Member News

2016 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner

Investors and Entrepreneurs Moving Michigan Forward

ANN ARBOR (October 12, 2016)—Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) will host its 2016 Annual Awards Dinner, the largest gathering of venture investors and entrepreneurs in Michigan, on November 2 at the Rattlesnake Club in Detroit.  Honorees include Millendo Therapeutics with the Capital Event of the Year Award, Fontinalis Partners with the “100” Award, and RetroSense Therapeutics with the Exit of the Year; University of Michigan professor Dr. David Brophy is receiving the Above and Beyond Award.  At the dinner, MVCA will announce the winner of the Up and Coming Award, in recognition of a young professional making their mark on the investment community in Michigan. 

The annual celebration is timed to coordinate with Invest Detroit’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC), Michigan’s premier business plan competition, which showcases some of the highest potential technology companies to investors and the broader community.  Combined, the two events will attract attendees from around the country to participate in and celebrate the success of the entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan. According to the MVCA 2016 Annual Research Report, more high tech startups have received venture backing than ever before.  In 2015, there were 74 such companies that received $282M from Michigan venture capital firms, representing a 48% increase in the last five years.

This year marks the first time in the 12-year history of the MVCA Awards Dinner that it is being hosted in Detroit.

“Detroit’s legacy of innovation and entrepreneurial ingenuity, as the birthplace of the automotive industry, continues to the present day when creative risk-takers in every sector choose the city as a fertile ground in which to grow new, diverse businesses,” said Maureen Miller Brosnan, MVCA executive director.  “The Detroit story provides the perfect backdrop to celebrate this year’s successes and overall growth in the industry.”

Additional investment in Michigan startups by angel investors has also grown over the past five years.  According to the same report, angel groups invested more than $16M in startups last year, a 42% increase since 2010.

“Both angel and venture capital investors are committed to working with entrepreneurs to move Michigan forward.  At the crossroad of automotive ingenuity and the spirit of entrepreneurism, Michigan has always been driven by people who try to do things differently.  They understand innovation is critical to Michigan’s future.” Brosnan added. 

Once such innovator is this year’s keynote speaker, retired General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, sponsored by the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and speaking on the future of mobility.

“We are excited about the MVCA-NAIAS partnership.  It aligns well with our plans to analyze the impact of mobility investment on Michigan’s economy and enhances our contribution to the statewide effort to position Michigan as a global mobility center,” said Brosnan.

By hosting the MVCA Annual Awards Dinner in tandem with AMIC, MVCA will showcase Michigan as the place to invest and hopes to draw the nation’s attention to the opportunities created when entrepreneurs are powered by capital, networks and the support of Michigan investors. 

“Hosting these events back-to-back in Detroit creates synergies in the entrepreneurial and investment community, attracts the attention of out-of-state investors and attendees, and offers an exciting way for AMIC to engage with the membership of the MVCA specifically,” said Invest Detroit Vice President and Managing Director Martin Dober.  Tickets for the 2016 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner are available for purchase online.

The 2016 Capital Event of the Year Award winner Millendo Therapeutics, with its $62 million Series B funding, was the state’s largest healthcare deal in 2016 and the largest VC financing round in the state.   New Enterprise Associates, along with Michigan venture capital investors Renaissance Venture Capital Fund and 5AM Ventures, helped fund the deal, which allowed the Ann Arbor-based biotechnology company to double the size of its team and continue clinical programs for first-in-class, disease-modifying treatments for endocrine diseases caused by hormone dysregulation.

For Fontinalis Partners, winner of the MVCA “100” Award, next generation mobility is not just an investment sector focus, it’s a way of life.  In July the Detroit-based venture firm closed on their second $100 million capital fund, which was the largest raised in Michigan in 2016.  This will allow Fontinalis to continue the firm’s legacy of investing in high growth companies efficiently moving goods, people, and services across all modes of transportation.

Early stage funding from the State of Michigan, Blue Water Angels, the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund managed by Ann Arbor SPARK! were critical to RetroSense Therapeutics winning the MVCA Exit of the Year Award.  Acquired for $60 million by pharmaceutical giant Allergan, RetroSense developed a gene therapy designed to cure blindness for those with a retinal degenerative condition.  RetroSense is a good example of Michigan research being funded to successful acquisition.  In addition to being the state’s largest healthcare exit in 2016, RetroSense’s medical technology is based on research conducted at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Dr. David Brophy, professor of finance at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and winner of the MVCA 2016 Above and Beyond Award, could have easily been recognized for his 50-plus year contribution to the venture community as an educator.  And in fact, he was presented with the MVCA Lifetime Achievement award in 2009.  But his contributions to the industry have gone beyond his career as an educator in the fields of entrepreneurship and private equity to include those of investor, advisor, trustee, director and author.  He’s also a visionary, having spotted the need for an event where entrepreneurs could showcase ideas and connect with early-stage investors.  The event he founded 35 years ago, the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, grew into the Midwest’s premier gathering of high-growth companies in new and emerging technologies.

The popular MVCA Up and Coming Venture Capitalist of the Year award, given to a young professional making an impact on the Michigan investor community, will be announced during the event.

About the MVCA

The MVCA is a non-profit trade organization designed to bring together venture capital industry participants in the state of Michigan.  The organization’s goal is to grow and sustain a vibrant venture capital community in Michigan.  Membership includes venture capital firms, corporate venture funds, private equity firms, angel investors, and entrepreneurial infrastructure participants.  The MVCA is a vehicle to bring together industry participants and to provide a concerted voice for Michigan’s venture capital industry.  www.michiganvca.org

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Posted October 12, 2016 in MEMBER NEWS | MVCA NEWS | MVCA Events | News