October 12, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

MVCA Member 5AM invests in Michigan Start-up

Atterocor Launches Innovative Company Focused on Accelerated Development of Treatment for Adrenal Cancer; Secures $16 Million Series A Financing

Life Sciences Investors Frazier Healthcare and 5AM Ventures Lead the Round

Ann Arbor, Michigan – August 3, 2012 – Atterocor, Inc., a company developing an innovative therapy for adrenal cancer, today announced a $16 million Series A venture capital financing. Frazier Healthcare and 5AM Ventures led the round and proceeds from the financing will support Atterocor’s accelerated development of its lead program.

“We are excited to launch Atterocor with this Series A funding, which will enable us to rapidly and efficiently advance our lead program to the clinic,” said Julia Owens, Ph.D., founder, president and chief executive officer of Atterocor. “Adrenal cancer is a rare disease for which there are very limited treatment options and a critical patient need. Now that we have secured financing for this program, we will continue to focus on achieving key corporate and clinical development milestones and look forward to providing updates around our future progress.”

Joining Dr. Owens as founders of the Company are Raili Kerppola, Ph.D., MBA, who serves as chief operating officer and Gary Hammer, M.D., Ph.D., who is the Millie Schembechler Professor of Adrenal Cancer, director of the endocrine oncology program and director of the center for organogenesis at the University of Michigan and will serve as a scientific advisor to
the Company.

Adrenal cancer is often diagnosed in the late stages of disease when there is a very poor patient prognosis. This form of cancer is rare with approximately 600 patients diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Current treatment options are extremely limited and often ineffective and poorly
tolerated in many patients.

About Atterocor, Inc.
Atterocor is a drug development company focused on novel therapies for adrenal cancer. The Company launched in 2012 with a Series A financing led by top-tier life sciences investors.

Media Contact:
Katie Wilson
Pure Communications


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June 22, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

U-M Venture Accelerator Welcomes MVCA

Venture capitalists will have more direct, regular access to University of Michigan startups when the Michigan Venture Capital Association opens a collaboration office at U-M Tech Transfer’s Venture Accelerator, officials from MVCA and Tech Transfer have announced.


The organizations have a long history of collaboration. With state support, MVCA members have invested in many U-M startups, including HandyLab and Histosonics. MVCA has 200 members from 80 firms. Many of them are come from out-of-state, and office space at the university will be particularly useful for them, said Manisha Tayal, MVCA associate director.


“Our members will get to use this office space adjacent to U-M Tech Transfer to facilitate more interaction with university technologies and deal flow,” Tayal said. “It will also benefit U-M Tech Transfer and their university startups, who now will have more access to our venture capitalists and angel investors.”


Read the rest of the story here.

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May 9, 2012 @ 6:45 am

Renaissance VC’s Second Fund Has First Close At $60M

Member Renaissance Venture Capital Fund recently announced its first close on its second fund.


“When we formed the first fund, we said, ‘Let’s make a model of a new kind of venture entity, and if it works we can broaden it out later to foundations and universities and to include the whole state,’ ” said (Chris) Rizik.


Read the article from Crain’s Detroit Business.


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January 9, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

MVCA PRESS RELEASE: Two new MVCA Executive-In-Residence awardees chosen

ANN ARBOR, MICH.—Two MVCA member firms were recently awarded a loan from the organization’s Executive in Residence (EIR)/CEO Placement Program, marking the first distributions from the program’s new Venture Upstart II allocation from the MEDC.  Plymouth Ventures and RPM Ventures will welcome executives Kevin Terrasi and Kurt Skifstad respectively into their firms for a period of deal sourcing and advisement, with an ultimate goal of placing that executive in a leadership role at a portfolio company.

“We’re excited to relaunch the EIR/CEO Placement Program, which has been one of our most popular programs for members,” said Merrill Guerra, Executive Director of the MVCA.  “We’ve chosen two firms who are committed to keeping our entrepreneurial talent in the state.  This program continues to make a difference to the many executives in our market who might otherwise have had to leave the state to find compelling leadership opportunities in their entrepreneurial niches.”

Terrasi and Skifstad both bring operational experience to their venture firm sponsors. Terrasi joins Plymouth following his tenure as Vice President of Engineering and a Director of Pump Engineering, Inc./LLC (PEI), a Plymouth Ventures Fund I portfolio company which was sold in 2009 to Energy Recovery, Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII).  Skifstad, Executive-In-Residence at RPM Ventures, has founded, co-founded, or been part of the senior management team of multiple ventures, including three firms that were acquired, one that went public, and two companies that are still operating.  In addition to his operating experience, Skifstad mentored entrepreneurs in his position at University of Michigan’s Office of Technology Transfer and teaches a senior‐level class on entrepreneurship in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan and attended the Executive Education Program at U-M’s Ross School of Business.

About the MVCA EIR/CEO Placement Program
Billed as a talent attraction and retention program, the EIR/CEO Placement program was developed in 2007 to help Michigan venture firms support the eventual placement of an EIR into a portfolio company’s operations post-investment or find and hire a qualified CEO candidate for a portfolio company.  In 2011, the MVCA received a second 21st Century Jobs Fund award from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to renew its EIR and CEO Placement programs.  This grant award allows the MVCA and the MEDC to work together to foster an environment to help entrepreneurs and Michigan-based venture-backed companies succeed.  Under the EIR program, Michigan venture capital firms may apply for a loan award to assist with the first year salary of an EIR.  Under the CEO Placement program, the loan award may be used to pay the one year salary of a newly recruited CEO in one of their Michigan-based portfolio companies.  The CEO Placement loan award may also be applied toward the recruiting fees incurred in finding an entrepreneurial CEO.

For information about the MVCA EIR or CEO Placement programs, visit www.michiganvca.org or contact Merrill Guerra at 734.929.9970.

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

About Plymouth Ventures Fund II
Plymouth Ventures Fund I became fully invested in 2009 after completing investments in 29 companies. Plymouth Ventures II is actively looking to invest in strong early expansion-stage companies in the Great Lakes region. Plymouth has four partners: Mark Horne, Ian Bund, Bob Savage, and Jeff Barry, with offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. Visit www.plymouthvc.com for more information.

About RPM Ventures
RPM Ventures, founded in 2000, is a seed and early stage venture firm with $75 million under management. RPM concentrates its investing in Information Technology, taking advantage of the firm’s West Coast experience and Midwest roots.  The combination of these positions RPM to bring a grounded perspective to its investing that reflects an integration of Silicon Valley culture and relationships with Midwest values and network. RPM is a founding investor in numerous deals, often investing before there is a product or management team in place. Additionally, RPM is a valuable investing partner for companies within sectors in which the firm has specific expertise, including: Retail Automotive Software, Solutions for Industrial and Retail enterprises, E-commerce, Online Marketplaces, Cloud and Social Media Infrastructure, and spinouts from leading research universities. For more information, visit www.rpmvc.com.

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November 8, 2011 @ 1:12 am

Michigan Venture Capital Association appoints 2012 Board of Directors, recognizes members at Annual Dinner

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) celebrated a year of individual, company, and statewide industry achievement at its Annual Dinner held November 7 at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth. Over 145 members of the Michigan venture community attended the evening event, where incoming Chairman Tim Petersen introduced members of the organization’s 2012 Board of Directors. They include:
• Tim Petersen (Chairman), Arboretum Ventures
• Ron Reed (Vice Chairman/Past Chairman), Seneca Partners
• Jim Adox, (Vice-Chairman/Treasurer), Venture Investors
• Jeff Bocan, Beringea
• Hugo Braun, North Coast Technology Investors
• Pete Farner, TGap Ventures
• Mark Horne, Plymouth Management Company
• Tom Kinnear, U-M Ross School of Business Zell Lurie Institute
• Jon Lauckner, GM Ventures
• Chris Rizik, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund
• Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK
• Mina Sooch, Apjohn Ventures
• Jody Vanderwel, Grand Angels
• Ken Van Heel, Dow Chemical Company
• Donald Walker, Arbor Partners

Pete Farner, Mark Horne and Jon Lauckner are new to the board and begin three-year terms while former director John McIlwraith of Blue Chip Venture Company completes his board involvement after a six-year term.

“It was a wonderful evening that really celebrated the best of the best in our industry,” said Merrill Guerra, Executive Director of the MVCA. “We’re pleased so many venture investors, portfolio company executives, development officials and other supporters could join us, showing the growth and success the venture capital community has demonstrated in Michigan.”

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September 12, 2011 @ 9:33 am

MEMBER NEWS: Arboretum Ventures Closes Oversubscribed Third Fund at $140 million

Ann Arbor, MI (September 8, 2011) – Arboretum Ventures, a leading venture capital firm specializing in early-stage healthcare investments, today announced the final closing of its third investment fund with capital commitments totaling $140 million, above the $125 million target for the fund. The firm now has $235 million in capital under management, and has invested in 25 different healthcare companies over the past nine years. Arboretum III will be invested in healthcare companies located across the U.S., with particular focus on the Midwest, where the combination of strong investment opportunities and a relative shortage of venture capital creates the potential for outstanding investment returns.

“We are pleased to have exceeded our fundraising target for Arboretum III in what remains a challenging venture capital fundraising environment. We are gratified by the support of our returning investors, and welcome several new investors to Arboretum III,” said Managing Director Jan Garfinkle.

“In the past three years, several companies in our previous two funds have been acquired by large healthcare companies in significant cash transactions,” said Managing Director Tim Petersen. “These exits certainly boosted our fundraising efforts, allowing us to attract new institutional capital from across the U.S.”

Arboretum will continue to focus on companies developing innovative healthcare products that not only improve patient care but also reduce the cost of healthcare delivery. “The opportunity for innovation to support a more efficient and cost-effective healthcare system has never been greater,” according to Arboretum Principal Paul McCreadie. For example, Mr. McCreadie recently led Arboretum’s investment in Wellfount Corp., an Indiana-based pharmacy services provider offering a technology-enabled solution to reduce cost and improve patient safety in long-term care facilities.

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July 28, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

[From WXYZ.com]: “$25 million to support Michigan entrepreneurs”


LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced Wednesday that $25 million will be awarded to several organizations.

The state will give the money to eight organizations that will support entrepreneurs. The money will not only help the launch of new businesses throughout the state, but it will also continue to help those businesses grow over time.

“Early-stage companies require seed capital and access to a strong network of public and private resources,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “We are confident that with the funding of these organizations and the types of programs, we will continue to accelerate the growth of innovative technology start-ups in Michigan.”

The money is all part of the state’s 21st Century Jobs Fund. Started in 2005, this 10-year initiative is a Michigan Strategic Fund program that is administered by the MEDC. The primary goal is to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy.

Below is a list of some of the organizations that have received awards from the MSF on a two to three year basis:

· Ann Arbor SPARK, $10.8 million: Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, a statewide co-investment program in collaboration with all Michigan SmartZones that makes investments in pre-seed stage companies; Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, an annual business competition that awards $1 million in cash prizes to start-up and emerging companies; and the Michigan Angel Fund, a new fund that will invest in Michigan start-up companies.

· Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center (BRCC) of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, $3.8 million: Statewide pre-seed fund that will invest in life science start-ups.

· Biotechnology Business Consultants (BBC), Ann Arbor, $1.6 million: Statewide support for Michigan companies to secure funding through federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

· Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), $400,000: Creative Producers, a program that will deliver targeted business acceleration services to early and second stage businesses in the digital and media production fields.

· Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest (GLEQ), Lansing, $1.1 million: Statewide annual business plan competition that provides a network of volunteer coaching, investor talent, and entrepreneurial support programs for early stage companies.

· Inforum Center for Leadership, Detroit and Grand Rapids, $700,000: Implementation of two programs focused on high-growth women entrepreneurs: ACTiVATE, a technology commercialization curriculum, and Astia, a global network of mentors and investors..

· Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), Grand Rapids, $3.5 million: Business Accelerator Fund, a fund that can be accessed by participating business accelerators statewide to provide specialized business acceleration services and resources regardless of their client’s geography.

· Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), Ann Arbor, $3.1 million: Entrepreneur-in-Residence and CEO placement programs, to improve talent in entrepreneurial companies; the Michigan Venture Fellows program, to develop talent for Michigan venture capital firms; and the Angel Network Growth program, to strengthen angel investment networks across the state.

For more information regarding The Michigan Economic Development Corporation initiatives and programs, visit the website at www.MichiganAdvantage.org.

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July 27, 2011 @ 9:27 am

[From MLive]: Dow Chemical CEO: $130 million public-private investment is new national model for small business growth

Dow Chemical Co. Chief Executive Officer Andrew N. Liveris says Michigan is showing a new national model when it comes to government and private sector collaboration to help small businesses.

On Tuesday, Liveris, joined by Gov. Rick Snyder, Administrator Karen Mills of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon, announced $130 million investment that will provide low-interest loans to small- and medium-sized businesses. Liveris calls the collaboration between Dow Chemical, the state of Michigan and the SBA an exciting day for Michigan.

“You will soon see in the next months, Invest America accomplish work together with the shared goal of creating jobs, town by town, state by state and region by region,” said Liveris, who was recently named chair to President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

“I’m personally excited to help put our company in the forefront of making this happen to create new markets for entrepreneurial spirit.”

Of the $130 million, $15 million comes from Dow, $30 is coming from the state’s retirement system through a zero-subsidy program and $80 from the SBA.

Businesses located in economically distressed areas or those investing in clean energy are eligible for the low-interest loans.

It’s estimated that up to 20 companies will receive capital investments between $5 and $15 million, said Kelly Williams, managing director and head of Credit Suisse’s Customized Fund Investment Group.

Businesses would pay about 4 percent interest on the loan, said Williams.

Manufacturing and food distribution sectors are expected to benefit from the program, said Williams.

“Given Michigan’s leadership and extraordinary talent in manufacturing, there are a number of companies that have come to our attention,” she Williams.

She added that one business is already in line to receive funding in the food distribution sector and should be announced next month.

The funds are part of a new $1 billion national Impact Investment Fund that aims to help growing companies in high-unemployment areas.

Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon said the state expects a “solid return” on its investments, although there is no guarantee.

Snyder said the program helps Michigan be a pioneer in an entrepreneurial economy.

“We can emerge and grow quickly,” he said. “This public-private partnership with the SBA, Dow and other partners — it’s exciting to be part of this process. I’m excited for companies to see some financing.”

Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 2:10 PM     Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 2:22 PM
 By Andrew Dodson | Booth Mid-Michigan MLive.com

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July 7, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

Grand Angels create new fund to invest alongside members

West Michigan angel group Grand Angels announces the creation of Grand Angels Co-Investment Fund I, a “sidecar” fund which Grand Angels Company, LLC will manage.  The fund, whose investors include members and non-members of Grand Angels, will invest a small amount in most of the deals in which Grand Angels members invest.  Grand Angels President Jody Vanderwel says the fund will make more capital available for most Grand Angel deals and provide more diversification for members than they get by selecting their own deals, as well as provide an angel asset class investment opportunity for people who do not have the time or inclination to be active angels. Warner, Norcross & Judd, the Hylant Group, and Korte Consulting assisted the Grand Angels in establishing the new fund.

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June 27, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

SEC makes long-awaited Dodd-Frank ruling

As part of the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress eliminated section 203 (b)(3) of the Advisers Act, which previously had exempted from SEC registration any adviser that had fewer than 15 clients over the last 12 months, did not hold itself out to the public as an investment adviser, and did not act as an investment adviser to a registered investment company or a Business Development Company. At the same time, Congress explicitly directed the SEC to exempt advisers to venture capital funds from the new registration requirements. The SEC proposed a rule on November 19, 2010 implementing this exemption. On June 22, 2011, the Commission voted in favor of adopting new rule 203(l)-1 to define “venture capital fund” (VCF) for purposes of the new exemption from registration for investment advisers that advise solely VCFs.

For more information on the definition of VCF and the National Venture Capital Association’s cautiously optimistic position on the ruling, click here.

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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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