VC Associate @ Red Cedar Ventures in East Lansing, MI

The Michigan State University Foundation (MSU Foundation) is a non-profit research foundation associated with Michigan State University (MSU), the premier land grant university in the nation. The MSU Foundation manages an endowment built from decades of licensing revenue. In addition to providing over $10 million in research funding to MSU annually, the MSU Foundation is a key partner in the MSU Innovation Network, operating programs and physical assets that catalyze technology commercialization, new venture creation, pre-seed and early-stage venture investing, ongoing entrepreneurial support and placemaking.  These activities are managed through MSU Foundation subsidiary organizations including our venture creation entity Spartan Innovations, our early-stage venture investing entities Red Cedar Ventures and Michigan Rise Pre-Seed III Fund, and through our real estate holdings at the University Health Park, the VanCamp Incubator, and the MSU Innovation Center in downtown East Lansing.

The MSU Innovation Network is driving a more equitable, sustainable, and hopeful future through partnerships that drive innovation, education, outreach, and foster economic development. The MSU Innovation Network’s mission is to forge and support partnerships with a range of exceptional places, programs, and services to spur innovation, accelerate commercialization of ideas and discoveries, and advance economic growth in our region.

About Red Cedar Ventures

Red Cedar Ventures (RCV) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MSU Foundation. RCV’s objective is to help accelerate commercialization of startups emanating from MSU and the larger Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our vision is to be a leading midwestern venture fund providing economic impact with new technology companies, well-paying jobs, and value-added partnerships.

Red Cedar Ventures staff manage three funds, which collectively invested in 32 companies in 2020:

Red Cedar Ventures Pre-Seed Fund assists MSU-related companies with early-stage funding. Capital and support are provided to start-ups for company formation, minimal viable product, customer pilots, and attain other milestones needed to position them for seed financing.

Red Cedar Ventures Opportunity Fund is a later-stage fund that provides follow-on funding and support as existing portfolio companies become de-risked and seek venture financing in order to scale.

Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund is administered by MSU Foundation on behalf of the state of Michigan (Michigan Strategic Fund), through which the RCV team assist Michigan-wide companies at pre-seed and seed stages. Through tranches, funds are invested in start-ups to move beyond a minimal viable product, develop product-market fit, hire core team members, and attain other milestones needed to position them for venture financing.

Role Brief

The Venture Associate (Associate) is expected to assist RCV Executive Director in investing in technology startups commercializing MSU and ecosystem partners’ technologies and create a “best in class” organization to exploit regional scientific discovery base and innovations from diverse areas of scholarship.

In this role, the associate is expected to help with the following:

  • Sourcing: Manage pipeline of inbound leads from entrepreneurs, other MSU Foundation subsidiaries, and ecosystem partners and generate outbound opportunities through industry research, conferences, and networking.
  • Diligence: Prepare and present investment memos and pitch decks for new and follow-on investments based on fundamental analysis and market research.
  • Financial Analysis: Prepare valuations for current and pipeline opportunities including DCF, public and private comparable valuations, and transaction analysis.
  • Deal Structuring: Assist with deal structuring and the evaluation of term sheets.
  • Value Creation: Support portfolio company management teams to develop corporate strategy, evaluate M&A opportunities, assess new business lines, and other projects as needed.
  • Portfolio Management: Monitor current investments and portfolio performance via regular valuations, cap table, and waterfall analysis and tracking company performance.
  • Industry Research: Actively read and seek out new information sources to stay abreast of industry trends. Prepare analyses and research summaries for the RCV team.
  • Training Programs: Help establish and support training programs for startups in conjunction with other MSU Foundation subsidiaries, such as Conquer Accelerator, Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, etc.
  •  Reporting: Assist Directors with internal compliance and reporting functions. Update internal and external databases including Pitchbook and Crunchbase. Prepare presentation decks for board meetings.
  • Networking: Develop new as well as build upon existing relationships between RCV and internal and external stakeholders to advance RCV objectives.
  • Mentoring: Mentor junior members of the team to develop investment acumen and portfolio management capabilities.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Candidate should have:

  • 1 to 2 years full-time work experience in venture capital or investment banking is preferred or the related relevant and equivalent skills and experience in accounting or finance.
  • Proficiency in analyzing financial statements.
  • Proficiency in financial modeling (liquidation waterfalls, cap tables, DCF, etc.)
  • Detail orientation but also strategic thinking.
  • Strong analytical capabilities and pattern recognition. Quickly learn key metrics and market drivers for diverse industries.
  • Interest in quickly researching a variety of industries and interfacing with subject matter experts to assess investment opportunities.
  • Ability to work independently and with confidence to take initiative and be proactive; exercise sound judgment and discretion when handling confidential and sensitive data.
  • Commitment to professional ethics.
  • Strong sense of urgency and self-motivation. Ability to multi-task and prioritize work accordingly, to meet critical deadlines.
  • Desire to network and develop relationships between university research, technology spinoffs, early-stage investors, and business acceleration services in the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Ability to propose and encourage new ideas, gain support from organizations and manage key risks and resources. Welcoming of change.
  • Demonstrable ties to the state of Michigan.
  • Residency or willingness to move to Michigan upon hire.

If interested, please apply here.

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