October 5, 2013 @ 8:50 am

Tetra Discovery Partners Reaches New $1 Million Strategic Funding Milestone with Grand Angels-Led Investment

Latest Financing to Accelerate Development of Alzheimer’s Drug

 

Tetra Discovery Partners, a leader in the design of new therapeutics for major neurological conditions based on PDE4 modulation in the brain, today announced it has closed a $1,041,000 seed investment led by Grand Angels, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based investment group.

 

The investment in Tetra includes funding from Grand Angels and the Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center (BRCC), which invests in promising, Michigan-based life sciences ventures, and the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.  It also includes funding from the Michigan Emerging Technology Fund as a match to the recent $3 million Phase II SBIR award Tetra received from the National Institute of Mental Health.  The investment will support Tetra’s efforts to develop an innovative drug to treat cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease, and a second drug to treat depression and restore cognitive function in patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI).

 

“We are pleased that Grand Angels led the seed round for Tetra, and we look forward to the increased momentum this investment provides,” said Mark Gurney, Ph.D., Tetra’s founder and CEO.  “Our partnership will not only help to fund our key research and commercialization objectives, but the strategic connections and counsel that Grand Angels provides will accelerate Tetra’s work on behalf of the millions of people suffering the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, depression and traumatic brain injury, for which there are no effective treatments.”

 

“Grand Angels is very pleased to have led this investment in one of Michigan’s most innovative businesses,” said Jody Vanderwel, Grand Angels President.  “Mark and the Tetra team are changing the face of Alzheimer’s research and working on some truly industry-changing breakthroughs right here in Grand Rapids.

 

“As of July 2013, we have invested nearly $12.5 million in 26 entrepreneurial companies. This latest opportunity with Tetra is a perfect example of how Grand Angels is able to make an important and potentially transformative impact through the funding and strategic support that we provide.”

 

Tetra’s research focuses on designing drugs that inhibit phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), a key enzyme in the brain that controls the biochemical process of memory. The company works closely with the NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network, a $50 million program across 15 NIH Institutes and Centers that support drug discovery research collaborations with early stage biotechnology companies and academics to develop effective therapeutics for nervous system disorders. The Blueprint Neurotherapeutics team of skilled industry drug discovery and development consultants has been pivotal in helping Tetra to develop a drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

 

About Tetra Discovery Partners

Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tetra Discovery Partners (http://www.tetradiscovery.com) uses structure-guided drug design to discover mechanistically novel, allosteric inhibitors of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4).  The Company’s research focuses on developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  In addition to its NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network cooperative research agreement, the Company has been the recipient of both NIH/NIMH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund awards.  The Company’s founder, Dr. Mark Gurney, was recently named one of two leading inventors globally in the creation of Alzheimer’s disease treatments by Griffith Hack, a leading Australia-based intellectual property law firm, following the analysis of nearly 50,000 patents for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

 

About Grand Angels

Grand Angels is committed to using its financial, intellectual, and networking capital to foster the success of emerging companies and to enhance the economic development of West Michigan. Grand Angels makes investments that have a positive effect on our region through business growth, job creation, and the attraction and retention of local talent.

 

In addition to investing in primarily early stage companies, Grand Angels continues to be very active in its effort to create a climate for the success of entrepreneurs in West Michigan. Many of its members have served on panels, judged pitch competitions, and mentored entrepreneurs through organizations including the Accelerate Michigan competition, Hope Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.  www.grandangels.org.

 

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Contact:

Amanda Passage

Lambert, Edwards & Associates

(616) 233-0500

apassage@lambert-edwards.com

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September 30, 2013 @ 8:27 am

Join MIBB for the Fall 2013 Israel Medical Technology Roadshow

Fall 2013 Israel Medical Technology Roadshow 

Presented by 

The Trendlines Group and OurCrowd

 

Trendlines, is a leader in developing early-stage Israeli companies, and OurCrowd,  is the Israel-based equity crowd-funding platform for early-stage investment opportunities.The roadshow will feature 6 innovative Israeli start-ups.

 

Accredited investors and strategic partners are invited to hear presentations, meet the entrepreneurs and to learn more about Trendlines, OurCrowd and the Israel start-up nation story.

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Choose your location and rsvp by:

Friday, October 11th

 

8-10 a.m. in Grand Rapids

http://bit.ly/MIBBinGrandRapids 

 

4:30-6:30 p.m. in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti

http://bit.ly/MIBBinAnnArborYpsi

  • CoreBone: a natural bone graft material for enhanced  strength and healing in orthopedic and dental procedures
  • Gordian Surgical: a unique 2-in-1 device that opens and closes incisions during laparoscopic surgery, saving physician time and preventing complications
  • SensoGo: a portable, easy-to-use system for walking pattern analysis in diagnosing orthopedic, sports medicine, and geriatrics (elderly falling risk) disorders
  • SiL Vascular: a next-generation balloon catheter for targeted treatments and improved outcomes of blocked arteries in the limbs

About Michigan Israel Business Bridge

The Michigan Israel Business Bridge (MIBB) is a non-profit 501(c)6 organization established to facilitate business and investment opportunities between Michigan and Israel for their mutual economic benefit. MIBB brings new business to Michigan and creates jobs by encouraging Israeli businesses with new technologies to establish their North American business centers in Michigan.

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July 1, 2013 @ 7:41 am

Chris Rizik’s Guest Commentary in Bridge Michigan

“Every basketball fan has seen it: Your hard working team plays great and goes into halftime with a big lead. But in the second half that same team looks entirely different, as the players stop doing all the aggressive, scrappy things that gave them the lead, and instead begin playing with the sole goal of not losing. More often than not, by focusing on being safe, they see their lead evaporate.

 

This basketball analogy is eerily resonant with the story of entrepreneurship in Michigan, a state that grew to unprecedented heights in the 20th century on the backs of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. Then Michigan lost its momentum, beginning a long, slow shift from a hungry, innovative state to one that worked primarily to maintain what it had — playing not to lose. We moved from playing offense to solely playing defense, and it is tough to score while playing defense.”

 

Read the rest of the commentary…

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May 3, 2013 @ 5:53 am

Second Annual Deals in the Garden

Our second annual Deals in the Garden took place on April 22 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Emceed by Jody Vanderwel of Grand Angels, the event gave the following companies the opportunity to pitch their businesses to investors.

 

are you a human, Detroit
Vestaron, Kalamazoo
Nanorete, Lansing
Arborlight, Ann Arbor
Covaron, Ann Arbor
Gema, Ann Arbor
Current Motor, Ann Arbor
FlockTag, Ann Arbor
Optofluidic Bioassay, Ann Arbor
Savvy Languages, Lake Orion
Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, Grand Rapids
Compoto, Holland

 

2nd Annual Deals in the Garden

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing booth, and from L to R: Tom Ross, Managing Director, DWH; Connie Degen, Chief Operating Officer, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing; Jerry Scott (back to camera), Grand Angels’ member; and Nick Bykerk, Controller, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing

 

We were extremely pleased with the quality of the presentations and delighted with the high number of attendees and that the audience was so engaged.

 

2nd Annual Deals in the Garden

Current Motor’s scooter, and Grand Angels members, from L to R: Andy Keller, Paul D’Amato, and Bob Sprotte

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February 20, 2013 @ 8:48 am

Hopen Life Science Ventures’ Expert Team Committed to Creating Culture of Innovation in Michigan

Founded by a team with deep roots in life sciences, Hopen Life Science Ventures is shining a light on all that the Midwest has to offer young healthcare companies. Between its two funds, Hopen manages more than $65 million, which it prefers to invest in the region. Hopen is headquartered in Grand Rapids and recently opened an office in Cleveland.

 

Hopen Life Science Fund I invested in a portfolio of seven companies that have raised over $110 million of total syndicated investment. The Fund I portfolio attracted the attention of other private investors in the region who wanted to invest with Hopen. Hopen Life Science Fund II was formed in 2011 and now totals $40 million.

 

“We believe the network of expertise at Hopen is a huge differentiator and an advantage. The Hopen team grew up in life science, and we apply these experiences to the deals we consider,” said Mark Olesnavage, a managing director at Hopen. “We are proud that we can use our technical expertise and experience to invest in early to mid-stage life science companies – investments that are viewed as inherently risky.”

 

With healthcare budgets under the microscope, Hopen is particularly sensitive to innovation that lowers total costs. That strategy recently led the firm to participate in a syndicate with fellow Michigan VC firm Arboretum Ventures, co-investing in Fidelis. Fidelis, based outside of Chicago, offers an innovative approach to address the individual needs of patients dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The investment, which is a departure from Hopen’s historical investments in segments like drugs and devices, was made possible because of the firm’s team of advisors and their extended networks.

 

Hopen’s other recent investments include companies in Michigan and throughout the Midwest:

  • Tolera Therapeutics, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., is developing its lead drug for induction during kidney transplantation. The drug has completed Phase II and should be ready to begin Phase III late this year.
  • Metabolic Solutions Development Company (MSDC), a Kalamazoo, Mich.-based developer of novel therapeutics for metabolic diseases, whose first two drugs for type-2 diabetes are currently in phase 2 clinical trials.
  • NeoChord, based in Minnetonka, Minn., a medical device innovator aimed at mitral valve repair in the heart, which is conducting an ongoing clinical trial in Europe.
  • Transcorp Spine, a Grand Rapids medical device company providing solutions for compressions of the cervical spine, which is in the beginning stages of developing regional commercial sales.
  • Intervention Insights, a bioinformatics platform developed in Grand Rapids, informs personalized cancer therapies.

 

To Olesnavage and the team at Hopen Life Science Ventures, the future looks bright.  “We’re bullish about the future,” he said.  “We are confident in our team and our strategy, and that includes our commitment to the Midwest. Syndicating capital here by building the reputation of what’s here is a huge opportunity. The more success stories the region can have, the stronger our case.”

 

“Individuals in the Midwest and Michigan have a strong work ethic and sense of values that make companies here an attractive investment,” he added. “People are willing to work hard, but at the end of the day, it’s about creating a culture where people are willing to take a chance and innovate. We’re heading in that direction, and that’s exciting.”

 

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January 18, 2013 @ 11:37 am

Huron River Ventures Invests In Digital Cleantech, Michigan’s Future

It only takes five minutes with Tim Streit to get excited about Michigan’s potential.   The venture capitalist could easily be the state’s chief evangelist.

 

“People who don’t know what’s happening here think I’m crazy for being so enthusiastic about Michigan,” Streit explained. “From even the most pragmatic, reserved viewpoint, all I see is potential; Michigan has everything it takes to nurture a healthy start-up ecosystem. You can see momentum building statewide from Grand Rapids to Detroit.”

 

It’s that view that compelled Streit to leave a comfortable corporate position at HSBC to co-found Huron River Ventures with Ryan Waddington in 2010.

 

Huron River Ventures, which has offices in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor was funded initially by Michigan’s $6 million Accelerator Fund Program. It’s on track to finish fundraising in the $12 million range. With that money, the firm has focused on making $250,000-$1 million seed investments in early-stage, Michigan-based companies. The firm is keen on investing in energy efficiency technologies, digital cleantech – IT enabled solutions to global resource constraints – and smart transportation. Tim’s background building software-as-a-service businesses combined with Ryan’s background investing in energy technologies was a perfect complement.

 

“In 2010, we had hypothesis about the future of technology: With the right backing, the talented minds and businesses in Michigan could help redefine the energy economy for the world market,” Streit explained.  “It was the perfect time to start Huron River Ventures; Michigan-based entrepreneurs were struggling to attract coastal VCs, who didn’t understand what they were missing.”

 

Huron River Ventures’ portfolio reflects this vision of the future through its investments in digital cleantech companies like SideCar and FarmLogs as well as energy efficiency technologies like Ambiq Micro and OptoAtmospherics.  It also reflects the firm’s commitment to Michigan: FarmLogs and OptoAtmospherics are based in the Ann Arbor region. SideCar and Ambiq Micro are both spin-outs from the University of Michigan that have expanded outside of the state.

 

Three years later, the rest of the world is catching up and recognizing that energy efficiency and digital cleantech are the future. “We are really proud of our co-investors, including Google Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, Mercury Fund, Rockport, First Step Fund and others that can help us propel these world-changing innovations forward,” Streit added. “Huron River Ventures is bringing real value to our portfolio companies, and Michigan’s economy, by attracting these other sources of capital.”

 

“Huron River Ventures looks for investments that not only show growth potential and will deliver ROI, but also for those that show potential to change the world,” said Streit. “We’ve found these great opportunities here in Michigan, and know that there are more to come. The researchers, engineers and technologists here, combined with an unbeatable work ethic and wealth of ingenuity, make early-stage Michigan companies a winning investment opportunity.”

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January 17, 2013 @ 5:48 am

Michigan Accelerator Fund-I Invests $750,000 in Swift Biosciences

Innovative company develops enabling technologies for genomics and personalized medicine

Grand Rapids, Mich., January 15, 2013– Michigan Accelerator Fund I (MAF-1) has made a $750,000 Series A-1 investment in Swift Biosciences, Inc. This is the seventh company MAF-1 has funded since the fund’s inception in 2010, and the first investment since the fund closed at $15.1M in August of 2012.

The investment in Swift Biosciences continues MAF-1’s strategic focus to invest in Michigan-based, early stage, life science technology companies. Located in Ann Arbor, Swift Biosciences is commercializing genetic testing technology to advance the field of genomics and personalized medicine. To date, Swift has launched a product suite referred to as myT® Primers, which enable detection of mutated cells related to melanoma with extreme sensitivity. This opens the door for test specimens to be collected as blood samples instead of tissue, which may allow for earlier detection.  In 2013, Swift will launch a new line of products focused on genome sequencing.

“We are thrilled to be investing in Swift at an extremely timely juncture, as their technology is forecast to hit the market right when the need will be the greatest,” said Dale Grogan, Managing Director, MAF-1. “We look forward to our investment realizing solid returns in two to three years, if not sooner.”

Launched in 2010 with the backing of several Michigan-based individual investors, MAF-1 now joins Houston-based Mercury Fund as Swift’s only institutional investors. The total invested in Swift to date is $6.15M. The latest funding will support product development, patent filing and prosecution, and direct sales and marketing to key laboratory leaders.

David Olson, CEO, Swift Biosciences added, “The inclusion of MAF-1 as a Michigan-based investor is highly encouraging, and provides us with additional financial runway as we launch new products in 2013. They are a welcome addition to the Swift team.”

About MAF-1

The purpose of Michigan Accelerator Fund I is to achieve significant, long-term capital appreciation for its investors through investments in Michigan based, early stage companies predominantly in the healthcare and life science technology sectors. Learn more at www.maf-1.com.

About SWIFT BIOSCIENCES

Swift Biosciences is a small, fast-moving company focused on developing innovative, enabling technologies for genomics and personalized medicine.  Swift’s myT Primer technology was developed to provide both high sensitivity and specificity in mutation detection, making it ideal for cancer research and diagnostic applications.  Multiple Next Generation Sequencing products are staged for commercial launch in 2013. Learn more at www.swiftbiosci.com.

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January 8, 2013 @ 8:04 am

Start Garden and Grand Angels Group Invest $1.25 Million In Local Tech Company Blue Medora

Start Garden makes largest single investment to date, $500,000

 

Grand Rapids, Mich., January 4, 2013 — Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects ideas each week for $5,000 investments, announced today they have invested $500,000 in Grand Rapids-based Blue Medora. This is Start Garden’s largest investment in a single entity since its launch in April of 2012. Grand Angels, a regional group of angel investors, also announced that 20 of their members will also be making investments in Blue Medora which cumulatively equal an additional $750,000, bringing the total amount raised to fund the startup to $1.25 million.

 

Blue Medora is a software development company specializing in the development, implementation, and support of software products for the enterprise systems management marketplace.

 

Blue Medora’s primary focus is on the development and distribution of product enhancements for IBM Tivoli Monitoring (ITM) and Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM). Blue Medora provides a range of validated/certified integration products that extend the monitoring and management capabilities of IBM and Oracle’s market-leading systems management platforms to the world’s leading cloud, virtualization, ERP, CRM, enterprise directory, and messaging software.

 

According to Nathan Owen, founder of Blue Medora, Fortune 500 companies around the world depend on Oracle and IBM software to run enormously complex operations. The data generated from these robust systems can create a secondary problem: which data is meaningful to make informed decisions? Blue Medora provides a much-needed solution for those tasked with navigating complex environments to make decisions.

 

In addition to offering very early support for projects through its weekly $5,000 investments, Start Garden staff has also been actively fielding questions and meeting with later stage companies. On Start Garden’s website companies that are well into their startup phase are encouraged to contact Mike Morin, one of Start Garden’s investment analysts, with questions about funding consideration beyond the $5,000 level. Blue Medora is the latest in a series of recent technology investments from Start Garden in companies that did not enter the program through their submission process on startgarden.com.

 

“Start Garden is designed to close the funding gap between $0-$500,000 for startup companies,” says Rick DeVos, founder of Start Garden. “We’re known for providing very early support to projects that are not even considered startups. With the Blue Medora investment, we invested aggressively into seasoned entrepreneurs already working in a space with huge potential that they know very well. It’s the aggression to jump on opportunities, whether it’s $5,000 or $500,000, which is vital to making our region a great place for entrepreneurs.”

 

Founded in 2004 with 44 members currently, Grand Angels is a West Michigan-based angel investment group which invests in early stage companies in Michigan. In nine years the group has invested nearly $11 million in 25 different companies ($2.5 million in 2012). Its investments have ranged from $50,000 to $1.6 million per deal, sometimes over multiple rounds of investment per startup. The group has partnered with many early stage venture capital funds and angel groups to grow the entrepreneurship climate in Michigan and to attract and retain creative talent in the State. “We are pleased to partner with Start Garden on this investment in Blue Medora and look forward to partnering with them in more deals in the future,” says Jody Vanderwel, President of Grand Angels. Information on the application process for Grand Angels can be found on their website, www.grandangels.org.

 

Blue Medora’s founder, Nathan Owen was previously a member of the IBM Tivoli Business Development team responsible for Alliance management of IBM Tivoli’s SAP and Oracle relationships. Owen was also a member of IBM Tivoli due diligence teams for software acquisitions. In 2001 Owen co-founded and served as Sr. Vice President of Sales and Business Development of OctetString, a software firm focused on the development of an innovative virtual directory server (an identity management solution), that was acquired by Oracle in 2005. Earlier this year, Owen was selected by IBM as one of 20 inaugural worldwide “IBM Champions”, of the IBM Tivoli software group, recognizing innovative thought leaders in the technical community.

 

Start Garden said another factor to invest heavily in Blue Medora was the existing partnerships the startup already has in place. Owen’s industry expertise and background combined with the expertise of local software development firm Atomic Object, an early investor in Blue Medora, helped the company secure partnerships with technology leaders IBM, Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Citrix.

 

“We are extremely grateful for the support that Start Garden and Grand Angels have provided for Blue Medora,” said Owen. “We feel that we have a significant opportunity to build a successful business and to be able to find others right here in our own community that share that belief and are willing to provide the resources to help make it possible is pretty remarkable.”

 

About Start Garden

Start Garden is an unconventional venture capital fund that invests in over a hundred ideas a year in small increments. The program brings financial, intellectual and social capital to ideas at the earliest stage by connecting them to the resources of an entire region. Ideas for new businesses can be submitted anytime to startgarden.com. Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is founded by Rick DeVos whose past projects include ArtPrize, 5×5 Night, Momentum and Spout.com.

 

About Grand Angels

Grand Angels is committed to utilizing its financial, intellectual and networking capital to foster the success of growing companies and to enhance the economic development of Western Michigan. Grand Angels will make investment that will have a positive effect on our region through business growth, job creation, and the attraction and retention of local talent. Investment with impact will be the result of engaged, experienced business leaders providing both capital and wisdom to entrepreneurs. The organization is part of the Angel Capital Association, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which provides leadership and resources for angel investors across the country.

 

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August 4, 2011 @ 11:19 am

Member Press Release: Hopen Life Science Ventures Fund II Reaches $25 Million Initial Close and Announces First Four Investments

Fund II is second life science fund managed by West Michigan-based Hopen Life Science Ventures

Grand Rapids, Mich.– Hopen Life Science Ventures, a Grand Rapids-based life science venture capital fund, announced an initial close of $25 million for its second fund, Hopen Life Science Fund II.  The fund will remain open to new limited partners with a target fund size of $50 million expected by January 2012.  Hopen Life Science Ventures Managing Director Mark Olesnavage anticipates making 8-12 investments over the course of the fund in drug, medical device, diagnostic, or related technology opportunities.  The new fund is the second life science fund managed by Hopen Life Science Ventures; Fund I, launched in 2006, is a closely held life science fund with seven companies in its portfolio.

“Similar in focus to our first fund, Fund II will target early-stage life science companies with remarkable innovations that lead to improved healthcare outcomes and/or reduced healthcare system costs.  We primarily focus on companies in the Midwest, pragmatically leveraging the firm’s existing local, regional, national and global life science resource network to support our portfolio companies,” commented Olesnavage.

The Fund II team has already completed four new investments, which Olesnavage calls “the type of market-leading innovators we expect to fill our Fund II portfolio.”  They are:

  • Metabolic Solutions Development Company (MSDC), a Kalamazoo, Mich.-based developer of novel therapeutics for metabolic diseases based on a novel mitochondrial target; its first two drugs for type 2 diabetes are currently in ongoing phase 2 clinical trials.  www.msdrx.com
  • NeoChord, based in Minnetonka, Minn., a medical device innovator aimed at mitral valve repair in the heart; its device is in an ongoing clinical trial in Europe.  www.neochord.com
  • Transcorp Spine, a Grand Rapids medical device company providing solutions for compressions of the cervical spine; The Company is in the beginning stages of developing regional commercial sales. www.transcorpspine.com
  • Intervention Insights, a bioinformatics platform designing personalized cancer therapies based in Grand Rapids.  www.interventioninsights.com

About Hopen Life Science Ventures

Located in Grand Rapids, MI, Hopen Life Science Ventures invests in early- to mid-stage companies that are based on remarkable life science or related healthcare innovation.  Hopen Life Science Fund II has been formed to meet the continuing demand for underserved opportunities in the life sciences and healthcare sector with a concentration in the Midwest region.  Fund II achieved its first close in January 2011 and has made four investments to date.  The Fund will remain open to new Limited Partners until January 2012.   www.hopenls.com


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July 18, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

Member News Release: West Michigan WiMAX company AzulStar secures funding from Grand Angels, Blue Water Angels

Deal marks the first time two Michigan angel groups have co-invested

Grand Rapids, Mich.– Two Michigan angel groups have co-invested in fixed WiMAX owner/operator AzulStar, which teams with leading companies, governmental agencies and private investors to offer very-high bandwidth wireless data, voice and video services.  West Michigan angel investing group Grand Angels and Midland-based Blue Water Angels, along with two individual investors, provided the funds, which will be used to help the company expand their high bandwidth wireless broadband services to Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“We’re excited about AzulStar because you ‘invest in the jockey’, and we really like Tyler (van Houwelingen, CEO of AzulStar),” said Jody Vanderwel, President of Grand Angels.  “His passion, work ethic and vision are evident, and he knows the broadband space inside and out.  A few of our members were already investors in AzulStar, so we had the opportunity to watch the company’s growth for quite a while.”

AzulStar leverages a combination of licensed and unlicensed wireless technology to deliver very high bandwidth wireless broadband services.  AzulStar’s new licensed spectrum 4G fixed WiMAX (802.16) networks deliver speeds up to 1Gbps Symmetric for business customers, with uptimes over 99.995%.

The AzulStar investment marks the nineteenth deal Grand Angels has completed and its thirteenth active portfolio company.  Grand Angels has invested over $1 million in growing companies this year alone, with a total $7.3 million invested since the group’s inception in 2004.

“Collaborating with the Grand Angels has increased our deal flow and brought complementary perspectives to our business practices, allowing us to multiply our resources and advance the company strategy quickly,” said Joe Asiala, Founding Member of the BlueWater Angels.  “Both Grand Angels and Blue Water Angels are highly respected groups, and the energy they have created by investing in AzulStar has brought investors off the sidelines.  It’s been a great partnership so far.”

AzulStar CEO, Tyler van Houwelingen added, “We are thrilled to partner with the Grand Angels and Blue Water Angels and are excited to have smart, institutional capital flowing into Michigan technology firms.  We see a tremendous amount of growth happening in wireless broadband and are very well positioned to capitalize on it going forward.”

About AzulStar, Inc.

Established in 2003, AzulStar Inc. is a privately held provider of 4G wireless Internet & communications services to commercial and government customers. Leveraging open standards wireless technology and an all IP wireless architecture, AzulStar delivers unprecedented levels performance and reliability.  AzulStar has pioneered the market for wireless broadband access and won awards for its innovation and service quality.  With carrier-class networks in the top markets of Michigan and New Mexico, AzulStar offers a variety of high value services including high-speed Internet Access, managed wireless networking and intelligent transportation.  www.azulstar.com

About Grand Angels
Grand Angels is committed to using its financial, intellectual, and networking capital to foster the success of emerging companies and to enhance the economic development of West Michigan. Grand Angels makes investments that have a positive effect on our region through business growth, job creation, and the attraction and retention of local talent.
In addition to investing in primarily early stage companies, Grand Angels continues to be very active in its effort to create a climate for the success of entrepreneurs in West Michigan. Many of its members have served on panels, judged pitch competitions, and mentored entrepreneurs through Momentum, the Hope Entrepreneurship Initiative, and the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.  www.grandangels.org
About Blue Water Angels
BlueWater Angels, LLC, is an angel investment group with a significant amount of capital available to invest in promising companies on an annual basis. Their governing board and officers include representation from multiple Michigan counties.  Membership is based on application, and includes a select group of high net worth individuals and organizations interested in investing capital in promising companies with the expectation of receiving a substantial return on their investment(s). New members must be sponsored by an existing BWA member. www.bluewaterangels.com
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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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