On June 27, the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund (ZLCF) invested in Neurable, a startup founded by University of Michigan alumni Ramses Alcaide (PhD Neuroscience ’16) and Michael Thompson (MBA ’17).

Neurable uses brain computer interfaces, non-invasive technology that allows the cerebral activity in the brain to control computers, creating a hands-free brain-computer interaction. Neurable focuses on using virtual and augmented reality.

Our technology is impactful across a wide variety of AR/VR use cases, from gaming and entertainment, to health and wellness, to work and productivity,” it states on the  Neurable website.

Michael Thompson, co-founder and VP of Development for Neurable, is a former member of the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund. This, along with the fact that the company meets the ZLCF’s stated criteria and their promising technology helped Neurable stand out when being considered for the investment.

“My prior role with the ZLCF was a unique learning experience into the technical and material aspects of building early-stage businesses, especially those that develop future-forward technologies such as ours,” said Thompson in a press release. “Now on the company side, it’s been a great experience to work with the ZLCF fellows and win their support. This investment will help propel us forward to meet key goals at Neurable.”

On their website, the ZLCF is described as “a student-run early-stage investment fund with the primary goal of identifying promising young startups in the University of Michigan community and surrounding areas and helping them build great companies.” The ZLCF is led by graduate students and is one of five student-led investment funds managed by the Zell Lurie Institute.

Mike Johnson is the faculty director for the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund.

“The student-led funds are a great example of action-based education at Ross — students build knowledge in venture capital, and they learn teamwork and decision-making” Johnson told the Daily in an e-mail.

The fund provides investments in start-ups early stages. Its members focus on finding companies coming out of the University of Michigan, but have recently expanded to surrounded areas as well such as Cleveland, Chicago, and other parts of Michigan. In their portfolio, they currently have ten companies.

Scott Collins, VP of Portfolio Management, participated on Neurable’s due diligence committee.

“Neurable stood out for a couple of reasons. One, because it was a company that was spun out of the University which fits our stated due diligence process or investment thesis. Two, because one of the cofounders, Michael Thompson, had been a member of the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund so we had been aware of the company since his involvement.” Collins said.

Ultimately, Neurable has many qualities that make it a strong choice for the investment.

“We like the company a lot, it fits our investment thesis of looking for companies that could make a big impact in markets that have very high future growth potential—I think that particular market is Virtual Reality and Augmented reality, Neurable could be a key enabling technology to allow this market to really grow to its full potential” Collins said.

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