Archive for February, 2012

February 28, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

March 6 is Presenting Company Deadline for MGCS

The 31st Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) is May 15-16, 2012. Companies have until midnight on March 6th to submit their application for presentation.


The MGCS is the Midwest’s leading event for attracting the best investors from across the U.S. and showcasing high-quality investable companies. In the past decade alone, more than 300 companies have presented. About 70% of these have raised capital totaling more than $1.7 billion in investments and nearly 20% have realized successful exits.

MGCS 2012 will Feature:

  • 2 Keynote Addresses by industry leaders
  • 40 pre-qualified Midwest companies seeking up to $20M in funding
  • 5 Expert panels on timely issues impacting investors and entrepreneurs
  • 2 days of high level networking


Over 400 are expected to attend.

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February 23, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

MVCA Board Member Jon Lauckner Named VP & CTO of General Motors

General Motors has named Jon Lauckner vice president and chief technology officer (CTO), effective April 1. In addition to his current position as president of GM Ventures, Lauckner will be responsible for GM’s Research and Development activity.

Lauckner succeeds current CTO, Tom Stephens, who retires April 1, and he also assumes R&D responsibilities from Vice President Alan Taub, who has elected to retire and pursue outside interests after 11 years with GM.

Lauckner will continue to report to GM Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky. He will also serve as a member of the Global Product Development staff headed by Mary Barra, senior vice president of GM Global Product Development.

“Jon’s vast knowledge and experience in product development and engineering, combined with his ability to identify new and innovative external technology partners, make him a perfect fit for this critically important role,” said Girsky.  “With both GM Ventures and Research and Development aligned under him, we will be more nimble and can move faster to integrate the latest and most-advanced technologies into our vehicles for the benefit of customers.”

Lauckner has been president of General Motors Ventures, LLC since July 1, 2010.  In this role, he leads a team that makes equity investments in innovative startup companies developing next-generation automotive technology. Lauckner previously held the positions of vice president, Global Product Planning and vice president, Global Program Management.

Lauckner, 54, joined GM in 1979 as a test engineer and held a number of positions in product engineering, powertrain engineering and product development, including international assignments in South America and Europe. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1979. He earned a Master of Science degree in management from Stanford Business School in 1990 through the Sloan Fellowship program and attended the GM-Harvard Senior Executive Program in 2001.

Regarding the retirement of Alan Taub, Girsky said, “Our company and the industry have benefitted greatly from Alan’s experience and leadership. His talent and contributions are appreciated by all those who worked with him.”

Taub joined GM R&D as executive director in 2001. In July 2009, he was named vice president of Global R&D, where he led GM’s advanced technical work, seven science laboratories and seven global science offices.

Read about it on GM’s site.

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February 23, 2012 @ 6:51 am

Welcome To New Board Chair, Tim Petersen

We’re proud to introduce our new board chair, Tim Petersen. Tim, who is the managing director at Arboretum Ventures, is responsible for Arboretum’s financial and fund management activities and is a member of its Investment Committee. He has been a venture capital investor for the past 14 years.


Read about Arboretum in a recent Wall Street Journal blog.


“We have the strongest state venture capital association in our region. We’re the envy of our neighbors in this area. My biggest goals are to continue on the momentum we have built over the past ten years in this organization and in this state,” Tim explained, when asked about his goals as board chair.  “We’re rising relative to other states nationwide in terms of venture capital under management in firms headquartered in Michigan.  Michigan is now around 15th in capital under management nationwide, whereas we were consistently outside of the top 20 ten years ago.”


Our Q& with Tim:
What do you think is a trend to watch in terms of VC in 2012?

Nationwide, venture fundraising has been off significantly the past three years.  A lot less capital has been committed to new funds than has been deployed from existing firms, many of which raised those funds in the 2005 to 2007 time period.  That situation cannot last forever.  Hopefully, the overall contraction of the venture industry is reaching a bottom.  As mentioned earlier, Michigan has bucked the nationwide trend pretty well, but ultimately we’re not immune to the broader market.  Big notable exits like the Facebook IPO certainly help.

Why do you think VCs should join MVCA?

Well, we’re pretty fortunate right now in that almost all active VC firms in the state are members.  So, I guess the question is how the MVCA continues to provide value to our members.  One way is through programs that directly benefit our members such as the Michigan Venture Fellows program recently funded by the MEDC, where we are helping member firms identify and hire younger professionals to work within their firms.  The MEDC is very excited by this program, as we are helping to identify and train the next generation of venture capitalists in the state.  We have four member firms participating in the program in 2012, and hope to add six more firms in 2013-2014.

What’s the biggest perk of MVCA membership?

I don’t think I could name just one.  The programs, the networking events, the advocacy we do on behalf of the VC industry at both the state and national level are all important, to name a few.
Are there exciting things going on in Michigan that fellow MVCA members should have on their radars?

I think the depth and breadth of activities are at an all-time high, which is amazing considering the industry is contracting nationwide.  New VC firms being started on both the west and east side of the state.  There are exciting venture-backed companies across different sectors – energy, biotechnology, technology, medical products.

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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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