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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

Chris Rizik Named Chair of Innovation Partnerships’ National Advisory Board at the University of Michigan


The Innovation Partnerships National Advisory Board was founded in 2002 to provide advice and connections to enhance the University of Michigan’s success in translating its research discoveries into real-world solutions that benefit society.  Composed of industry, venture, government, university and community leaders, the Board has transformed the University and our region with several initiatives, including the creation of Ann Arbor SPARK, the Tech Transfer Talent Network and the Innovation Partnerships Startup Incubator.

On Thursday, April 25, during the Spring Innovation Partnerships National Advisory Board Meeting, Chris Rizik was appointed the newest Chair of the Board.

Innovation Partnerships National Advisory Board Chair Chris Rizik

“Chris Rizik is a highly respected leader in the national venture capital community, and his dedicated involvement with Innovation Partnerships through our National Advisory Board has been instrumental in shaping our office’s strategic engagement with the entrepreneurial and venture ecosystem,” said Kelly Sexton, associate vice president for research – innovation partnerships and economic impact. Chris is an exceptional choice for this position, and I am excited to collaborate with him as we continue to propel Innovation Partnerships forward, driving growth and positive impact in our region.”

Rizik is the founder and chief executive officer of Renaissance Venture Capital, a venture capital fund of funds that works to support Michigan-based startups and increase entrepreneurial activity throughout the Midwest. As founder and CEO, Rizik helps Renaissance Venture Capital invest in and manage a national venture capital portfolio and connect promising startups with a network of Fortune 1000 and major private corporations. Prior to joining Renaissance, Rizik co-founded and acted as partner at Ardesta, LLC and Avalon Technology Ventures. He serves on a number of boards, including on the Executive Committee of Invest Detroit, the Investment Committees of the Community Foundation of SE Michigan, ID Ventures, HX Fund of Funds and Accelerate Blue Fund at the University of Michigan, and the Advisory Boards of a number of venture capital funds around the U.S.

“The University of Michigan is globally recognized as a leading university for research and innovation. The National Advisory Board has the unique opportunity to counsel university leadership about ways to leverage this incredible research enterprise to grow Michigan’s economy and solve broad societal challenges,” said Rizik on his appointment as board chair. “I am looking forward to working with the Board and University leadership as we work to further elevate the work of Innovation Partnerships.”

About Innovation Partnerships

Innovation Partnerships, a unit based in the Office of the Vice President for Research, is the primary gateway for U-M researchers seeking to increase the impact of their work by connecting with the private sector. Innovation Partnerships’ team of experts helps amplify the impact of U-M research through corporate-sponsored research collaborations, licensing and intellectual property strategies, and connections with business mentors, entrepreneurs and investors to support startup company formation.

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About Renaissance Venture Capital

Renaissance Venture Capital invests in venture capital funds around the U.S. and connects those funds with both Michigan’s start-up community and with major companies looking for innovation. Renaissance’s work increases entrepreneurial activity in the region and introduces promising young companies to potential partners, providing benefits to both communities and enhancing financial performance.

For more information, please visit