Ross Students’ Savvy Investing Validated by IBM


An investment made by Ross MBA students in 2000 is bearing some fruit.

Silverpop, a technology company focused on creating innovative digital marketing solutions for a wide variety of clients, is set to be purchased and acquired by IBM.

The Wolverine Venture Fund invested $200,000 into the Atlanta-based tech company in 2000, when Silverpop was first getting started and right before the infamous dot-com bubble burst. At the time of acquisition by IBM, the company has a revenue stream of close to $80 million per year.

The WvF, a $6.5 million dollar investment fund run by Michigan Ross MBA students, is one of the largest student-run venture capital funds in the country and was the first of its kind.

This is the fourth exit for the fund, which runs a portfolio of about 18 active investments. Students also directed investments in HandyLab. Upon its acquisition by Becton Dickinson, the investment earned a six-fold, cash-on-cash return delivering $2 million to the fund. Investments in IntraLase and have also provided returns.

The return for the Wolverine Venture Fund from the Silverpop acquisition has not yet been released.

The Wolverine Venture Fund, operated out of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, is just one of several real-life venture capital experiences available to Ross students. The Social Venture Fund and the Maize and Blue Fund also offer students an opportunity to dive deep into the world of venture investment.

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