfolio Exits

3

Funds

1

Partners & Customers

10

About University of Michigan

University of Michigan's position in higher education rests on the \ quality of its 19 schools and colleges and its internationally recognized departments and programs. The University's focus on interdisciplinary studies provides great opportunities for students to tailor academic experiences to career and life goals. As one of the largest public research institutions in the country, U-M has thousands of projects underway at any given time and encourages strong partnerships between students and faculty.

University of Michigan Headquarter Location

515 East Jefferson Street

Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109,

United States

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Find University of Michigan in 1 Expert Collection, including Pharma Startups.

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Research containing University of Michigan

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CB Insights Intelligence Analysts have mentioned University of Michigan in 2 CB Insights research briefs, most recently on Sep 1, 2021.

Latest University of Michigan News

Why the Term 'JEDI' Is Problematic for Describing Programs That Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Sep 23, 2021

Scientific American Why the Term ‘JEDI’ Is Problematic for Describing Programs That Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion They’re meant to be heroes within the Star Wars universe, but the Jedi are inappropriate symbols for justice work Print Garrison Ireland Legion members play the characters Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader at the May the Fourth Star Wars Festival in Portmagee, Ireland. Credit: Charles McQuillen Getty Images Advertisement The acronym “JEDI” has become a popular term for branding academic committees and labeling STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) initiatives focused on social justice issues. Used in this context, JEDI stands for “ justice, equity, diversity and inclusion .” In recent years, this acronym has been employed by a growing number of prominent institutions and organizations, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine . At first glance, JEDI may simply appear to be an elegant way to explicitly build “justice” into the more common formula of “DEI” (an abbreviation for “diversity, equity and inclusion”), productively shifting our ethical focus in the process. JEDI has these important affordances but also inherits another notable set of meanings: It shares a name with the superheroic protagonists of the science fiction Star Wars franchise, the “ Jedi .” Within the narrative world of Star Wars, to be a member of the Jedi is seemingly to be a paragon of goodness, a principled guardian of order and protector of the innocent. This set of pop cultural associations is one that some JEDI initiatives and advocates explicitly allude to . Whether intentionally or not, the labels we choose for our justice-oriented initiatives open them up to a broader universe of associations, branding them with meaning—and, in the case of JEDI, binding them to consumer brands. Through its connections to Star Wars, the name JEDI can inadvertently associate our justice work with stories and stereotypes that are a galaxy far, far away from the values of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. The question we must ask is whether the conversations started by these connections are the ones that we want to have. As we will argue, our justice-oriented projects should approach connections to the Jedi and Star Wars with great caution, and perhaps even avoid the acronym JEDI entirely. Below, we outline five reasons why. The Jedi are inappropriate mascots for social justice. Although they’re ostensibly heroes within the Star Wars universe, the Jedi are inappropriate symbols for justice work. They are a religious order of intergalactic police-monks , prone to (white) saviorism and toxically masculine approaches to conflict resolution ( violent duels with phallic lightsabers , gaslighting by means of “ Jedi mind tricks ,” etc.). The Jedi are also an exclusionary cult, membership to which is partly predicated on the possession of heightened psychic and physical abilities (or “ Force-sensitivity ”). Strikingly, Force-wielding talents are narratively explained in Star Wars not merely in spiritual terms but also in ableist and eugenic ones : These supernatural powers are naturalized as biological, hereditary attributes. So it is that Force potential is framed as a dynastic property of noble bloodlines (for example, the Skywalker dynasty ), and Force disparities are rendered innate physical properties, measurable via “ midi-chlorian ” counts (not unlike a “Force genetics” test ) and augmentable via human(oid) engineering . The heroic Jedi are thus emblems for a host of dangerously reactionary values and assumptions. Sending the message that justice work is akin to cosplay is bad enough; dressing up our initiatives in the symbolic garb of the Jedi is worse. This caution about JEDI can be generalized: We must be intentional about how we name our work and mindful of the associations any name may bring up—perhaps particularly when such names double as existing words with complex histories. Star Wars has a problematic cultural legacy. The space opera franchise has been critiqued for trafficking in injustices such as sexism, racism and ableism. Think, for example, of the so-called “Slave Leia” costume , infamous for stripping down and chaining up the movie series’ first leading woman as part of an Orientalist subplot . Star Wars arguably conflates “alienness” with “nonwhiteness,” often seeming to rely on racist stereotypes when depicting nonhuman species . The series regularly defaults onto ableist tropes , memorably in its portrayal of Darth Vader , which links the villain’s physical disability with machinic inhumanity and moral deviance , presenting his technology-assisted breathing as a sinister auditory marker of danger and doom. What’s more, the bodies and voices centered in Star Wars have, with few exceptions , historically been those of white men. And while recent films have increased gender and racial diversity, important questions remain regarding how meaningfully such changes represent a departure from the series’ problematic past. Indeed, a notable segment of the Star Wars fandom has aggressively advocated the (re)centering of white men in the franchise, with some equating recent casting decisions with “ white genocide .” Additionally, the franchise’s cultural footprint can be tracked in the saga of United States military-industrial investment and expansion, from debates around Reagan’s “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative to the planned Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (another “ JEDI ” program), sometimes winkingly framed with Star Wars allusions. Taken together, the controversies surrounding Star Wars make JEDI at best an inappropriate way to brand justice work—a kind of double-edged sword (or better yet, double-bladed “lightsaber” ). At worst, this way of branding our initiatives is freighted with the very violence that our justice work seeks to counter. When we consider the relationship of JEDI to Star Wars and its fraught cultural legacy, a more general caution comes into view: When we label our initiatives, we must be careful about the universe of narratives and symbols within which we situate our work—and the cultural associations and meanings that our projects may take on, as a result. JEDI connects justice initiatives to corporate capital. JEDI/Jedi is more than just a name: It’s a product. Circulating that product’s name can promote and benefit the corporation that owns it, even if we do not mean to do so. We are, in effect, providing that corporation—Disney—with a form of free advertising, commodifying and cheapening our justice work in the process. Such informal  co-branding entangles our initiatives in Disney’s morally messy past and present. It may also serve to rebrand and whitewash Disney by linking one of its signature product lines to social justice. After all, Disney has a long and troubling history of circulating racist , sexist , heterosexist  and Orientalist narratives and imagery, which the corporation and its subsidiaries (like Pixar ) are publicly reckoning with . Furthermore, Disney is an overtly political entity, critiqued not only for its labor practices  but also for its political donations and lobbying . Joining forces with Disney’s multimedia empire is thus a dangerous co-branding strategy for justice advocates and activists. This form of inadvertent woke-washing extracts ethical currency from so-called “JEDI” work, robbing from its moral reserves to further enrich corporate capital. A broader lesson can be learned here: When we brand our initiatives, it pays to be mindful about whether the names we endorse double as products in a culture industry. We must be careful about the company we keep—and the companies that our initiatives help to keep in business. Aligning justice work with Star Wars risks threatening inclusion and sense of belonging. While an overarching goal of JEDI initiatives is to promote inclusion, the term JEDI might make people feel excluded. Star Wars is popular but divisive. Identifying our initiatives with it may nudge them closer to the realm of fandom, manufacturing in-groups and out-groups. Those unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Star Wars­­—including those hurt by the messages it sends—may feel alienated by the parade of jokes, puns and references surrounding the term JEDI. Consider, as one example, its gender exclusionary potential. Studies suggest that the presence of Star Wars and Star Trek memorabilia (such as posters) in computer science classrooms can reinforce masculinist stereotypes about computer science—contributing to women’s sense that they don’t belong in that field . Relatedly, research indicates that even for self-identified female fans of Star Wars , a sense of belonging within that fandom can be experienced as highly conditional, contingent on performances “proving” their conformity to the preexisting gendered norms of dominant fan culture. At a moment when many professional sectors, including higher education, are seeking to eliminate barriers to inclusion—and to change the narrative about who counts as a scientist , political scientist , STEMM professional or historian —adopting the term JEDI seems like an ironic move backward. However we feel about JEDI, a more general insight to apply to our work is this: How we brand an initiative can shape perceptions and feelings about that initiative—and about who belongs in it. The abbreviation JEDI can distract from justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. When you think about the word JEDI, what comes to mind? Chances are good that for many, the immediate answer isn’t the concept “justice” (or its comrades “equity,” “diversity” and “inclusion”). Instead this acronym likely conjures a pageant of spaceships, lightsabers and blaster-wielding stormtroopers. Even if we set aside the four cautions above, the acronym JEDI still evokes imagery that diverts attention away from the meanings of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Such distraction exacerbates existing problems and challenges endemic to institutional justice work. For instance, it is already the case that in institutional contexts, terms like “justice,” “equity,” “diversity” and “inclusion” are routinely underdefined or conflated , robbed of their specificities and differences . These terms and related abbreviations like DEI can thus come to be treated as institutional buzzwords that are more slogan than substance , signaling commitments that institutions fail to meaningfully honor . We must be more attentive to the meanings and particularities of our words, not less. JEDI does not help us with this. Now is not the time to confuse social justice with science fiction. Importantly, the acronym JEDI represents an extreme variant of a more general challenge associated with abbreviations : Acronyms are useful for quickly and concisely representing dense concepts, but there is a thin line between indexing ideas and rendering them invisible—and we must be careful to not lose sight of what our abbreviations stand for. Put simply, the baggage of Jedi and Star Wars is too heavy to burden our justice-oriented initiatives with and may actually undermine these efforts. If we feel that we need to have an abbreviation for labeling our commitments to diversity (D), equity (E), inclusion (I) and justice (J), several alternatives are already available to us, including the abbreviations “ DEIJ ” and “ dije .” The additional dangers and distractions imposed by the label JEDI are an unnecessary encumbrance that can strain and stain even our most well-intentioned initiatives. While we’ve focused our critical attention on the term JEDI, the cautions above provide us with a list of questions to bring to any effort to label or brand our justice-oriented initiatives: Names: Are the names of our initiatives shared by other entities? If so, what messages do these connections send? Stories: What broader cultural narratives, story lines and histories are we tapping into through the ways we label our initiatives? Are these the kinds of stories we want to be associated with our work? Capital: Do our labels for justice work relate to corporate brands and products? If so, do such investments in the culture industry come at the cost of our initiatives’ ethical values and moral meaning? Belonging: What personal feelings and experiences do the names of our initiatives draw on or call up? What signals are we sending about who belongs—or is centered—in that work? Abbreviations: If we rely on abbreviations to brand our work, do they distract from the concepts they index by conjuring unrelated images and ideas? How can we avoid losing sight of what our abbreviations stand for? If you are, like some of the authors of this piece, a longtime fan of Star Wars (or Disney) and have found yourself defensively bristling while reading the paragraphs above, take a moment to consider that response. We suggest that such a reaction reveals how easily Star Wars and JEDI can introduce distractions and confuse conversations. How ready are we to prioritize the cultural dreamscape of the Jedi over the real-world project of social justice? Investing in the term JEDI positions us to apologize for, or explain away, the stereotypes and politics associated with Star Wars and Disney. How eager are we to fight Star Wars’ battles, when that time and energy could be better spent fighting for social justice? It’s worth remembering and reflecting on the fact that the first Star Wars film opens by telling viewers that its sci-fi story lines take place not in an alternative present or potential future but during a period that transpired “a long time ago….” It should give us pause if we are anchoring our ambitions for a more socially just future in fantasies so dated that they were, at the time of their creation, already the distant past. This is an opinion and analysis article; the views expressed by the author or authors are not necessarily those of Scientific American. ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S) J. W. Hammond is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Education at the University of Michigan, where he researches and teaches about rhetoric, writing and racial justice. His current scholarship centers on educational assessment history, theory and technology, as well as the ethical, political and rhetorical dimensions of research access and use. A (nearly) lifelong Star Wars nerd, he believes that science fiction shapes our ethical horizons and sense of scientific possibility in ways good and bad, big and small. Sara E. Brownell is a discipline-based education researcher and professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University who studies how we can create more inclusive undergraduate biology learning environments, particularly for women, religious students, community college transfer students, and LGBTQ+ students. You can follow her on Twitter @brownell_sara . Nita A. Kedharnath earned her M.A. in educational leadership and policy from the University of Michigan. She is the project manager for the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) Collaboration, coordinating multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research and teaching projects focused on making introductory STEM courses more equitable and inclusive. Susan J. Cheng is a forest ecologist and instructional consultant specializing in data analytics, assessment, and instruction of undergraduate courses. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and leads research projects in two intertwined strands of scholarship: understanding how ecology shapes Earth's climate and how classroom climate shapes student learning. She is on the advisory board for 500 Women Scientists and serves on the American Geophysical Union's Education Section committee. You can follow her on Twitter @susanjcheng . Recent Articles by Susan J. Cheng

University of Michigan Investments

28 Investments

University of Michigan has made 28 investments. Their latest investment was in MemryX as part of their Series A on June 6, 2021.

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University of Michigan Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

6/25/2021

Series A

MemryX

No

ARM IoT Fund, eLab Ventures, HarbourVest Partners, M Ventures, and Motus Ventures

1

6/17/2021

Seed VC

Hydrosat

$5M

Yes

Cultivation Capital, Expon Capital, FreeFlow, Industrious Ventures, Synovia Capital, Techstars Ventures, and Yield Lab Europe

8

12/22/2020

Series B

ONL Therapeutics

$46.9M

No

Bios Partners, Capital Community Angels, Exsight Ventures, InFocus Capital Partners, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Kaitai Capital, Michigan Capital Network, PSQ Capital, and Western Michigan University Research Foundation

3

8/22/2019

Convertible Note

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$99M

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10

3/20/2019

Seed VC - II

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$99M

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10

Date

6/25/2021

6/17/2021

12/22/2020

8/22/2019

3/20/2019

Round

Series A

Seed VC

Series B

Convertible Note

Seed VC - II

Company

MemryX

Hydrosat

ONL Therapeutics

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Amount

$5M

$46.9M

$99M

$99M

New?

No

Yes

No

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Co-Investors

ARM IoT Fund, eLab Ventures, HarbourVest Partners, M Ventures, and Motus Ventures

Cultivation Capital, Expon Capital, FreeFlow, Industrious Ventures, Synovia Capital, Techstars Ventures, and Yield Lab Europe

Bios Partners, Capital Community Angels, Exsight Ventures, InFocus Capital Partners, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Kaitai Capital, Michigan Capital Network, PSQ Capital, and Western Michigan University Research Foundation

Sources

1

8

3

10

10

University of Michigan Portfolio Exits

3 Portfolio Exits

University of Michigan has 3 portfolio exits. Their latest portfolio exit was Securus Medical Group on April 03, 2018.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

4/3/2018

Acquired

$991

4

00/00/0000

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10

00/00/0000

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10

Date

4/3/2018

00/00/0000

00/00/0000

Exit

Acquired

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Companies

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Valuation

$991

Acquirer

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Sources

4

10

10

University of Michigan Acquisitions

10 Acquisitions

University of Michigan acquired 10 companies. Their latest acquisition was Asalyxa Bio on January 01, 2020.

Date

Investment Stage

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Total Funding

Note

Sources

1/1/2020

Spinoff / Spinout

$2M

Spinoff / Spinout

1

1/1/2017

Seed VC

$18.1M

Spinoff / Spinout

1

1/1/2017

Seed

$16.11M

Spinoff / Spinout

1

1/1/2012

Series C

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$99M

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10

1/1/2011

Option/Warrant

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$99M

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10

Date

1/1/2020

1/1/2017

1/1/2017

1/1/2012

1/1/2011

Investment Stage

Spinoff / Spinout

Seed VC

Seed

Series C

Option/Warrant

Companies

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Valuation

Total Funding

$2M

$18.1M

$16.11M

$99M

$99M

Note

Spinoff / Spinout

Spinoff / Spinout

Spinoff / Spinout

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Sources

1

1

1

10

10

University of Michigan Fund History

1 Fund History

University of Michigan has 1 fund, including Social Venture Fund.

Closing Date

Fund

Fund Type

Status

Amount

Sources

Social Venture Fund

1

Closing Date

Fund

Social Venture Fund

Fund Type

Status

Amount

Sources

1

University of Michigan Partners & Customers

10 Partners and customers

University of Michigan has 10 strategic partners and customers. University of Michigan recently partnered with Tryp Therapeutics on July 7, 2021.

Date

Type

Business Partner

Country

News Snippet

Sources

7/7/2021

Partner

Tryp Therapeutics

Canada

Tryp Therapeutics Partners with the University of Michigan to Evaluate Proprietary Formulations

Tryp Therapeutics Inc. 's collaboration with the University of Michigan is part of a series of upcoming bridging studies designed to expand Tryp Therapeutics Inc. 's intellectual property portfolio for the company 's novel TRP-8803 drug formulation compared with conventional oral formulations of synthetic psilocybin .

2

3/16/2021

Partner

Ford Motor Company

United States

U-Michigan, Ford open world-class robotics complex - University of Michigan Business Engagement Center

`` As Ford Motor Company continues the most profound transformation in our history with electrification , connectivity and automation , advancing our collaboration with the University of Michigan will help us accelerate superior experiences for our customers while modernizing our business , '' said Ken Washington , chief technology officer , Ford Motor Company .

2

2/22/2021

Partner

Nano One

Canada

Nano One Materials Corp. Nano One Technology Performs Well in Solid State Battery Collaboration with the University of Michigan.

Nano One Materials Corp. One is collaborating with the University of Michigan on the development of innovative solid-state battery technology .

1

1/25/2021

Licensee

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10

11/30/2020

Licensee

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10

Date

7/7/2021

3/16/2021

2/22/2021

1/25/2021

11/30/2020

Type

Partner

Partner

Partner

Licensee

Licensee

Business Partner

Tryp Therapeutics

Ford Motor Company

Nano One

Country

Canada

United States

Canada

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News Snippet

Tryp Therapeutics Partners with the University of Michigan to Evaluate Proprietary Formulations

Tryp Therapeutics Inc. 's collaboration with the University of Michigan is part of a series of upcoming bridging studies designed to expand Tryp Therapeutics Inc. 's intellectual property portfolio for the company 's novel TRP-8803 drug formulation compared with conventional oral formulations of synthetic psilocybin .

U-Michigan, Ford open world-class robotics complex - University of Michigan Business Engagement Center

`` As Ford Motor Company continues the most profound transformation in our history with electrification , connectivity and automation , advancing our collaboration with the University of Michigan will help us accelerate superior experiences for our customers while modernizing our business , '' said Ken Washington , chief technology officer , Ford Motor Company .

Nano One Materials Corp. Nano One Technology Performs Well in Solid State Battery Collaboration with the University of Michigan.

Nano One Materials Corp. One is collaborating with the University of Michigan on the development of innovative solid-state battery technology .

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Sources

2

2

1

10

10

University of Michigan Team

12 Team Members

University of Michigan has 12 team members, including undefined undefined, undefined.

Name

Work History

Title

Status

Steven Skerlos

Founder

Current

Josh Buoy

Founder

Former

Omar Hashwi

Founder

Former

Katie Kent

Founder

Former

Dr. Kutcher

Founder

Former

Name

Steven Skerlos

Josh Buoy

Omar Hashwi

Katie Kent

Dr. Kutcher

Work History

Title

Founder

Founder

Founder

Founder

Founder

Status

Current

Former

Former

Former

Former

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