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Wolverine Venture Fund Sees First Portfolio Company IPO

10/7/2004 --

One-of-a-kind, student-run venture fund was early investor in IntraLase, developer of ultra-fast laser used in LASIK vision correction surgery.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Wolverine Venture Fund (WVF), the only university-based venture fund of its kind in the United States and a signature program of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, has announced that IntraLase Corp., one of its portfolio companies, has made its initial public offering (IPO) on NASDAQ.

IntraLase, trading under the symbol "ILSE," is the first of the WVF's portfolio companies to go public since the fund's inception in 1998.

"This is a milestone achievement for the Wolverine Venture Fund, the Ross School of Business and the University itself," says Timothy Faley, managing director of the WVF and the Zell Lurie Institute. "This fund is not just a classroom project. It is a real fund with real risk, being managed by first- and second-year MBA candidates as equal partners.

"Students research all the companies, evaluate the business proposals and make the final investment decisions. To have a portfolio company go IPO is the ultimate testimonial to the collective venture capital acumen and sound decision-making of the WVF and its student leaders, and is an invaluable 'real-world' venture capital experience."

IntraLase is an ophthalmic medical device company that has developed and markets ultra-fast laser, related software and disposable devices for use in LASIK, the most common vision-correction process in use today. Its laser technology offers a blade-free approach for performing the critical first step of the LASIK eye surgery–creating the corneal flap.

The Wolverine Venture Fund was one of the principal investors in IntraLase (along with EDF Ventures and Brentwood Venture Capital) in May 1998, and participated in three additional rounds, most recently in November 2001.

"The Wolverine Venture Fund has always been a valuable partner of IntraLase's," says Tibor Juhasz, co-founder, vice president and chief technology officer at IntraLase. "The WVF played an important role in the foundation of our company as one of our initial investors, and has been alongside us every step of the way. Now, as we reach this most important corporate milestone, we are proud to see the students of the Wolverine Venture Fund grow with us."

The WVF is a multi-million dollar venture capital fund operated directly out of Michigan's Ross School of Business. It invests primarily in early-stage, emerging growth companies with the active involvement of MBA students, faculty assistance and an advisory board composed of professional venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.

In a syndicate with other venture capital funds and angel investors, the WVF typically provides $50,000 to $200,000 in seed and first-stage funding rounds. For more information, visit the WVF online at www.zli.bus.umich.edu/wvf/.

The Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies was formed in October 1999. The institute actively engages the nation's most successful entrepreneurs and offers an outstanding faculty composed of both academic researchers and practitioners in entrepreneurship. Its mission is to focus the capabilities and resources of the Ross School of Business to provide education, experience and opportunities in entrepreneurship; serve as a catalyst for new venture development; and contribute important research in the field of entrepreneurship.

Members of the institute's advisory board include Samuel Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments; Michael Hallman, former chief operating officer of Microsoft Corp.; and Eugene Applebaum, founder of Arbor Drugs Inc. For more information, visit the institute online at www.zli.bus.umich.edu.



For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat
Phone: (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847
Email: bernied@umich.edu