February 20, 2014 @ 6:23 am

Drive Capital Recognizes Benefits of Doing Business in the Midwest

There is great venture capital news for the Midwest. Drive Capital has recognized that the next great technology company could come from right here.


“Silicon Valley is great,” he says. “But everyone forgets that 40 years ago it was just apple fields and orchards. When we look around the Midwest, we see a lot of the raw ingredients for what could potentially be a great economic driver for tech, which over time will create great industries.”


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January 8, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

Delphinus Gains 510(k) Clearance For Breast Ultrasound Tomography

Delphinus Medical Technologies, Inc., innovator and developer of a new ultrasound platform that images the entire breast, has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the SoftVue™ whole breast ultrasound tomography system, approved for diagnostic breast imaging.


Delphinus is the first company to design and manufacture a breast ultrasound system that utilizes ring transducer technology to transmit and receive ultrasound signals. Traditional hand-held ultrasound and automated breast ultrasound systems obtain only reflected echoes returning in the direction of the linear transducer. By contrast, SoftVue captures reflection echoes from all directions around the breast and gathers transmitted signals coming through the breast, something no other ultrasound system, currently available, can do.


“We believe that the opportunity now is better than ever for SoftVue’s ultrasound system to advance the state-of-the-art in breast cancer diagnostics,” commented Paul McCreadie, managing director of Arboretum Ventures and Chairman of the Board of Delphinus. “The shortcomings of existing modalities are widely known, and SoftVue’s ability to provide early and accurate diagnostic information without the risk of radiation exposure will serve to improve women’s health.”


With the breast suspended in warm water and a short exam time of one to two minutes per breast, the exam is safe, fast and comfortable.  While traditional ultrasound looks at only a limited area of breast tissue, SoftVue provides a complete map of the whole breast.  And unlike traditional ultrasound where the outcome of the exam is dependent on operator skill and experience, the exam is consistent and uniform, removing user variability.


From Mark Morsfield, CEO of Delphinus, “We are pleased to receive this clearance from the FDA for our innovative technology. With an experienced team dedicated to advancing breast imaging and women’s health, Delphinus is committed to assisting medical professionals better define and diagnose breast disease, while establishing a better patient experience that can be available for all women, regardless of age and without the concern of radiation or discomfort.”



About Delphinus Medical Technologies, Inc.

Delphinus Medical Technologies, Inc., a Michigan-based company, is a spin-off of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute (KCI). The patented technology is a whole breast ultrasound tomography imaging device that provides no radiation, no compression, and is not dependent on operator skills. Delphinus Medical Technologies holds the UST intellectual property, transferred by KCI through a worldwide license to commercialize the SoftVue technology. For more information, visit www.delphinusmt.com.


About Arboretum Ventures

Arboretum Ventures is a venture capital firm specializing in the healthcare sector. Founded in 2002, the firm manages $235 million in capital and has invested in more than 30 companies, five of which have exited with an aggregate valuation of approximately $1 billion. Arboretum invests throughout the United States, with a preference for Midwest opportunities, targeting capital efficient companies that can meaningfully reduce healthcare costs in key areas of expertise: devices, diagnostics, services, and IT.  For more information, please visit www.arboretumvc.com.

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November 26, 2013 @ 1:33 am

Jim Adox and Venture Investors Charge Full Steam Ahead

Jim Adox and Venture Investors are charging full steam ahead in a challenging economy, and in doing so, are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible here in Michigan. Dreaming big – including the potential for a new, state-sponsored fund of funds – and being willing to work for it are setting Adox and his firm apart, and positioning them for leadership.


Adox joined Venture Investors in 2007 as a managing director and heads up its Ann Arbor office. Venture Investors, founded in 1982, is one of the leading venture capital firms in the Midwest.  It’s focused on making seed and early stage healthcare and technology investments.  With offices in Madison, Wisconsin and Ann Arbor, Venture Investors is strategically located in the backyards of the nation’s two leading public research universities. The firm is currently investing out of its fifth fund and has more than $200 million under management.


Venture Investors recently made three exciting investments, UpTo, Reshape Medical and NetSocket.  UpTo, a social calendar app that’s generating a ton of buzz, is the firm’s first investment in Detroit, and one that it made in collaboration with Detroit Venture Partners. ReShape Medical is a nonsurgical weight loss company headquartered in Southern California, and NetSocket is a Plano, Texas company focused on software-defined networking solutions (SDN).


Although Venture Investors’ recent deals are diverse having just closed its fifth fund has Adox and his team particularly bullish about Michigan’s future. “It’s a really challenging environment to close funds, and we’re pleased we were able to accomplish it,” he said. “Michigan offers some unique resources, such as the Venture Michigan Fund, that make choosing to raise VC and make investments here appealing. There are a lot more VCs to do deals with and more experienced entrepreneurs, and Venture Investors has a new fund and money to invest. I’m looking forward to making a few more Michigan investments in the next year.”


Adox came to Michigan from the east coast, despite never having heard of Ann Arbor before choosing University of Michigan’s engineering school. “My familiarity with Ann Arbor was tied to Bob Seger’s song about Ann Arbor,  ‘Main Street’,” he said. “Once I got here, though, I didn’t leave. After graduation, I became a gear head in automotive world through an executive engineering program at Chrysler.  I left that position and returned to U-M, where I earned my MBA.”


He left U-M with more than an MBA, though. It was during his MBA program when he was introduced to VC through professors David Brophy, director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance, Andy Lawlor, Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Strategy and Director, Global MBA Projects, and Tom Kinnear, the Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies.  Adox maintains these transformative relationships today.


Adox, who was recently elected chair of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, sees assets like the Venture Michigan Fund, a fund of funds managed by Credit Suisse, as critical to the state’s future success. He also sees the state’s burgeoning entrepreneurial network as a strong indicator of future success.


“The more I’ve gotten involved with MVCA, the more I’ve seen that there’s an opportunity to improve Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Adox explained. “I want to play a role in that. I’ve been here 15 years and have a good idea of where we’ve been and where we can go. I want to do my part to improve the opportunities for everyone – entrepreneurs and VCs alike.”


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September 10, 2013 @ 7:02 am

Michigan Companies Make Forbes Venture Player List

Three Michigan companies, and MVCA members, are considered among the top venture players in the midwest.


(excerpted from Forbes article)

“As entrepreneurs all over the country and the world make the leap into startup life, investors are keeping step to finance them—hoping to own a piece of a company that could yield buckets of cash. Venture capital firms have been circling innovation capitals like Silicon Valley and New York City for years but have recently been forced to take notice of other regions where young companies are putting down roots.”


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February 25, 2013 @ 1:20 am

Allos Ventures Announces Final Closing of Allos II

Allos Ventures is pleased to announce the final closing of Allos II, a $40 million venture capital fund targeting investments in early-stage technology companies in the Midwest. Allos II is led by Don Aquilano, John McIlwraith, and Dov Rosenberg and builds on the success of our first fund, which invested in AssureRx Health, BidPal Networks, Scale Computing, and Weblink International.
The investment strategy of Allos II continues the successful Allos I strategy, including:

  • Industry Focus.  Companies in high-growth sectors where the managing directors have operating and investing experience – primarily software and technology-enabled business services, but also specialty healthcare providers, later-stage medical devices and diagnostics, and advanced manufacturing.  No pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.
  • Stage Focus.  Early-stage companies with a validated product/service and revenue beyond the pilot/beta stage but which are a year or more from sustained profitability. Preference for investments in first institutional financing rounds.  No start-ups.
  • Geographic Focus.  Companies within a four-hour drive of Cincinnati or Indianapolis, which better enables us to support portfolio companies.
  • Investment Size.  Initial investments in companies are expected to be approximately $2 million, in rounds between $3 and $6 million, with reserves for follow-on investments.  As the lead investor, Allos will develop syndicates that include other early-stage venture capital funds and individuals with industry expertise.

We and our portfolio companies benefit from an advisory board and limited partner group that includes successful technology company founders and executives such as David Becker (First Internet Bank of Indiana), Scott Dorsey (Exact Target), Bill Godfrey (Aprimo), Ray Henderson (Blackboard), Mark Hill (Baker Hill), Scott Jones (Boston Technology, Gracenote, Cha Cha), Bill Oesterle (Angie’s List), and Carl Sparks (Travelocity), among others.
For more information, visit www.allosventures.com or contact any of us.

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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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December 19, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

Mahendra Ramsinghani Contributes VC Article to Forbes

(Excerpted from Forbes)

12/13/2012 @ 9:46AM

Can venture capital fund-of-funds boost innovation and regional growth? Several companies in the Midwest are experimenting, including most recently Proctor and Gamble. This consumer behemoth with over $80 billion in annual revenues, spends over $2 billion each year on its research and development. An army of over a thousand PhDs are scattered in 27 labs, trying to find better ways to whiten your teeth or add that much-needed gloss to your hair. The company spends as much as $500 million a year on consumer research alone.

Modeled after Michigan’s four-year old Renaissance Venture Capital Fund of funds, which has invested in ten venture funds across the country, Cintrifuse plans to invest in venture funds that demonstrate a relevant fit to its ecosystem. Christopher Rizik, CEO of Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, says while it may seem challenging, such models can create financial returns while making the regional ecosystem even better.

Read the rest of the article.

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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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