Michigan State University Foundation Taps Jeff Wesley as Executive Director, Red Cedar Ventures
Wesley brings management expertise to Red Cedar's growing startup investment portfolio
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State University Foundation (MSU Foundation) announced today that it has named Jeff Wesley as executive director of its wholly owned venture investment subsidiary, Red Cedar Ventures. Wesley's focus will be on managing and growing the company's venture investment portfolio of companies commercializing intellectual property created at Michigan State University.
An alumnus of Central Michigan University, Wesley served as an executive with Two Men and a Truck, from 2008 to 2017, holding the positions of CFO and then CEO. During that time, the company became one of the fastest growing franchise systems in the United States and earned its place among Crain's Detroit Business' "Cool Places to Work." In 2017, Wesley was nationally recognized as a top franchise executive and was an Inc. 5000 award winner.
As executive director, Wesley will provide strategic planning advice and executive coaching to both newly formed companies and startups already existing within Red Cedar's investment portfolio. Under these auspices, he will assist portfolio companies raise outside funding aimed at scaling up Michigan State University-based companies.
"Jeff Wesley is an exceptional executive," said David Washburn, executive director of the MSU Foundation. "At Red Cedar Ventures, we want our portfolio companies to receive the support necessary to ignite their growth and fuel their success. Jeff's track-record proves he can take entrepreneurs' ideas from vision to value creation."
Prior to Two Men and a Truck, Wesley was president of Accu-Bite Dental Supply, from 1991 to 2006. In 2006, Wesley orchestrated the company's acquisition by Patterson Companies, overseeing the successful integration of the two.
"I am excited to do my part in helping these companies succeed," said Wesley. "I'm joining an impressive team and, together, we will continue to build successful companies and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in the heart of Michigan."
Launched in 2014, Red Cedar Ventures is an early-stage venture fund, investing in companies commercializing Michigan State intellectual property. Over the past three years, the fund has deployed over $2M across 21 companies, which have gone on to raise over $50M in outside funds.
About the Michigan State University Foundation
Established in 1973 as an independent non-profit, the Michigan State University Foundation is committed to the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies invented by MSU faculty, staff, and students. The MSU Foundation’s overarching goal is to support research, innovation, and entrepreneurship at the University. Additionally, the MSU Foundation operates Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, Michigan Rise, and the University Corporate Research Park. More information on the organization’s notable achievements, services, leadership, and history are available at www.msufoundation.org.