A spirit of rising optimism permeated the Marriot Eagle Crest Conference Center in Ypsilanti, MI last week as more than 400 entrepreneurs, investors and managers of early-stage and growth companies joined forces at the 2011 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. The Symposium was presented by the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance (CVP) of the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
The resurgence of the U.S. automotive industry, the uptick in private-sector hiring, and the Silicon Valley start-up boom tied to social networking, smart-phone software and clean technology were cited by many as promising indicators that the nation’s economy may have turned the corner.
This year, founders and representatives from 41 emerging and growth companies based in Michigan and the Midwest showcased their innovative products in energy, life sciences, information technology and advanced technology. And, deal making was uppermost on the minds of Symposium participants. The conference centers hallways, lobby and common areas were teeming with attendees eager to reconnect with old colleagues and meet new, interesting contacts.
The event also featured a poignant look back at the impact the Symposium has had on the venture capital industry and the innovation economy in the Michigan and the Midwest with a video montage of Symposia from years past. And, in a touching tribute to MGCS director and founder Dr. David J. Brophy, keynote speaker and founder partner of Technology Crossover Ventures, Jay Hoag presented Brophy with a “Leaders and Best Award” award to recognize his vision, accomplishments and this momentum milestone of 30 years.
Reflecting on the Symposium’s evolution over the past three decades, Brophy said: “Our objective has always been to serve as a bridge or portal for young companies in Michigan, and increasingly in the Midwest, to get to the venture capital market. Since we started this program, our community in general has developed a very good infrastructure. We have a number of really good funds that are performing extremely well. We’ve had some great harvests recently at incredibly high multiples. Everything seems to be going pretty well.”
You can see the MGCS 30th Anniversary video by clicking here.