Chris Adelsbach, BBA'95: Winner of the 2020 Alumni Service Award

The University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business is honored to present Chris Adelsbach, BBA'95, with the 2020 Bert F. Wertman Alumni Service Award. 

Chris is a London-based entrepreneur, fintech investor, and mentor. He is founder and Managing Partner of Outrun Ventures, a leading investor of early stage fintech companies. He is also a Venture Partner at Techstars. Previously, he helped found and led Europe's leading fintech accelerator in partnership with Techstars and Barclays Bank.

Chris spent the majority of his professional career in the United Kingdom. After graduating from Ross in 1995 and then from GE's Financial Management Program in 1997, he moved to the United Kingdom to join GE Money. At GE Money, he held a number of leadership roles before departing in 2006 to co-found Marlin Financial Group, a specialty finance business, that became one of the UK's fastest-growing privately held companies. In 2014, Chris and his co-founders sold their business to a NASDAQ listed entity and a large U.S. Private Equity group.

Subsequent to the sale, Chris has been an active private investor and advocate of entrepreneurship, focusing primarily on disruptive fintech companies. He is the first/early investor in 'banking as a service" platform Railsbank (now backed by Global Brain and Visa), neo-bank Monese (now backed by Paypal), Everledger (now backed by Fidelity and Tencent), Shieldpay (now backed by Visa), Simudyne (now backed by Barclays), Smart Pension (now backed by JP Morgan), Kuda Bank (now backed by Target Global), Atom Bank (back by BBVA), and fast-growing insurtech's Cuvva (RTP Global) and Marshmallow, to name a few. Chris also helped to launch what became Europe's leading Fintech Accelerator as Managing Director of Techstars - the global platform for investment and innovation. Chris has made 130 fintech investments to date.

Chris also serves on the board of advisors of Crowdz ("supply chain financing as a service"), DIEM ("bank for the circular economy"), Quant Network ("blockchain ineroperoperability with 5 lines of code") and Railsbank ('banking as a service'). In 2018, Chris was named the Angel Investor of the Year by the UK Business Angel Association and in 2017 was named the most active fintech angel in the world by Fintech.Global.

Chris and his wife, Emily have three children and live just outside London where they enjoy exploring the British countryside. The whole family enjoys regular visits to Ann Arbor where they let him indulge in life back on campus!

Chris has remained active with the University of Michigan since graduation. He is a member of the Ross Alumni Board of Governors, a founding board member of the University of Michigan International Alumni Board, and President of the U of M Alumni Association (U.K.).  Last summer he organized the first ever E.U. Ross President's Summit in Barcelona where club Presidents across Europe gathered for the first time ever. Chris also supports the Michigan Fintech Club as a member of its Advisory Board.  Over the past three years, Chris has also sponsored nearly 60 University of Michigan students in London as part of the Michigan Ross Fintech Initiative by providing immersive experiences with his fintech portfolio companies and hopes this will help to shape their future career choices.


About the Award 

​​​​Established in 1989, this award recognizes an alumnus or alumna of the business school for outstanding service to the school and/or to the university. The award was established in honor of Bert F. Wertman, who served for more than 60 years as president of the Class of 1928. Through his leadership and caring, the class remained a cohesive and vital group and held a record number of continuous reunions.




Previous Award Winners

2019 Mark Petroff, MBA 1998​

2018 Cathy Bessant, BBA 1982​

2017 Robert Neary, BBA 1955

2016 David Carson, BBA 1955

2015 David Parent MBA 1995

2014 Michael & Nancy McLelland MBA 1979, BS 1975 & MBA 1979

2013 Jeffrey Gelfand BBA 1988

2012 Yehuda Cohen MBA 1983 

2011 Ralph Johnson MBA 1992

2010 Elizabeth D. Black MBA 1987

2009 Philippe Prufer MBA 1988

2008 John C. Morley MBA 1958

2007 Daniel Hennessy MBA 1981

2006 William Hall MBA 1967, PhD 1969

2005 Tom Jones BBA 1968, MBA 1971

2004 Cecil Shepherd MBA 2000

2003 Roslyn Braeman Payne BBA 1968

2002 Michael R. Hallman BBA 1966, MBA 1967

2001 Thomas Porter MBA 1967

2001 Mary Campbell MBA 1979

2000 Richard H. Rogel BBA 1970

1999 Eva Chang MBA 1993

1998 Bonnie R. Proctor AB 1970, MBA 1974

1997 Bruce L. Cook BBA 1950, MBA 1951

1996 John F. McCarthy ABED 1949, MBA 1951

1995 Frank T. Westover BBA 1961, MBA 1962

1994 No Award Given

1993 Sharon Reed Walker BBA 1974, MBA 1981

1992 William T. Dobson AB 1942, MBA 1948

1991 Gary T. Walther BSE 1960, MBA 1963

1990 Wilbur K. Pierpont MBA 1938, PhD 1942

1989 John R. Edman BBA 1950, MBA 1951

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