The Entrepreneur-in-Residence program provides mentorship and coaching to the University of Chicago community. Four successful Chicago-based entrepreneurs are available to meet with students, alumni, and faculty throughout the academic year. We also host regular small group sessions and workshops with the EIRs over breakfast and lunch.

Michael Alter

Michael Alter


Focus: Entrepreneurship
Program involvement: New Venture Challenge, SeedCon, student lunch and learns

Michael Alter was CEO of The Tie Bar—the No. 1 e‐commerce destination for stylish men’s accessories. Prior to The Tie Bar, Michael was a cofounder and CEO of SurePayroll, a SaaS technology company that is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Paychex®.   Michael co-founded SurePayroll in 2000 after six years with McKinsey and Company, where he was a cofounder and leader of its service operations practice.

Jim Gray


Focus: Entrepreneurship and finance
Program involvement: New Venture Challenge, student lunch and learns

Jim Gray founded optionsXpress Holdings, Inc., an online options, futures and stock brokerage, which fundamentally changed how retail investors use exchange-traded derivatives for investing and strategic portfolio management. Charles Schwab acquired optionsXpress in 2011. Currently, Jim is CEO of G-Bar LP, one of the nation’s largest independent options, and futures trading firms.

Polsky Announces Finalists for the 2021 Alumni New Venture Challenge

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the finalists of the 2021 Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC), a global program dedicated to supporting all University of…

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