July 21, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

MVCA NEWS: Michigan Venture Capital Association responds to Q2 NVCA/PwC MoneyTree Report

July 21, 2014 – ANN ARBOR, MICH.– Michigan Venture Capital Association Executive Director Carrie Jones responds to the release of the latest NVCA/PwC MoneyTree Report, a quarterly study of venture capital investment activity in the United States prepared by PwC and the National Venture Capital Association:

“The survey results reinforce what MVCA members have experienced firsthand in Michigan in 2014: steadily increasing venture capital invested in a number of extraordinary companies.  This activity speaks to the strength of the entrepreneurial ecosystem we have cultivated here over the last decade.

“According to PwC Moneytree’s survey, Michigan had 25 companies receive venture investment dollars in the first half of 2014, making it 15th in the country for number of deals done in the first half of the year.  Michigan portfolio companies received have $159.6mm to date, ranking 15th in the country for capital deployed in the first half of the year.  In the first half of 2014, Michigan companies have received over 6x what they had received in the first half of 2013 and 2x what they had received in the first half of 2012.    Some notable Michigan portfolio company successes in the first half of 2014 included:

  • Michigan-based ProNAi Therapeutics Inc., a maker of cancer drugs, closed on what is believed to be the largest single round of venture capital funding in Michigan’s history, a series D round of $59.5 million.
  • PlattForm, a leading marketing and enrollment management partner for colleges and universities worldwide, acquired Michigan-based Seelio, a service-based student portfolio solution for higher education institutions.

“While we are pleased to see high level of activity reported thus far, a full six months of potential investing remains.  MVCA will spend the rest of 2014 sharing the good news happening in Michigan’s venture capital community in order to attract additional investment dollars and keep Michigan companies growing.”

For extended context and comment, please contact:

Carrie Jones, Executive Director, MVCA
734-585-0324 x275
Cjones@michiganvca.org

 About The Michigan Venture Capital Association

The Michigan Venture Capital Association 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. Michigan Venture Capital Association members include private venture capital funds, corporate venture capital funds, private equity firms, angel investors, and entrepreneurial infrastructure participants.  More than 200 individuals are members of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, representing 70+ organizations across the state. For more information, visit www.MichiganVCA.org.

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July 17, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

MEMBER NEWS: Plymouth Ventures Announces Successful Final Close for Third Fund

ANN ARBOR, Mi., July 16, 2014 – Plymouth Ventures announced today the final close for
Plymouth Venture Partners III (PVP III). Surpassing its fundraising target of $60 million, PVP
III will continue to execute on the same strategy and focus as PVP II. The fund will invest in
growth stage businesses located in the Great Lakes region. With the close of the PVP III,
Plymouth Ventures now has over $100 million in committed capital under management.
The fundraising process for PVP III was completed in just eight months. Managing Partner
Mark Horne stated, “We are delighted to close so quickly on PVP III and continue to deploy
capital to growth stage companies here in the Great Lakes region. We were fortunate to have
strong backing from our PVP II limited partners, who are participating in PVP III in large
numbers, and from institutions – over 50% of PVP III’s committed capital comes from
regional institutions.”

As part of this raise, Plymouth Ventures took on a new partner, Evan Ufer, who is focusing on
generating deal flow and closing investments, and a Chief Financial Officer, Chris Frick, who is
managing Plymouth’s back office financial activities and the company’s third-party service
providers.

Horne continued: “It was important for us to continue investing without interruption, and we
are pleased to have accomplished that goal. Deal flow is strong, and we are excited about the
opportunities we are seeing in the Great Lakes region. My Partners and I look forward to
deepening our involvement in cities such as Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis, while
continuing our emphasis across the state of Michigan and in the Chicago metro area.”

About Plymouth Venture Partners III, L.P.
Fund III is a follow-on fund to Plymouth Venture Partners I and II, which have collectively
invested in 39 companies since 2003. Plymouth Venture Partners III invests in growth stage
companies in the Great Lakes region.

About Plymouth Ventures
Plymouth Ventures is the manager for Plymouth Venture Partners I, Plymouth Venture
Partners II, and Plymouth Venture Partners III. The company has five partners, Mark Horne,
Ian Bund, Jeff Barry, Kevin Terrasi and Evan Ufer. It is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
For more information, please visit www.plymouthvc.com

CONTACT: Mark Horne, Managing Partner
(734) 747-9401 phone/ (734) 929-1811 fax
Email: mhorne@PlymouthVC.com
555 Briarwood Circle, Suite 210

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July 14, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

MEMBER NEWS: Beringea invests $5.1 million in Chargemaster

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., July 14, 2014 – Beringea, LLC, a private equity firm providing growth capital to market-leading businesses, has announced that its London office, Beringea LLP,  has invested $5.1 million in Chargemaster, the UK’s leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. The investment will be used to strengthen Chargemaster’s position in the UK market and fund further expansion into the European EV charging market.

Since its founding in 2008, Chargemaster has quickly grown to become the largest supplier of EV equipment and infrastructure in the UK with more than 10,000 public and commercial charging points installed across the country. The company is also a key player in the European EV market, with over 4,000 charging points installed.

Malcolm Moss, founding partner at Beringea, commented: “The Chargemaster team has more experience in designing, building and installing high technology streetside electronics than any other European organization. We are excited to partner with a strong management team that is positioned to create the worldwide benchmark for EV charging equipment and infrastructure.”

David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster, commented: “Chargemaster has demonstrated very significant growth over the last two years and is well positioned to capitalize on the mainstream adoption of electric cars. We are delighted to have received this investment from Beringea which provides a strong endorsement of our number one market position and additional capital to enable us to maintain our strong momentum.”

Chargemaster’s EV charging units can be wall mounted, placed on street-side posts or custom-built to specific customer requirements. The company’s advanced charging stations are installed in both domestic and public places, enabling EV owners to safely charge their vehicle at home or on the go.

Chargemaster’s public charging stations have built-in communications equipment creating a nationwide charging network called POLAR. Customers who have purchased domestic charge points are automatically enrolled in the POLAR network, offering them access to charge points across the country.

With flexible and practical charging station solutions, Chargemaster has developed a number of strategic partnerships with energy providers, vehicle manufacturers, government agencies, property development companies and leading blue chip companies.

Electric vehicles are expected to account for 7 per cent of all light duty vehicle sales by 2020, resulting in a surge in demand for charging infrastructure to support EV drivers. As the market leader in the UK, Chargemaster is well positioned to capitalize on the anticipated growth of the global EV infrastructure market, which is expected to exceed $855 million by 2021.

Notes to editors:

About Chargemaster

Chargemaster Plc is the UK’s leading provider of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Benefitting from over 25 years of experience working within the telematics and vehicle-orientated industry, Chargemaster provides a comprehensive, flexible and practical range of electric vehicle charging solutions. Its charging stations are specially developed to accommodate new technological advances and the growing demands of the electric vehicle industry.  Chargemaster works in partnership with a number of leading energy providers, vehicle manufacturers, government agencies, management consultancies and property development and blue chip companies. For more information, visit www.chargemasterplc.com.

About Beringea
Beringea, LLC provides equity and/or mezzanine debt to small- and-middle market companies. The Firm, which includes Michigan-based Beringea, LLC and its London, UK office Beringea LLP, invests in portfolio companies operating in a range of sectors, including health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, media and specialized consumer products.

With flexible capital solutions, extensive investing experience and offices in the U.S. and UK, Beringea’s team offers its portfolio companies the resources to grow their businesses and create value for stakeholders. For more information, visit www.beringea.com.

In the United States of America, Beringea operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor, Beringea, LLC. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Beringea LLP, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Beringea LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with company number OC342919, and its registered office is at 39 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LT, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Beringea’s potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.

Media Contact:
Kelly O’Donnell
Beringea LLC
Phone: 248-489-9000
Email: odonnellkelly@yahoo.com

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July 2, 2014 @ 10:44 am

Beringea invests in online optical retailer MyOptique as part of $59.5 million Series C Funding round

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – Beringea, LLC , a private equity firm providing growth capital to market-leading businesses, has announced that its London office, Beringea LLP, has invested in MyOptique Group , Europe’s leading online optical retailer.  Beringea LLP joins new MyOptique investor Korys and existing investors Cipio Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, Acton Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Index Ventures in the $59.5 million round, which is one of the largest technology venture capital investments in the United Kingdom this year. Funds will be used to further finance marketing and technology investment and expansion into Europe as well as acquisitions.

MyOptique Group is a full service optical business, providing branded and own brand prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses via a portfolio of international websites including Glasses Direct, Sunglasses Shop, LensOn and MyOptique. The company’s in-house prescription glass brands, London Retro and Scout, are the top two selling brands on Glasses Direct; three additional labels are planned for the fall.

Trevor Hope, chief investment officer for Beringea LLP, commented: “MyOptique has led the way in disrupting the eyewear market, a sector in dire need of fundamental change. We are excited to be partnering with an exceptional team who have developed a fantastic value for money, convenient consumer offering while delivering a highly professional service.”

Kevin Cornils, MyOptique CEO, commented: “The offline European optical market is valued at over $34 billion today. However, while over half of consumers now buy books online, and nearly 20 percent of apparel is now bought online, only 2 percent of people currently buy their glasses online – meaning that the potential is massive as consumers follow the trends in other categories. This additional capital will allow the MyOptique Group to dramatically accelerate our growth and enter new markets to strengthen our dominant position in Europe.

About Beringea
Beringea, LLC provides equity and/or mezzanine debt to small- and-middle market companies. The Firm, which includes Michigan-based Beringea, LLC and its London, UK office Beringea LLP, invests in portfolio companies operating in a range of sectors, including health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, media and specialized consumer products.

With flexible capital solutions, extensive investing experience and offices in the U.S. and UK, Beringea’s team offers its portfolio companies the resources to grow their businesses and create value for stakeholders. For more information, visit www.beringea.com <http://www.beringea.com> .

In the United States of America, Beringea operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor, Beringea, LLC. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Beringea LLP, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Beringea LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with company number OC342919, and its registered office is at 39 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LT, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Beringea’s potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.

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July 1, 2014 @ 10:45 am

MVCA Venture Fellows Celebrates Graduation, New Fellow Joining Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – ANN ARBOR, MICH. – JULY 1, 2014 — The Michigan Venture Capital Association’s (MVCA) Venture Fellows Program recently celebrated the completion of Jared Stasik’s two-year fellowship with Detroit Venture Partners and the placement of new Fellow Reda Jaber with Birmingham-based IncWell. The Venture Fellows program matches talented, highly motivated, emerging professionals with venture capital firms in order to grow the next generation of venture professionals in Michigan.

 

MVCA recently received $987,850 from the Michigan Strategic Fund for Venture Upstart III, which includes the Michigan Venture Fellows program.

 

“Attracting talent to Michigan is a demonstrated need in our community, and the Venture Fellow Program has made a substantive impact on our member firms’ ability to do so. Not only are our member firms successfully recruiting the nation’s most exceptional young venture professionals, but their presence strengthens the state’s knowledge–based economy; according to the most recent MVCA Research Report, in the last five years, the number of venture professionals increased by 84 percent in Michigan,” said Carrie Jones, MVCA executive director. “Further, the arrival of Fellows from around the country stems the ‘brain drain’ of Michigan’s young professionals.   Jared, Reda, and the other Venture Fellows could have chosen to establish their careers anywhere; fortunately, these talented professionals chose Michigan, and MVCA is so pleased to offer a program that made their return easier.”

 

Stasik, who has been an associate at Detroit Venture Partners (DVP), was promoted to vice president.   A graduate of the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business, he earned a masters of business administration degree at University of California – Berkeley. His work at DVP is focused on fund management, finances, and administration.

 

In describing his decision to accept a position at a Michigan venture capital firm, Stasik said, “Michigan is home for me, and the MVCA Venture Fellows program helped me make the transition home from California. I was lucky enough to join Detroit Venture Partners just as the Fund was making its first investments. I loved the entrepreneurial environment, and even more so, I loved that everything we did was directly impacting Detroit. I’m looking forward to continuing to help Detroit Venture Partners and our more than 20 startups in every way that I can.”

 

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me by DVP and the MVCA,” Stasik added. “I look forward to working with and mentoring other Venture Fellows as the program grows.”

 

Newest MVCA Venture Fellow Reda Jaber is the director of business development and medical sector lead at IncWell. Prior to joining IncWell, Jaber gained experience with early stage investing at Wolverine Angel Network and Stage 2 Innovations. He has co-founded several early stage startups including MDCases, Visionary Kids, and MI Happy App.

 

Jaber earned his bachelor of science degree with Highest Distinction from the University of Michigan. He earned his MD with Distinctions in Research, Service, and Medical Education from the University of Michigan Medical School and an MBA with a focus in Healthcare Entrepreneurship from the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He also holds an MS in Clinical Research from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

 

“I chose to pursue a career in healthcare venture capital because I felt that I could make a more significant impact on patient lives, on a larger scale, in this role,” Jaber explained regarding his decision to choose venture capital over a career as a doctor. “I hoped to be able to build my career as a venture capital professional in my home state of Michigan, and the MVCA Venture Fellows program allowed me to do that. I’m looking forward to contributing to the stellar team at IncWell where I can help grow exciting early-stage healthcare startups who have the highest potential to make a systemic impact on patient care.”

 

About The Michigan Venture Capital Association
The Michigan Venture Capital Association 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. Michigan Venture Capital Association members include private venture capital funds, corporate venture capital funds, private equity firms, angel investors, and entrepreneurial infrastructure participants.  More than 200 individuals are members of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, representing 100+ organizations across the state. For more information, visit www.MichiganVCA.org.

 

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June 26, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

IncWell Closes Second Fund, Gains Reputation for Speed and Flexibility

With eye on future, IncWell hires MVCA Venture Fellow to expand medical market sector

Throwing the traditional model of VC on its head, IncWell is quickly establishing itself for being the go-to funding source for companies that want to move fast. IncWell’s process begins with an online application that’s followed – within seven days – by a phone interview. If successful, the company will be asked to a live pitch in front of Limited Partners, similar to Shark Tank.  Within two days of the company pitch, the company will be notified whether IncWell is interested or not.  A term sheet will follow that outlines the specific terms.

That strategy is helping IncWell quickly achieve success. Since its formation a little over a year ago, the firm, which boasts an impressive stable of limited partners that includes Roger Penske, founder of Penske Corporation, and automotive veteran Tom LaSorda, closed its first fund and invested in 11 portfolio companies.  The second IncWell Fund has just closed.

“We are really pleased by the investments we’ve been able to make, and focused on keeping the positive momentum going,” said Evonna Karchon, director of operations of IncWell. “There are so many great investment opportunities, and our approach is to move quickly and to be flexible in terms of our investment. We’ve led, we’ve followed, we’ve had equity and convertible note deals – the only consistent factors for IncWell is that all of our portfolio companies have breakthrough ideas and are led by great teams who know their markets and their numbers.”

Considering IncWell’s focus on a company’s leadership, it’s no surprise they chose to locate in Michigan. “There’s an incredible tradition of innovation here,” Karchon explained. “Michigan offers a deep pool of talent, and is a great place to be centralized from VC point of view. The people who are here have survived; there’s a resilience and go-getter spirit in Michigan.”

The go-getter spirit is on full display with IncWell’s newest venture fellow, Reda Jaber, who’s helping the firm expand its portfolio in to the medical and biotech sectors. Jaber graduated from University of Michigan with a dual degree: M.D. and M.B.A. To say he had career options is an understatement.

“I chose to pursue a career in healthcare venture capital because I felt that I could make a more significant impact on patient lives, on a larger scale, in this role,” Jaber explained of his decision to join IncWell as a venture fellow. Jaber’s position is supported by the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s Venture Fellows Program. “Changes to healthcare, from both a political and technological standpoint, are inevitable, and with change comes tremendous opportunities to disrupt the entire industry.”

 

“As the director of business development and the medical sector lead at IncWell, I am in a position where I can work with exciting early-stage healthcare startups and help grow those that have the highest potential to make a systemic impact on patient care,” he added.

Making an impact through world-changing innovation is what has the IncWell team excited about the future. “We are all really looking forward to continuing to grow as a firm,” Karchon said. “What’s exciting now – especially with early investments – is watching them grow. IncWell will continue to grow, as will our portfolio companies.”

And, Karchon added, there’s no better place to achieve that growth than here in Michigan. “There’s definitely a buzz and spirit here,” she added. “Innovation is embedded in Michigan. For everyone who asks ‘Why Michigan,’ I ask, ‘Why NOT Michigan?”

 

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June 25, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

Michigan Venture Capital Association Receives $987,850 from MEDC for Venture Upstart Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JUNE 25, 2014 – ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) received $987,850 in grant funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for its Venture Upstart programs.  The programs further MVCA’s mission to grow and sustain a vibrant venture capital community in Michigan by supporting talent attraction efforts at venture capital firms and their portfolio companies.

 

MVCA’s Venture Upstart programs funded by the MEDC grant include:

  • Venture Fellows Program, designed to increase the number of venture professionals in Michigan in order to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early stage companies. The Venture Fellows Program matches talented, highly motivated, emerging professionals with venture capital or high-growth companies in Michigan. The selected fellows work full-time for a Michigan-based venture firm for 24 months.
  • Executive Connect sources experienced and relevant senior advisors for early-stage companies in need of board, mentor, and advisor leadership.

“MVCA’s Venture Upstart programs have been a critical part of our community development toolbox, allowing MVCA members to create opportunities for investors and their portfolio companies,” said Carrie Jones, MVCA executive director. “Since 2006, these programs have been a catalyst for attracting and retaining talent in the venture capital community in Michigan.  We’re so pleased they will continue, positively contributing to our state’s economy by cultivating venture capital activity.”

 

MVCA research has proven the Venture Upstart programs’ powerful long-term impact and potential.  In the last five years, the number of venture capital investment professionals increased by 84 percent in Michigan, compared to a 13 percent decrease in investment professionals nationally. In addition the number of successful angel- and venture-backed companies has increased by 137 percent and 66 percent respectively, over the same period.   More research on the growth of the angel and venture industries in Michigan can be found at www.michiganvca.org.

About The Michigan Venture Capital Association
The Michigan Venture Capital Association 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. Michigan Venture Capital Association members include private venture capital funds, corporate venture capital funds, private equity firms, angel investors, and entrepreneurial infrastructure participants.  More than 200 individuals are members of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, representing 100+ organizations across the state. For more information, visit www.MichiganVCA.org.

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May 16, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

Beringea invests $2 million in Peerius

 

Funding will accelerate European expansion and support research and development

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., May 15, 2014 – Beringea, LLC, a private equity firm providing growth capital to market-leading businesses, has announced that its London office, Beringea, LLP, has made a $2 million investment in Peerius, the largest provider of personalization software in the UK and Europe.

 

Peerius’ suite of SMART products allows each retail client to treat every visitor to its website as an individual using complex algorithmic software. This provides a custom-tailored experience for the website visitor and increased sales for the client. Clients include leading retailers French Connection, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger and Topshop.

 

Established in 2007 by Roger Brown, Peerius has grown to be the market leader in the UK and Europe in personalization solutions for multi-channel and pure-play retailers.  This injection of funds will allow Peerius to continue to invest in, and refine, its software, and to continue its European expansion. Peerius already has a significant presence in Germany, which has the largest online retail market in Europe, and is well placed to expand from its base in Berlin.

 

Roger Brown, CEO of Peerius said: “We were particularly impressed by the Growth Finance team at Beringea LLP because their significant experience meant they were decisive, understood our needs, offered good business suggestions and were able to work quickly to provide the funds. Their business acumen and agility mirrored our sector knowledge and our need to work quickly in this competitive sector.”

 

Mark Taylor, of Beringea LLP, said: “Peerius is an impressive company, with an inspiring management team, who have made significant progress in an exciting market. This growth finance, which was concluded in just eight weeks from agreeing terms to advancing funds, will give them more flexibility to maximize their opportunities for growth.”

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About Peerius
Peerius is the market leader in personalization software. Through its SMART suite of personalization tools, Peerius personalizes each customer’s online experience, one-to-one and in real time, at every stage of the customer journey. Each individual customer sees product suggestions, messages, promotions, images and campaigns that are personally relevant to them. The result is a proven model for increased sales and a better richer experience for customers. Trusted by leading brands to deliver the results they need, Peerius partners with companies such as Charles Tyrwhitt, French Connection, Appliances Online, notonthehighstreet.com, Ted Baker, Topshop, Superdrug, Red Letter Days and Thomas Cook. For more information visit www.peerius.com.

About Beringea

Beringea, LLC provides equity and/or subordinated debt to small- and-middle market companies. Founded in 1988, the Firm is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan.  Beringea, LLC’s office in London, UK operates as Beringea LLP. Beringea invests in portfolio companies operating in a range of sectors, including health care, clean technology, advanced manufacturing, media, Internet technologies and specialized consumer products. With flexible capital solutions, extensive investing experience and offices in the U.S. and UK, Beringea’s team offers its portfolio companies the resources to grow their businesses and create value for shareholders. For more information, visit www.beringea.com.

In the United States of America, Beringea operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor, Beringea, LLC. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Beringea LLP, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Beringea LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with company number OC342919, and its registered office is at 39 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LT, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Beringea’s potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.

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May 16, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

Grand Angels Credits Deep Pool of Expertise, Michigan’s Ecosystem with Success

 

Fund Celebrates 10 years: Invests $14 million in 29 companies

 

Grand Angels is one of the investment engines making Michigan’s economy more competitive and robust. Its focus is on investments that will have a positive effect on the state through business growth, job creation, and the attraction and retention of talent. Since its inception in 2004, Grand Angels has had that positive effect on our economy: The organization has invested $14 million in 29 companies.

 

Grand Angels invests in life science and technology, which is a function of opportunity explains Jody Vanderwel, Grand Angels president. “Michigan is ripe with great deals in life science and technology,” she said. “We look for deals that have a significant Michigan presence, but most importantly, we invest in the jockey, not the horse. This state has a pool of high level talent in life sciences and technology that know how to grow and develop a company, and as a result, Grand Angels has made several successful investments in those markets.”

 

Grand Angels portfolio company raises $60 million

One of those successes is ProNAi Therapeutics, a company dedicated to developing and commercializing a new class of therapies that target DNA to treat patients with cancer and other complex genetic diseases. Grand Angels invested in ProNAi in 2005, and went on to make seven additional rounds of investment in the company.

 

“A lot of Grand Angel members consistently invested in ProNAi because they believe in technology and the company’s leadership. With the closing of its recent $60 million investment round, that confidence was vindicated,” said Vanderwel. “ProNAi is a great example of how Michigan investors will band together and get behind a company that they believe in.”

 

It’s also a great example of investing in the jockey and not the horse: ProNAi is led by Mina Sooch, who was placed as the company’s CEO through the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s executive attraction program.

 

Prior to joining ProNAi, Sooch worked for Apjohn and asked Grand Angels to join in Apjohn’s investment in the company, Vanderwel explained. “Mina saw what angel funding could bring to company, and Grand Angels saw the opportunity to get involved in a deal that was led by a VC that understood life sciences,” she said. “By investing in ProNAi, Grand Angels had the chance to understand the potential for life science, and how deals in that industry are done. Since then, Grand Angels has co-invested with a VC that has life science expertise in almost every subsequent life science deal.”

 

The success that Grand Angels has had with its ProNAi investment isn’t isolated. Two other portfolio companies have had successful exits: RFIdentics was bought by Avery Dennison – exited 18 months after Grand Angels invested in the company, and Accuri Cytometers, was bought by Becton Dickinson.

 

Thoughtful investments, expertise fuel Grand Angels’ success

Vanderwel credits Grand Angels’ successes with not only making thoughtful investment decisions, but also helping those investments grow by offering a deep pool of expertise to the growing companies.

 

“In contrast to VCs and individual angels, Grand Angels offers 50 successful business people who have skills, intelligence and experience that are valuable to an entrepreneur,” Vanderwel said. “Expertise is a huge advantage for angel groups that people don’t always see – our investors serve on boards, mentor, make introductions and do whatever they can to help the company be successful and deliver great returns to the investors.”
Looking forward, Vanderwel is excited for the potential Michigan offers for angel investors. “Michigan is very entrepreneurial; this is a place where ideas are being generated and research and development are happening all the time,” she said. “There are more good deals here than capital, and it’s possible to syndicate deals because of the collaborative angel and venture community in Michigan.”

 

“We’ve been reasonably successful over the last 10 years, but there are always ways to improve to continue to be successful,” Vanderwel added. “Grand Angels is focused on continuing to build syndicating capabilities here in the state, and responding to crowd funding, which is truly important seed funding that gives deals the chance to become angel ready.”

 

One thing is certain: Grand Angels is ready to invest in great companies and build on its successes.

 

 

 

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May 15, 2014 @ 12:38 am

Beringea Invests $4.2 Million In ResponseTap

Beringea, LLC, a private equity firm providing growth capital to market-leading businesses, has announced that Beringea LLP has made a $4.2 million investment in ResponseTap, a market leader in call tracking and analytics. The funding was part of the company’s $6.7 million Series B financing round, which also included $2.5 million from Eden Ventures. ResponseTap will use the investment to accelerate expansion in the U.S. and to continue support for its UK development team.

 

Since its first external funding round in 2012, ResponseTap has developed rapidly. Now the company has more than 50 employees, an established U.S. presence and a solid client base. In this time, ResponseTap’s technical platform has been radically restructured following user feedback – to give clients even better insight.

 

ResponseTap provides agencies and brands with granular data about the journey of a web visitor leading up to, during and after a phone call to a business. This insight enables its clients to analyze and improve the efficiency of their marketing activities. ResponseTap’s data can additionally be integrated with other tools including web analytics, bid management, CRM and call center infrastructures. This then improves return on investment on marketing expenses and allows for a better understanding of the customer journey through multiple customer touch points – including the telephone.

 

Stuart Veale, managing partner at Beringea LLP, who will join the ResponseTap board, commented:  “ResponseTap has developed a product that will lead the next generation of call analytics. As more expensive and more complex products are increasingly sold online, we believe that the importance of phone calls will increase, rather than decrease, as a sales channel. ResponseTap is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend and this funding will help them build a stronger platform for growth in the U.S. and the UK.”

 

Ross Fobian, CEO and co-founder of ResponseTap, said:  “All of this gives us the perfect springboard to continue our expansion in the U.S., to continue our technical development, increase the associated support team and to launch into Europe. We continually use feedback from our clients to improve our technology and support – a wider client base between the U.S. and the UK makes this even more optimized. We’re looking forward to seeing what insights our clients can gain with this new round of investment.”

 

Peter Jones, partner at Eden Ventures, added: “We recognized ResponseTap’s potential two years ago and are delighted to continue supporting the rapid growth of this business. The company’s development, since we first invested, has been very impressive and we look forward to helping the management achieve their future expansion plans.”

 

ResponseTap’s technology offers accurate attribution for its clients across the U.S. and the UK. Its rapidly growing customer base includes household names such as Tui, British Gas and AVIVA in the UK and build.com in the U.S, as well as over 500 marketing agencies.  It processes over a million calls a month in the UK alone.

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About ResponseTap

ResponseTap is a leader in call tracking and analytics, helping brands understand the impact their marketing activities are having on inbound calls. Over 1,500 brands and 500 agencies in the UK alone rely on ResponseTap’s market-leading technology to achieve a holistic view of their customers’ journeys. Since 2008, ResponseTap has grown to provide analytics on over 1 million calls per month, with offices in London, Manchester and New York.

 

About Beringea

Beringea, LLC provides equity and/or subordinated debt to small- and-middle market companies. Founded in 1988, the Firm is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan.  Beringea, LLC’s office in London, UK operates as Beringea LLP. Beringea invests in portfolio companies operating in a range of sectors, including health care, clean technology, advanced manufacturing, media, Internet technologies and specialized consumer products. With flexible capital solutions, extensive investing experience and offices in the U.S. and UK, Beringea’s team offers its portfolio companies the resources to grow their businesses and create value for shareholders. For more information, visit www.beringea.com.

In the United States of America, Beringea operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor, Beringea, LLC. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Beringea LLP, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Beringea LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with company number OC342919, and its registered office is at 39 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LT, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Beringea’s potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.

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About

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.
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