Join us for the 35th annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) to take place on May 17 & 18 at the Marriott Resort in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti. In addition to providing a platform for Midwest startups to pitch investors; the two-day conference will feature two keynote speakers, several panel discussions, a technology transfer pitch session and ample networking opportunities. More than 450 investors, entrepreneurs and related stakeholders are expected, with nearly 75 investment firms represented. The deadline for presenting company applications is Thursday, March 10. Apply online. Register to attend at www.MichiganGCS.com.
In the weeks leading up to the Symposium, the Zell Lurie Institute will highlight a new topic around growth capital each week. Learn about the topics surrounding venture capital from leaders in the industry who take part in MGCS.
The Michigan Venture Capital Association is rolling out the red carpet for out-of-state and international venture-capital investors, who are turbocharging the investments made by Michigan VC firms in high-potential, fast-growing start-ups and early-stage companies around the state.
“The MVCA has made it a priority, especially in the last two years, to cultivate out-of-state investor syndication and collaboration,” explains Maureen Miller Brosnan, the trade association’s executive director. “Our research shows that every $1 invested in a Michigan start-up company by a Michigan-based venture-capital firm attracts $2.90 of investment from outside Michigan. We want to keep this trend going.”
In 2014, in-state fundraising by investors drove a 45% increase in capital under management. During the same time period, out-of-state investment, co-investment and syndication boosted capital under management by 122%. “We’ve seen amazing growth in investment in our state, while the rest of the nation has experienced contraction,” Brosnan remarks. “It’s important to attract and retain venture investment here in Michigan.”
Over the past year, MVCA staff traveled to Chicago, three cities in Ohio and San Francisco to drum up investor interest in Michigan-based, venture-backed companies. In September, Brosnan represented the association at China’s International Forum on Investment and Innovation, and proffered foreign direct investment opportunities in Michigan to Chinese investors, entrepreneurs and economic-development officials in Beijing, Qingdao and Dezhou. “In all three cities, Chinese investors were well-aware of Michigan’s strong economic resurgence and wanted to know what was happening in the venture-capital arena,” Brosnan reports. “We have had some investors express interest in the biomedical corridor that is being developed in Oakland County.”
Closer to home, the Michigan Venture Capital Association is working hard to bring Silicon Valley investors to Michigan. “People in southern California and the West Coast look at Michigan as a great place for new ideas,” Brosnan says. “That’s not surprising. We are a state rich in research, talent and innovation. With our lower cost of living, investors also get a bigger bang for their buck. That combination is drawing people to make investments in our state.”
Cultivating a strong entrepreneurial community is another priority for the MVCA. “Start-up incubators and accelerators are where investors get their first peek at the latest and greatest ideas and companies,” Brosnan comments. “We help to promote and keep investors informed about entrepreneurial events, such as Demo Week in Detroit and the annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. We also co-sponsor the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, which provides investor insights into early-stage start-ups from around the state and the region.”
The MVCA’s new chairman, Tony Grover, managing director of RPM Ventures, sees start-up incubators, accelerators and major industry events as important building blocks for Michigan’s entrepreneurial and venture-investment superstructure.
“The Great Lakes Region continues to launch and grow disruptive companies supported by local venture firms and angel groups whose investment activity has brought national-level attention to the region,” Grover says. “Even as we celebrate this growth, we recognize the need to sustain the momentum and progress to ensure that a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem flourishes in our region long-term. Incubators, accelerators, competitions such as Accelerate Michigan and networking venues such as the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium are critical components that help to fill Michigan’s pipeline of innovation. The MVCA looks forward to its continued partnership with the entrepreneurial community in promoting these efforts and events. Our members are always excited to participate in them, as well.”