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Spartan Innovations Announces Dr. Brad Fingland as Director of Venture Creation for Physical Sciences

Spartan Innovations Announces Dr. Brad Fingland as Director of Venture Creation for Physical Sciences

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2020
Author: MSU Foundation
Category: Foundation News

Fingland brings engineering, commercialization, and industry knowledge to launch new high-tech companies arising from Michigan State University.

East Lansing, Mich. —Spartan Innovations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Michigan State University Foundation, announced that it has named Dr. Brad Fingland as Director of Venture Creation for Physical Sciences. Fingland’s focus will be on launching high-tech startup companies spinning out of MSU and leading them to commercial success. 

As a Spartan Innovations Director, Fingland will provide technical evaluation, market assessment, business plan development, federal and state grant writing support, and Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) mentoring. Fingland serves to maximize startup success in translating technologies from proof-of-concept to the market. He will also assist with the development of a financial and long-term corporate strategy to both newly formed companies and existing companies within the Spartan Innovations portfolio. 

“With a growing number of up and coming technologies and several new project initiatives, Brad is a valuable addition to our expanding team,” said Frank Urban, Spartan Innovations Director of Venture Creation for Life Sciences. “Brad has experience in commercializing a broad range of technologies and developing products from concept to mass production.”

“We are excited to bring on Brad’s talent to the team,” said Jeff Wesley, Executive Director of Red Cedar Ventures. “Spartan Innovations and Red Cedar Ventures go hand-in-hand. Brad’s experience in physical science combined with Frank’s experience with life science drives momentum to our thriving startup ecosystem. Red Cedar Ventures looks forward to investing in their success.” 

Fingland worked at Spartan Innovations as an EIR before attaining his position as director. Before Spartan Innovations, he led materials research and light-weighting activities in the Core Science group at Tenneco Automotive. There, he worked to develop the next generation of exhaust and suspension systems. Fingland also worked at ExxonMobil where he investigated renewable fuels, catalysis, and hydroprocessing technologies that resulted in large investments in refining capacity. During these roles, Fingland gained experience working with startups, national labs, research institutes, and faculty on commercializing new technologies.

“It’s been a smooth transition from an EIR to a director. I’ve been immersed in cutting-edge technologies and startup opportunities coming from such an outstanding research university,” said Fingland. “I look forward to supporting MSU researchers and entrepreneurs to help them realize the potential of their idea.”

Fingland earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Missouri – Columbia and his Ph.D. at Purdue University in Chemical Engineering with an emphasis on heterogeneous catalysis. He has authored three peer-reviewed journal articles and 17 granted patents – from 26 published patent applications – that span areas of bio-based fuels, fuel/lubricant hydroprocessing, catalysis, automotive emission reduction, and materials development.

About Spartan Innovations

Spartan Innovations is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Michigan State University Foundation. Spartan Innovations supports startup company opportunities emerging from Michigan State University with market assessment, commercial business plan development, project team management, funding support (through its Red Cedar Venture partner) and other support programs which include Entrepreneur-in-Residence programs, post-doctoral funding, grant writing, etc. Through its high-tech entrepreneurship, Spartan Innovations creates jobs and economic value not only to the Greater Lansing Area’s community but also to Michigan’s economy. More information on Spartan Innovations’ programs, notable achievements, services, key leadership, and history are available at

About Red Cedar Ventures

Founded in 2014, Red Cedar Ventures focuses on technologies and companies arising from Michigan State University’s extraordinary faculty, researchers, and students. Red Cedar Ventures portfolio investments include agriculture, energy, engineering, healthcare, as well as FinTech and sports safety. To date, Red Cedar Ventures has invested in over 50 companies that have raised over $150MM in additional funding. Red Cedar Ventures is the first Mid-Michigan Venture Firm. Through local investment, Red Cedar Ventures brings economic value—not only to the Greater Lansing Area’s community but also to Michigan’s economy. More information on Red Cedar Ventures’ notable achievements, services provided, key leadership, and history are available at


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