The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) is a longtime partner and major sponsor of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS), providing support and promoting attendance at the annual event. “I think it’s become sort of the premier event of the year on the schedule for people inside of Michigan and other areas of the country to get together and both network and have the opportunity to learn about some of the most exciting companies emerging from the state of Michigan,” said Tim Petersen, MVCA chairman and managing director of Arboretum Ventures. “It’s one of the focal points for the MVCA every year. We’re proud sponsors, and we do a board meeting around the event. We co-host a reception the evening before for venture capitalists. So it’s a big event on the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s schedule as well.”
For the MVCA, the symposium provides an outstanding networking opportunity and the ability to showcase how much is going on inMichiganin the VC industry. Petersen believes the MGCS differentiates itself from other forums because of the quality of the presenting companies and the event’s longevity.
“I think the fact that it (MGCS) has existed for so long, and if you look at the attendance numbers and qualitatively, just sort of the enthusiasm and excitement around the event, it’s really grown a lot in the last ten years,” said Petersen. “And that’s during a period of time where nationally, venture capital has sort of fallen off a little bit. InMichigan, it’s particularly notable that this event has continued to grow and get bigger every year.”
Although the format of the MGCS has been copied in other places, Petersen says its creator —University of Michigan Ross School of Business Professor of Finance David J. Brophy — deserves the credit for coming up with the idea to have a forum that brings exciting, new companies into one location and enables investors to efficiently evaluate those companies. As an executive at Arboretum Ventures, Petersen says the MGCS is a natural place for the VC firm to look for new investments and showcase its companies. “For Arboretum, we certainly have evaluated companies for investment that we’ve seen at the Growth Capital Symposium, and companies that are already in our portfolio have presented to attract other investors to invest.”