James Flynn, Deerfield Capital Management and Adam Lilling, Plus Capital to Headline Midwest’s Leading Venture Capital Event

35th Annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Hosts Speakers from Leading Investment Firms Across the U.S.

Today, organizers of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) unveiled its expert speaker line up for the 35th annual event, which serves as a conduit for introducing early stage and emerging growth companies seeking funding to U.S. investors prospecting deals. The 2016 program will feature keynote addresses from James Flynn, managing director of Deerfield Capital Management and Adam Lilling, founding and managing partner of Plus Capital. MGCS will also feature informative panels on topics ranging from the impact of healthcare reform, medical software startup challenges and a new Tech Transfer “Alley” that will provide a larger platform for Midwest universities to spotlight Tech Transfer offices and their emerging company spin-outs.

Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Zell Lurie Institute University of MichiganHosted by the Ross School of Business’ Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association, this year’s Symposium will be held May 17-18, 2016 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti, Mich. More than 450 entrepreneurs, researchers, investment professionals and business executives are expected to attend for networking, company presentations and panel discussions. The conference has a track record of attracting high-quality investors from around the country each year.

Influential Industry Speakers

The program will kick off with a keynote address from Adam Lilling who currently serves as founding and managing partner of LA-based Plus Capital, a firm that manages early-stage venture capital investing, equity-driven partnerships and start-up operations for top celebrities from Hollywood, music and sporting. Kicking off with the keynote on day two will be from James Flynn, managing partner of Deerfield Capital Management, a New York-based multi-billion dollar venture capital firm with a focus on healthcare investment. Flynn oversees the firm’s investment activities as well as the day-to-day management of the organization.

The program will also feature high-caliber speakers representing entrepreneurs, researchers, investment professionals and business executives who will lead informative discussions on pivotal industry issues. Confirmed speakers include:

  • V. Kadir Kadhiresan, PhD, Vice President, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson – JJDC, Inc.
  • Robert Crutchfield, General Partner, Harbert Venture Partners
  • Michael Liang, PhD, Partner, Baird Capital
  • Jeffery J. Stolte, Partner, Providence Ventures
  • Tom Shehab, MD, Principal, Arboretum Ventures
  • Julia Owens, Ph.D. President & CEO, Millendo
  • Bob Smith, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer
  • Jim Evans, CEO, Socrates Analytics
  • Martin Felsenthal, Partner, Health Velocity Capital
  • Jonathan Murray, Managing Director, Draper Triangle Ventures
  • Kurt Skifstad, PhD, CEO, ArborMetrix
  • David Neustaedter, Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer
  • Mark Woodka, CEO, OnShift
  • Matt Bell, Principal, Cultivian Sandbox Venture Partners
  • Matt Bower, Partner, Varnum
  • Jim Adox, Managing Director, Venture Investors
  • Kirsten Leute, Senior Vice President of University Relations, Osage University Partners
  • Rik Vandevenne, Director, River Cities Capital Fund
  • Karen Spilzewski, RiverVest Venture Partners
  • David Wentzloff, Co-CEO & Co-founder, PsiKick; Professor, EECS, University of Michigan
  • Manny Stockman, Associate, Osage University Partners

University of Michigan Selected to Host 2017 Coulter Investment Forum

In related news, organizers of MGCS also announced that as part of the 36th annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, May 16 and 17, 2017, the University of Michigan will hold MGCS in conjunction with the Coulter Investment Forum.

Each year, the Coulter Investment Forum, sponsored by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, showcases 30 emerging life sciences companies that have originated in Coulter Translational Research Partnerships at one of 16 universities. This one-day event is an exciting opportunity to preview 25 to 30 life science companies seeking seed to early-stage investment. Company participation is restricted to those with innovations that have been vetted through the Translational Research Partnership Program at one of the 16 university partners using the Coulter Commercialization Process. This documented process uses business like processes to accelerate academic innovations to the market to improve patient care. Solutions range from device to imaging, diagnostics to therapeutics.

Selecting the University of Michigan and MGCS as the host venue for 2017 underscores the dynamic and growing venture capital and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Midwest. In fact, start up and venture capital activity in the Midwest–which boasts talent from prestigious research universities like the University of Michigan and an affordable cost of living–has outpaced the rest of the country in terms of growth. According to a recent report conducted by the Michigan Venture Capital Association, over the last five years, total capital under management has grown 47 percent in Michigan, but fallen 17 percent nationwide and the amount invested in Michigan has grown 295 percent, compared to 97 percent nationwide.

“For the past 35 years, the caliber and content at MGCS has evolved from a few people discussing entrepreneurial venture capital trends to a nationwide event that attracts some of the most prestigious investors and budding entrepreneurs in the country,” said David Brophy, professor of finance and founding director of MGCS. “We are honored – but not surprised – that the Coulter Investment Forum, a conference that celebrates university startup companies from across the world, has chosen Michigan to host its 2017 event, and we are looking forward to collaborating with them as we prepare for next year.”

The 36 companies selected to present at this year’s 2016 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium will soon be announced. To learn more or to register, visit www.MichiganGCS.com and follow conversations through #MGCS2016 on Twitter.

About the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS)

MGCS is the original university-based venture fair, which was first held in 1979. This nationally attended two-day event provides an opportunity for investors to connect with up-and-coming Midwest businesses and learn about emerging technologies. The Symposium offers the opportunity to build relationships with an unparalleled business network of distinguished private equity industry leaders, leading university research faculty and entrepreneurial business professionals. MGCS is presented by the Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance and the Zell Lurie Institute at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

About the Stephen M. Ross School of Business
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a vibrant and distinctive learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today’s dynamic global economy. The Ross School of Business mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.

Ross is consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools. Academic degree programs include the BBA, MBA, Part-time MBA (Evening and Weekend formats), Executive MBA, Global MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, Master of Management, and PhD. In addition, the school delivers open-enrollment and custom executive education programs targeting general management, leadership development, and strategic human resource management.

MGCS Industry Insights – Jaffe Redoubles its Efforts to Engage and Advise Entrepreneurial Michigan Companies

Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Zell Lurie Institute Ross School University of MichiganThe proliferation of entrepreneurial companies in Michigan has prompted Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C. to expand the legal resources and reach of its Emerging and Growth Business Practice Group in recent years.

“We’ve had a long history of representing early-stage companies and working with them throughout their business life cycles, from raising seed money through their ultimate exits as a sale or an IPO,” says Jeffrey Weiss, a partner in the law firm’s Southfield office. “Now we are making a concerted effort to get in front of more inventors and technologists who are starting these companies, as well as investors, and to become more visible in their communities, so we can get in the door at an earlier stage.” As an entrepreneurial-minded law firm, Jaffe has demonstrated greater flexibility on hourly fees and a willingness to work out creative solutions that accommodate the legal needs and financial constraints of early-stage start-ups, he adds.

Last year, Jaffe represented a long-term client, Delphinus Medical Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Plymouth, Mich., in a $39.5 million Series C round of financing, which closed in August. It was the single largest amount of venture capital ever raised for a health-care imaging company in the Midwest and for a medical-device company in Michigan, according to Weiss, who received his BBA and his law degree from the University of Michigan. In other high-profile matters, the firm also represented each of HandyLab and Accuri Cytometers in recent acquisitions by Becton, Dickinson and Company and assisted ePrize when it was sold to Catterton Partners, a consumer-focused private-equity company, in 2012.

Weiss customarily encourages entrepreneurs to bring in experienced legal counsel as soon as they have developed a business concept. There are several key reasons for this engagement early in the business life cycle:

  • Intellectual-property protection – “As an entrepreneur, you want to protect your idea and know-how immediately,” Weiss says. “The passage of time only hurts you.”
  • Business structure – “Structuring the company properly from a tax standpoint is critical at the outset, and clearly documenting all aspects of the operation of the business, from ownership to employment and other matters, only helps avoid problems down the road,” Weiss explains. “If there’s ‘too much hair on the deal,’ it will pose difficulties later on.”
  • Venture financing – “Entrepreneurs want to be sure they are presenting a nice neat package to a potential financing source,” Weiss remarks. “We help companies best position themselves for financing and resolve any legacy issues. Financings can be difficult at any stage, and we want to minimize such difficulties, so that a lender or investor can understand the opportunity as quickly and easily as possible.”

Jaffe is a regular sponsor of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, where many of its clients are among the start-up companies making pitches to investors. “It’s a good networking opportunity for us,” Weiss says. “We find it helpful to know all the players in the area, both on the company side and the investor side. This helps us generate deal flow.”

Register to attend MGCS 2016 by visiting www.michigangcs.com. Follow conversations about the Symposium through the hashtag #MGCS2016 on Twitter.

About the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS)
MGCS is the original university-based venture fair, which was first held in 1979. This nationally attended two-day event provides an opportunity for investors to connect with up-and-coming Midwest businesses and learn about emerging technologies. The Symposium offers the opportunity to build relationships with an unparalleled business network of distinguished private equity industry leaders, leading university research faculty, and entrepreneurial business professionals. MGCS is presented by the Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

University of Michigan’s Social Venture Fund Invests in Conversa Health

The Social Venture Fund, in collaboration with the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, today announced that it has participated in the Series Seed B convertible note round for Conversa Health, a rapidly growing San Rafael Calif.-based patient engagement company. The Social Venture Fund was part of a syndicate of early-stage health care investors.

The Social Venture Fund, the nation’s first student-led impact investing fund, invests in and supports innovative, for-profit companies that place social and environmental impact at the heart of their business models. The Fund is managed by a team of approximately 40 MBA and BBA students – many of whom are pursuing dual-degrees with education, environment, health, law and public policy – along with faculty advisor Uday Rajan, the chair of the finance department at the Ross School of Business. The Fund, which has seven active investments, focuses in four key industry verticals: health care, education, food systems and environment and urban revitalization. In addition to the dollar investments it makes, the Social Venture Fund conducts consulting projects for its portfolio companies, from market sizings and pricing analyses to financial models and pitch materials to support companies’ future business development and fundraising needs.

“Investing in companies with a purpose is an increasingly important mandate both for our students and for the investing world as a whole,” said Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute. “The Social Venture Fund has done a great job choosing a company that has good prospects for a strong exit as well as the potential to change the way our health care system interfaces with patients for the better.”

Conversa Health, the Fund’s first direct investment in the health care space, aims to improve patient engagement, adherence and health outcomes through a software as a service (SaaS) platform that provides hospital systems with an automated way to bridge the gap in communication that occurs between visits. Conversa’s main product, “Digital Checkups,” uses data-driven algorithms to generate personalized clinical questions, patient education, reminders and alerts triggered by a rich profile of each patient, including data from Electronic Health Records (EHR), biometric monitoring devices (i.e., wearables, glucometers) and Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) derived from Digital Checkup responses. This information is analyzed and fed back into the EHR and other care management systems to alert the care team about patients that are in need of guidance, support and intervention.

Priori Social Venture Fund Michigan Ross Zell Lurie InstituteA team of seven students, led by Christine Priori, MBA/MPH ’17, sourced the deal and conducted in-depth due diligence on the company. The Fund’s rigorous deal sourcing process began with screening nearly 160 companies that submitted applications and narrowing the pool to five companies that would undergo the three-month due diligence process. For Conversa, this process included analyzing the company’s management team, its product’s effectiveness and market potential, its financials and revenue model and its potential to create positive social impact. The team interviewed numerous industry experts, including leaders in the patient engagement space, the Fund’s health care advisors and key thought leaders and purchasers at large hospital systems.

“I was continuously impressed by the intelligence and dedication of my fellow fund members as they diligently researched and clearly articulated the possibility of investing in this company and industry,” said Priori. “Leading this due diligence team has accelerated the refinement of both my analytical and leadership skills, while cementing my interest in social impact and corporate responsibility.”

The team determined Conversa would be a strong investment for the Fund due to the company’s potential to enhance the way health care is provided. “We believe in the product’s ability to improve patient adherence, serve as a conduit to foster communication between patients and their doctors and ultimately improve patients’ health outcomes,” said Logan Pitts, BBA ’16, a member of the due diligence team. “We also have great confidence in the caliber and experience of the entire management team and the company’s traction with thought-leading providers and health IT distributors. Finally, the management team’s deep-seated interest in developing a continued, working relationship with the Social Venture Fund is a very important factor in arriving to our decision.”

“We were impressed with the thoughtful and rigorous due diligence process the Social Venture Fund went through,” said West Shell, co-founder and CEO, Conversa Health. “We were delighted to have them on our team to help work on business building and research projects that will drive Conversa’s innovation and social value impact.”

About the Social Venture Fund

The Social Venture Fund is a leader in university-based impact investing, with several active investments. The Fund’s previous investments include Powerhouse Dynamics, LearnZillion, Mytonomy, Loveland Technologies, and Jack and Jake’s. To learn more, visit www.umsocialventure.com/.

University of Michigan Student Startups Excel at World’s Largest Business Plan Competition

More than $400,000 in Prize Money Awarded to Promising Young Companies in IT & Biotech Sectors

Ann Arbor, Mich. – April 18, 2016 – The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business today announced that two University of Michigan student-run startups have been awarded substantial prizes at this year’s Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC), the world’s largest and richest graduate-level business plan competition. Neurable and PreDxion Bio, the two winning teams, both started their successful business plan competition seasons at the Zell Lurie Institute’s Michigan Business Challenge, and together took home $430,000 in total cash prizes and investment dollars at RBPC, which took place April 14-16, 2016.

University Michigan Ross Rice Business Plan Competition Win Zell Lurie InstituteBeating out more than 400 original business plan submissions and 40 competing teams, Neurable took second place in the competition, earning the $50,000 Second Place Prize, as well as the OWL Investment Prize of up to $280,000. Co-founded by Ramses Alcaide (PhD Neuroscience ’16) and Michael Thompson (MBA ’17), Neurable has created the first non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) that allows for real-time control of software and physical objects. Neurable’s fully functional prototype incorporates proprietary, patent-protected technology developed at the University of Michigan’s Direct Brain Interface Lab. Neurable’s technology has already allowed people to control wheelchairs, robots and even a full-sized car in real time with no training and at a significantly lower cost than existing BCI technologies.

University of Michigan Ross PreDxion Bio Zell Lurie Institute Rice Business Plan CompetitionPreDxion Bio took home the $100,000 TiE Boston Angel Investment Prize. Co-founded by Walker McHugh (MSE Biomedical/Medical Engineering ’17) and Caroline Landau (MBA ’16) PreDxion Bio™ is a precision medicine diagnostics company with a beachhead product called MicroKine™, a patent-pending near-bedside diagnostic device that measures proteins in the blood of critically ill patients. MicroKine delivers this information in less than 30 minutes–ten times faster than that of any existing technology on the market–from a single drop of blood, providing physicians with the information to precisely tailor treatments to a specific patient’s immune response.

“The Rice competition is one of the largest and toughest competitions in the nation. Having two Michigan teams rise to the top of this very competitive field validates the notable talent and innovative technology coming out of our university,” said Stewart Thornhill, executive director, Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “The funding they’ve received from this competition, in addition to the feedback they’ve gathered and the network connections they’ve made, will significantly help both teams advance their ventures.”

University of Michigan Ross Neurable Zell Lurie Institute Rice Business Plan CompetitionIn the spirit of the Institute’s action-based approach to learning, intercollegiate competitions provide further opportunities for students to refine their plans, expand their networks, receive funding and learn about other aspects of their startup. Student teams from across the university receive in-depth training and support from the faculty and staff at the Zell Lurie Institute, including business development, refinement and presentation sessions. This guidance ensures students from multiple disciplines have the solid business foundation necessary to commercialize a great idea.

“The recognition and funding from a competition the scale of Rice is an amazing achievement for our team and for the growth of Neurable,” said Alcaide. “Everyone at the Zell Lurie Institute and the Office of Technology Transfer has provided invaluable support and expertise since day one, coaching and guiding us to a place where the judges and potential investors could fully recognize the promise of our technology. The additional mentorship and support from TechArb and the Center for Entrepreneurship set us up for success.”

“The entire PreDxion Bio team is overwhelmed by the show of support we received at Rice. The $100,000 we are taking home will be allocated to funding manufacturing devices that will revolutionize the way we treat and manage critically-ill patients,” said McHugh. “Our time at RBPC has shown us what an incredible place the University of Michigan is to start a student-run venture. The support we have received from the Zell Lurie Institute, Fast Forward Medical Innovations/MTRAC, the UM Coulter Program, the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law School Entrepreneurship clinic has been exceptional and a definite driver of our success.”

Neurable and PreDxion Bio are among the many successes for University of Michigan teams on this year’s business plan competition circuit. Earlier this year, PreDxion Bio took home the Pryor-Hale Award for best business for $25,000 and the Williamson Award for $5,000 for the most outstanding business and engineering team at the Michigan Business Challenge, and Neurable was a finalist in both the Michigan Business Challenge and the Startup Competition at the University of Michigan. Student teams have also competed at the Thought for Food Global Summit in Zurich, the Venture Capital Investment Competition at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Undergraduate Venture Capital Investment Competition Global Finals at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Cardinal Challenge at the University of Louisville and the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The RBPC ends the season for intercollegiate competitions, and the strong showing by Neurable and PreDxion Bio capped it off well for the University of Michigan.

For more information on the Michigan Business Challenge or related entrepreneurial student competitions, please visit http://www.zli.bus.umich.edu.

MGCS Industry Insights – Three Trends Impacting VC Investment in Health Care

Baird Capital’s Nicole Walker Discusses Trends Impacting VC Investment in Health Care

Nicole Walker Baird Capital VC University of Michigan Growth CapitalFor venture-capital investors, the Midwest still has great untapped potential, according to Nicole Walker, who joined Baird Capital’s venture capital team in Chicago three years ago. “This region has the talent and resources to build companies in sectors such as medical devices, tools and diagnostics,” she says. “Even the emerging health-care services sector is strong in the Midwest. This is a rich area for investment.”

Baird Capital invests across multiple stages of company formation, from seed investment through growth-stage investment. “Our portfolio is mixed, and we tend to be active investors, who like working with our entrepreneurial teams,” explains Walker, who currently sits on the board of directors at five health-care portfolio companies. “Our total investment in a company ranges from $10 million to $15 million over the life of a deal.”

Walker sees three major trends impacting venture-capital investment in the health-care sector in the Midwest:

  • Accessing capital ─ While there is more activity among seed and angel investors who help fund early-stage companies in the Midwest, Walker has started to see some contraction in the amount of capital coming into the entrepreneurial ecosystem from these investors. “Entrepreneurs must rely on their own financial resources or pools of capital generated by seed and angel investors in order to develop their start-up companies to the point where they are reasonable candidates for venture-capital investors, such as Baird Capital,” she explains. “Our firm sees a lot of good ideas. However, a number of those opportunities are too early for us and still need to be vetted and de-risked.”
  • Retaining talent ─ With its network of top-ranked universities, scientific research corridors and advanced manufacturing, the Midwest enjoys a strong pool of talent. Retaining that talent is a continuing struggle. “We still suffer a little from our talent bleeding out to the coasts,” Walker reports. “Three different types of talent are needed to help grow start-ups through their entire life cycle, from seed stage to an initial investment by a venture-capital firm to a revenue-generating commercial company. The challenge is to recruit and retain talent from the Midwest or the coasts to help build out these companies and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
  • Creating syndicates ─ The third challenge to venture investors is being able to build strong investment syndicates across a number of sectors. “Over the years, there’s been a shift in venture capital,” Walker observes. “Some firms have narrowed their focus to one or two sectors and others have chosen to stop investing. It’s becoming more challenging to create the syndicates needed to build a strong base of capital to help drive some of these companies forward.”

For the past two years, Walker has served as a panelist at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, which she views as critically important to the entrepreneurial landscape in the Midwest. “The symposium brings all the stakeholders to the table, including investors such as myself who are members of an institutional firm,” she says. “It provides us with the ability to connect and reconnect face-to-face with co-investment funds, such as Arboretum Ventures, Beringea and Venture Investors.”

In addition, Walker notes, Baird Capital benefits from the opportunity to take an early peek at emerging entrepreneurial talent during the two-day event. This pool includes not only entrepreneurs who are starting new ventures but also serial entrepreneurs with established companies who already have raised some capital and are looking for follow-on investments. “To be able to engage with all those stakeholders is a 24-hour period is amazing,” she says.

Register to attend MGCS 2016 by visiting www.michigangcs.com. Follow conversations about the Symposium through the hashtag #MGCS2016 on Twitter.

About the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS)
MGCS is the original university-based venture fair, which was first held in 1979. This nationally attended two-day event provides an opportunity for investors to connect with up-and-coming Midwest businesses and learn about emerging technologies. The Symposium offers the opportunity to build relationships with an unparalleled business network of distinguished private equity industry leaders, leading university research faculty, and entrepreneurial business professionals. MGCS is presented by the Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

MGCS Industry Insights – A Pullback by Venture Investors Poses Fundraising Challenges for Startup Companies

Flat rounds are taking some of the fizz out of the funding bubble for startup companies. And like flat beer and flat tires, entrepreneurs are finding deflated investor enthusiasm─ and the inability to raise follow-on funding at ever higher valuations ─ an unwelcome change from last year’s unbridled investment exuberance.

David Brophy, Zell Lurie Institute University of Michigan RossThe biggest concern among venture investors right now is exits, says David Brophy, professor of finance and director of the University of Michigan Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance, or CVP. “When investors see the unicorns (startups with private valuations exceeding $1 billion) going public at prices below their last private investment pre-money value, they become cautious about raising the bid on the next funding round or the bridge financing they are putting into their existing portfolio companies,” he explains. “Investors also are a little more skittish now about putting new money into startups [that are not yet part of their portfolios].”

Economic weakness abroad, a strong U.S. dollar and a global flight to safety have pushed investors away from risky bets on equity and into the debt market. “Venture funds and institutional investors are much more enthusiastic about putting their money into private debt than into the equity of new ventures and young companies,” Brophy observes. “The federal regulatory clamp-down on banks has curtailed long-term senior lending, so companies looking to finance acquisitions are turning to private pools of capital offered by venture funds and limited partnerships. In return, these debt investors are receiving a revenue stream from promissory notes, which may be convertible or have warrants that give them debt with equity.”

The upshot, Brophy says, is that in today’s financial market, venture investors with cash are king (or queen), and have the upper hand in negotiating good terms and favorable pricing with entrepreneurial companies seeking to raise growth capital. “The only way a young company can succeed in this environment is to have something really special,” he remarks. “This includes a really good team and a really good value proposition. Not every company has that.”

Brophy offers this advice to entrepreneurs who are trying to weather the current turbulence:

  • Focus on ways to add value to your company by identifying new uses for products and intellectual property, modifying and improving existing technologies, entering new markets and cultivating deeper sales relationships.
  • Redouble your efforts to provide better, cheaper or more effective products and services to your customers and outshine the competition.
  • Take advantage of market weakness to steal market share from other companies that are failing or closing up shop.
  • Increase your free cash flow and manage your working capital.

At the moment, there is no way to cure the bad spirits out in the marketplace,” Brophy cautions. “The big thing is to survive.”

Venture investors also must make tough decisions amid the current market downturn. “As an investor, you have to do triage all the time, and help your portfolio companies get through the tough times,” Brophy advises. “You have an audience of entrepreneurs and limited partners watching you, and your success in pursuing future opportunities will be conditioned on how well you handle your portfolio now. If you demonstrate you can turn bad times to your advantage by finding a new deal and negotiating good terms, then your institutional investors will love you.”

Register to attend MGCS 2016 by visiting www.michigangcs.com. Follow conversations about the Symposium through the hashtag #MGCS2016 on Twitter.

About the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS)

MGCS is the original university-based venture fair, which was first held in 1979. This nationally attended two-day event provides an opportunity for investors to connect with up-and-coming Midwest businesses and learn about emerging technologies. The Symposium offers the opportunity to build relationships with an unparalleled business network of distinguished private equity industry leaders, leading university research faculty, and entrepreneurial business professionals. MGCS is presented by the Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

 

Two student teams from the University of Michigan selected to vie for more than $1M in prizes at Rice Business Plan Competition

World’s richest and largest student startup competition launches new People’s Choice Competition

Chosen from nearly 400 entrants, two University of Michiganstudent teams, Neurable and PreDxion Bio, will compete with some of the world’s top universities for more than $1 million in prizes at the 16th annual Rice Business Plan Competition at Rice UniversityApril 14-16.

This year, teams will compete for $5,000 online in the People’s Choice Competition that challenges the spirit of each university. Team members, fellow students, alumni, family and friends can vote for their favorite team via a Facebook survey. People can participate by going to https://apps.facebook.com/rbpc-polls/form/rbpc2016.

Neurable, co-founded by Ramses Alcaide (PhD Neuroscience ’16) and Michael Thompson (MBA ’17), has created the first non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) that allows for real-time control of software and physical objects. Neurable’s fully functional prototype incorporates proprietary, patent-protected technology developed at the University of Michigan’s Direct Brain Interface Lab. Neurable’s technology has already allowed people to control wheelchairs, robots and even a full sized car in real-time with no training and a significantly lower cost than existing BCI technologies. Neurable was a finalist in the 2016 Michigan Business Challenge (MBC).

University of Michigan Ross School of Business Startup PreDxionCo-founded by Walker McHugh (MSE Biomedical/Medical Engineering ’17) and Caroline Landau (MBA ’16), PreDxion Bio is a precision medicine diagnostics company with a beachhead product called MicroKine, a patent-pending near-bedside diagnostic device that measures certain proteins (“cytokines”) in the blood of critically-ill patients.  MicroKine delivers this information at the bedside, in less than 30 minutes, from a single drop of blood, providing physicians with the information to precisely tailor treatments to a specific patient’s immune response. Earlier this year, PreDxion took home the Pryor-Hale award for best business for $25,000, and the Williamson Award for $5,000 for the most outstanding business and engineering team at MBC.

“The true measure of success for the Rice Business Plan Competition is the number of teams that launch, raise funding and go on to succeed in their business,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at Rice University, which hosts the event. “The competition has served as the launch pad for a great number of successful entrepreneurial ventures, and the success rate exceeds the national average.”

University of Michigan Ross School of Business Startup NeurableThe winner of the Rice Business Plan Competition will take home a grand prize valued at more than $450,000, including seed funding and the opportunity to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ Marketsite. Judges select the winner based on the company that represents the best investment opportunity.

“Events like the Rice Business Plan Competition allow University of Michigan students to showcase their ventures, commercializing technologies developed at the university,” said Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “These opportunities allow students to raise funding and gain traction in front of a wider community of investors and business leaders. We are proud of the tremendous entrepreneurial spirit and drive shown by PreDxion and Neurable, and are confident that the resources they’ve received from the Zell Lurie Institute will help them achieve even greater success.”

More than 140 corporate and private sponsors support the business plan competition, which includes 275 judges from the investment sector and awards more than $1 million in prizes. Top prizes include the $250,000 Investment Grand Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas, two OWL Investment Prizes totaling at nearly $250,000 and the $100,000 Mercury Fund Tech Transfer Investment Prize.

For more information on the 2016 Rice Business Plan Competition, visit http://alliance.rice.edu/rbpc.aspx.

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