Foundation’s Captive Venture Funds Close 17 Startup Investments in First Three Months of 2024

Michigan State University Research Foundation

EAST LANSING, MI — The Michigan State University Research Foundation announces 17 new investment transactions in startup companies through its Red Cedar Ventures and Michigan Rise Pre-Seed III investment subsidiaries for the period from January through March of 2024. The Michigan State University Research Foundation’s captive venture program was established to develop and nurture high-tech, high-growth startup companies in Michigan. The investments made in the period are from a range of industries.

Receiving investments from Red Cedar Ventures are:

  • Earthmetric implements a low-cost sensor monitoring system to optimize irrigation and improve crop quality.

  • EeroQ Quantum Hardware is engineering the next generation of quantum computers, using eHe trapped electrons.

  • RedoxBlox, Inc. develops thermochemical energy storage technology to reduce emissions in high-temperature industrial processes and power production.

  • Retia Medical, LLC develops advanced patient monitoring technology to track cardiac output (blood flow rate) for use in ICU and operating rooms.

Receiving investments from Michigan Rise Pre-Seed III are:

  • Approva, developers of a web-based platform that connects mortgage brokers and lenders, offering automation, seamless communication, and access to critical data sources.

  • Blueflite, Inc. designs and manufactures a cargo drone platform for faster, greener deliveries at lower costs.

  • Claira, developers of an AI-driven HR platform that matches employee and candidate competencies with organizational needs.

  • CubeWorks, Inc. focuses on enhancing the management of temperature-sensitive products in the biopharmaceutical industry with a small temperature tracking device.

  • FirstIgnite, an AI software company helping research institutions identify and connect with potential partner companies.

  • Hum, helping internet service providers (ISPs) in multi-dwelling units (MDUs) achieve more customer sign-ups and lower costs associated with acquiring new customers.

  • Iaso Therapeutics, Inc., a startup spun out from Michigan State University, specializes in developing novel technologies for next-generation vaccines targeting cancer and infectious diseases.

  • M3D, Inc., developers of gamma radiation detection cameras for medical and safety applications.

  • Shoptelligence, Inc., an AI-powered platform that helps retailers increase revenue by offering an inspirational and engaging shopping experiences based on personalized customer profiles.

Receiving investments from both investment funds are:

  • 360ofMe, developers of a secure personal data exchange platform for sharing important data with businesses, family members, doctors, and others.

  • Enspired Solutions, developers of the PFASingator, a technology designed to destroy harmful PFAS chemicals in the environment.

The Foundation also supported the following companies with access to working capital through the Michigan Rise Purchase Order (PO) Financing program:

  • Grounded, building highly reliable, fully electric recreational vehicles for self-sustainability on the road.

  • Pearl Edison, developers of an automated, step-by-step scoping platform that makes home electrification easy for consumers and more profitable for contractors.

  • Promethient, Inc., manufactures of Thermavance heated and cooled seats for non-automotive applications, including recreational vehicles, boating and stadiums.

“These investments demonstrate a commitment to fueling innovation and driving positive change within Michigan’s entrepreneurial landscape,” said Jeff Wesley, Executive Director of Ventures. “We’re thrilled to support these dynamic startups as they continue to push the boundaries of technology and address real-world challenges across multiple sectors.”

The Red Cedar Ventures Pre-Seed Fund provides critical early-stage funding and support to help new startups get off the ground and attract additional investment, while the Red Cedar Ventures Opportunity Fund I and II provide follow-on funding and support to portfolio companies as they grow and seek further funding opportunities.

The Foundation partnered with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to establish the Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III, which provides funding, coaching, and assistance with grant funding to tech startups based in Michigan.

For more information about the MSU Research Foundation, its investment funds and portfolio companies, visit

This story was originally published by the Michigan State University Research Foundation.


About the MSU Innovation Center: 

The MSU Innovation Center is dedicated to fostering innovation, research commercialization, and entrepreneurial activities from the research and discovery happening across our campus every day. We act as the primary interface for researchers aiming to see their research applied to solving real-world problems and making the world a better place to live. We aim to empower faculty, researchers, and students within our community of scholars by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to bring their discoveries to the forefront.

Through strategic collaborations with the private sector, we aim to amplify the impact of faculty research and drive economic growth while positively impacting society. We foster mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with the private sector through corporate-sponsored research collaborations, technology licensing discussions, and support for faculty entrepreneurs to support the establishment of startup companies.   

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