October 24, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

Outgoing MVCA Chair Tim Petersen: VC in Michigan Bucking National Trend, Inspiring Startup Culture in State

Tim Petersen sees VC as the spotlight that’s making Michigan shine bright in the national landscape.


“Venture capitalists in Michigan continue to grow in an environment where, in other parts of the country, the industry is contracting,” said a Managing Director of Arboretum Ventures and the outgoing chair of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. “Nationally, statistics are down, but in Michigan, we’ve accelerated venture under management and are getting more deals done compared to most of the rest of the country. What’s exciting is that people – entrepreneurs and other VCs – are taking notice of what’s happening here.”


Now on its third fund, Petersen and his partners have led Arboretum Ventures to incredible success. The organization is a prime example of what’s exciting about Michigan’s VC community right now.


“Arboretum’s core portfolio companies in the third fund, including Tangent Medical Devices, ArborMetrix and NeuMoDx, are looking very promising,” said Petersen, “and they’re all based in Michigan. We don’t just invest in Michigan, but the Michigan companies are really exciting.”


“In the past year, one of our companies, Esperion Therapeutics, went public,” Petersen added. “Two years ago we helped found ArborMetrix and it has outgrown its start-up space and now has prime office space in downtown Ann Arbor.”


In addition to his work at Arboretum, Petersen has served as the chair of the Michigan Venture Capital Association for the last two years. He’s quick to point to the organization’s greatest accomplishment: Bringing up the next generation of venture capitalists and keeping the industry ahead of the national curve.


“The launch of the Michigan Venture Capital Association Venture Fellows Program has been very exciting,” Petersen said. “It has struck a chord with our VC members, and they’re readily utilizing the program. We weren’t sure what to expect when we launched it with MEDC support less than two years ago, and it’s exciting that it has really taken off. Having spent time with the fellows, it’s easy to see that there’s a desire to be in this profession, in Michigan.”


To Petersen, Michigan’s future only looks brighter when considering what’s yet to come. He’s particularly inspired by the growing ranks of serial entrepreneurs in Michigan, and the potential for that trend going forward.  “In recent years, there have been more and more entrepreneurs that are exiting and then starting a new venture,” he said.  “When I talk to students about being an entrepreneur, I always say it’s a profession – it’s a lifelong gig. The good news is that experience makes it easier to grow a successful company, which is why serial entrepreneurs are so important.”


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August 26, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

Michigan Venture Capital Association Hires Emily Heintz as New Associate Director

The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) recently named Emily Heintz as its new associate director.  In this role, Heintz will work to actively create connections between venture capitalists and promote the state’s entrepreneurial and investment communities.


“Bringing Emily on board strengthens MVCA’s position in the state’s entrepreneurial eco-system,” said Carrie Jones, MVCA executive director.  “Emily brings valuable experience and connections to MVCA.  Her leadership and expertise will directly benefit MVCA’s members and support its mission to grow and sustain a vibrant venture capital community in Michigan.”


Heintz brings administrative, finance and economic development experience to the organization.  Prior to joining MVCA, she was with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), where she served as an equity capital markets associate.


During her tenure with MEDC, Heintz designed, implemented, and managed capital services programs, including direct investments made in venture capital firms around the state.  She also worked to build and maintain relationships with private equity groups, commercial banks, entrepreneurs, and business development support groups.


Heintz also previously worked for Ann Arbor SPARK, where she was an accounting manager.


Heintz earned her bachelor of arts degree and her masters of science degree in accounting from Michigan State University.

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July 2, 2013 @ 7:17 am

Public Hearing: Amending Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund Guidelines

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) invites you to the Public Hearing on Amending Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund (PMVMF) Guidelines to be held at the MEDC (300 N. Washington Sq, Lansing, 48913) from 2-4 p.m. on July 17th at the Lake Superior room.


The MEDC is looking for comments and suggestions on how to improve the Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund Program and would immensely appreciate your feedback. If you are not able to make it in person, please send your thoughts via email: PMVMF@michigan.org.


Below is a summary of the proposed changes. The notice is live on the website as well.


The PMVMF Program has been in effect for over a year, during which time the MEDC Staff has been able to test some of the assumptions in the guidelines. The investment community and companies have also provided significant feedback, all of which are incorporated in the topics to be discussed in at the public hearing.


·         JEC: Under the MCL 125.2088k(3)(a), which was effective May 30, 2012, all evaluations must be performed by a JEC. Staff recommends receiving public comments for changing the current evaluation requirement from independent third party peer review to JEC.


·         Eligible round size: Currently companies are eligible to apply for PMVMF only if they have raised $3 million or less in investments prior to the PMVMF application and are raising no more than $3 million in the round in which the PMVMF is asked to participate. Staff proposes increasing the current prior investment ceiling and current round maximum investment amount eligibility.


·         Catch-Up Awards: Staff proposes allowing a catch-up award for those companies that did not receive the maximum award amount under the PMVMF. If a company is awarded with less than $500,000, the company will have the opportunity to apply for the remaining balance by providing a supplemental term sheet to the initial term sheet. The “Catch-Up” will match the same terms as the investors as provided in the supplemental term sheet, including equity and convertible bridge loans. The Catch-Up Awards will not be reviewed by the JEC and may be approved by the MSF Fund Manager.


·         Follow-on-Fund Awards: Companies will have the opportunity to submit multiple applications for a Follow-On investment out of the PMVMF so as long as the combined investment amount does not exceed $500,000. The Follow-on investment will follow the same participation guidelines as the initial investment and will match the same terms as the investors, including equity and convertible bridge loans. Follow-on-Fund Awards will follow the standard process as initial awards approved under the PMVMF Guidelines.


Notice of Public Hearing for July 17, 2013

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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 20, 2013 @ 11:10 am

MVCA Research Report: Michigan Jumps to 15th for VC Activity, $242M Invested in 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MAY 20, 2013 – ANN ARBOR, MICH. — The Michigan Venture Capital Association’s annual research report, a compilation and analysis of investment activity, shows that 2012 was a banner year for venture capital (VC) in the state.  Compared to the national trend of declining VC funds and activity, funding activity and fund sizes in Michigan continued strong and steady growth last year.  In 2012, Michigan jumped from 25th to 15th in the national VC ranking — one of the largest increases in venture funding last year.


“The data reported in MVCA’s research report tell a compelling story about Michigan’s success in growing and nurturing an innovation-based economy,” said Carrie Jones, MVCA executive director.  “The venture capital community in Michigan continues to mature, with more VC under management among firms here than ever before as well as a steady increase in out-of-state funds establishing a presence in the state.  In tandem, Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to mature and strengthen, and more companies than ever before are attracting VC funding.”


The MVCA data shows that there are 29 venture capital firms doing business in Michigan. In 2012, venture capital firms invested $242 million in 33 deals in Michigan.  An additional $12.5 million in a combination of angel and pre-seed funding was invested into these same deals.


The state has 106 active companies that have received venture capital or angel investment. While the majority of these companies are in the life sciences, the number of companies in other sectors are growing, most notably those focused on information technology.


Growth in Michigan venture funds has been steadily trending upward.  In 2012, the amount invested by VCs, average fund size, capital under management all increased, as did available capital for new investments and the number of investment professionals. This growth has, in part, come from out-of-state funds opening offices in Michigan to tap into Michigan’s growing deal flow.


“Attracting outside investment to Michigan infuses the economy with new money that can help a company grow here,” Jones added.  “Entrepreneurs are taking notice of this trend; thanks to the successful venture community in Michigan, more entrepreneurs are considering the state as a destination to locate and grow their business.”


About the Michigan Venture Capital Association

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 private venture capital funds, corporate venture capital 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. For more information, visit www.michiganvca.org.



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April 9, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

Study of Michigan’s Capital Markets RFI Deadline April 15

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is preparing to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a study covering the entire capital continuum in Michigan. The study will be designed to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the capital markets in Michigan.


Within the MEDC, the Capital Markets group is responsible for increasing the availability of capital for Michigan companies, primarily through market-driven strategies that work directly with private sources of capital. When state intervention is appropriate the MEDC works directly with private capital sources in the target area(s) to craft and execute viable solutions.


Generally, the RFP will seek proposals for a study focusing on the following areas:

  • Capital available for operating companies at all stages of the Capital Life Cycle
    o Including pre-seed, seed, angel, venture, and private equity, mezzanine and bank/bond capital
  • Capital available for investment real estate including pre-development, project equity, mezzanine, construction, and permanent debt

Click here for more information and guidelines.

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March 8, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

Kevin Terrasi Joins Plymouth Management Company As Partner

We are pleased to announce that Kevin Terrasi has joined Plymouth Management Company (PMC) as
Partner effective March 1, 2013. Kevin has worked closely with PMC since our investment in Pump
Engineering Inc. (PEI) in 2008. In 2011 Kevin joined the firm as an Executive in Residence and he has
worked closely with several of the portfolio companies backed by Plymouth Venture Partners Fund II.


Kevin began his career at PEI in 1996 as a Michigan State University engineering co-op student. During
his tenure at the Monroe Michigan firm, Kevin was instrumental in developing a unique custom design
and manufacturing process utilizing state of the art computer aided software. By doing so he and the
firm’s founder, Robert Oklejas, were able to establish PEI as an industry leader in high efficiency pumps
and energy recovery equipment.


Kevin was promoted to Vice President of Engineering and a member of the Board of Directors at PEI,
where he successfully developed and executed plans that resulted in rapid growth. He was an active
member of the divestiture team that sold PEI to Energy Recovery Incorporated (Nasdaq: ERII) in 2009.
For 2 years following the sale, Kevin served as Vice President of the Turbo Machine Division at ERII.


Plymouth’s Managing Partner, Mark Horne, commented, “I’m delighted to welcome Kevin to the firm as
our newest Partner. His great instincts, experience and skills are well suited for our regional growth
stage investment strategy. As we look ahead to our own future growth plans, Kevin adds greatly to our
operational depth.” Horne added, “We’re also grateful to the Michigan Venture Capital Association and
the MEDC who jointly sponsored Kevin’s role as Executive in Residence. The EIR Program allows venture
firms like ours to retain talented executives like Kevin in the state of Michigan.”


About Plymouth Venture Partners II, L.P.
Fund II is a follow-on fund to Plymouth Venture Partners Fund I. PVP I became fully invested in 2009
after completing investments in 29 companies. Plymouth Venture Partners II invests in growth stage
companies in the Great Lakes region. For more information, please visit www.plymouthvc.com.

About Plymouth Management Company
Plymouth Management Company is the manager for Plymouth Venture Partners I and Plymouth
Venture Partners II. The company has four partners, Mark Horne, Ian Bund, Jeff Barry, and Kevin
Terrasi. It is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For more information, please visit

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January 18, 2013 @ 9:23 am

A Crash Course in VC | Sam Hogg, Open Prairie Ventures

This December I had the privilege of attending the 38th annual Venture Capital Institute in Atlanta.  VCI has served over the years as the de facto starting point for VC’s young and old who want to very quickly broaden their network and hone their skills in our trade.  Thanks to the generous support of the MVCA and MEDC, Michigan was extremely well represented with eight attendees – more than any other state.

Upon arriving we were immediately thrown into a speed networking event with folks from a variety of backgrounds – venture capital, economic development, banking, and corporate.  It was a great mesh, really, considering our industry is touched by most all of those fields.  The coursework consisted of case studies, ethics discussions, deal-making strategies, legal, and more.  Guest speakers from around the country participated, including legendary billionaire VC Pitch Johnson (yes, his name is Pitch) who at age 80+ still pilots his own private jet from Palo Alto every year to contribute to the next generation of  VC’s.

It became very apparent during day one that the aggressive schedule would not permit much free time to explore Atlanta and socialize.  Against all odds, however, the Michigan crew led the charge one evening and dragged our classmates and now friends out to check on a local barbecue pit and try some true southern cocktails.  It was great to get to know these attendees beyond a typical case study role.

On the flight home it reminded me a lot of my regular visits out to the Bay Area over the last four years.  While always exhausted (maybe the red-eye flights contributed), I often thought how beneficial it was to be building these networks outside of the state.  All eight of us came back armed with new ideas and connections that will benefit not only our careers but the strength of the overall innovation network in Michigan.  It is truly amazing that we have such forward-thinking programs like the Venture Fellows and my experience at VCI reinforced my decision to participate.  Thanks much for the great opportunity.

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December 16, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

MEDC Releases Business Valuation Services RFI

“The purpose of this Request for Information (“RFI”) is to request information from interested parties regarding services to conduct business valuations on early stage technology companies. The MEDC is looking to receive information from companies that have expertise in early stage technology company valuation practices, along with valuation methods utilized, and pricing models for providing those services.”


Read more about the RFI.

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July 11, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

MVCA Programs to Attract Investment, Entrepreneur Talent Gaining Traction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JULY 11, 2012 — ANN ARBOR, MICH. — The Michigan Venture Capital Association’s (MVCA) programs to develop the state’s investment community are helping venture capitalists and their portfolio companies attract and retain top talent.


As part of its Michigan Venture Fellows Program, MVCA recently placed fellows at member firms Detroit Venture Partners and Open Prairie Ventures.  The organization also awarded funding for CEO Placements to ArborMetrix, a firm backed by MVCA member Arboretum Ventures, and ProNai Therapeutics, backed by MVCA member Apjohn Ventures. MVCA member firms Plymouth Ventures and RPM Ventures received funding through the Executives in Residence program.


“Finding, recruiting and developing top talent is a critical need for both investment firms and their portfolio companies,” said MVCA board chair and Arboretum Ventures managing director Tim Petersen.  “MVCA’s programs to help VCs and venture-backed companies fill a void while shining a light on the opportunities that exist in our state for both investment professionals and C-level talent that want to work for entrepreneurial ventures.”


The MVCA’s Michigan Venture Fellows, CEO Placement and Executives in Residence programs are funded by the Venture Upstart II allocation from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The Michigan Venture Fellows Program is intended to create the next generation of venture capitalists and investment professionals in Michigan.  The Executives in Residence and CEO Placement programs are designed to support the eventual placement of an executive into a portfolio company’s operations post-investment or find and hire a qualified CEO candidate for a portfolio company.


Jared Stasik, a recent graduate of UC-Berkeley, and Sam Hogg, former director of venture development at NextEnergy, are participating in the MVCA Fellows program.  Stasik is joining Detroit Venture Partners and Hogg is joining Open Prairie Ventures.


ArborMetrix and ProNai Therapeutics received funding CEO Placements awards from MVCA.  The funding will be used to execute CEO searches, which both firms are currently conducting.


Plymouth Ventures welcomed Kevin Terrasi and RPM Ventures welcomed Kurt Skifstad into their firms for a period of deal sourcing and advisement, with an ultimate goal of placing these executives in a leadership role at a portfolio company.  Terrasi and Skifstad both bring operational experience to their venture firm sponsors.


Michigan venture capital firms participating in the Michigan Venture Fellows program receive assistance in hiring an associate.  Michigan venture capital firms may apply for a loan award to assist with the first year salary of an Executive in Residence or a CEO for a Michigan-based portfolio company.  The CEO Placement loan award may also be applied toward the recruiting fees incurred in finding an entrepreneurial CEO.


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 private venture capital funds, corporate venture capital 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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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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