January 23, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

Beringea invests in UICO, innovator of the world’s most durable touchscreens

Beringea, LLC, a private equity firm providing growth capital to market-leading businesses, has announced its fund has led an investment in UICO, an innovator and manufacturer of highly durable touchscreen technology, headquartered in Elmhurst, Illinois. The investment will support UICO’s hiring plans and working capital needs as the company continues to grow and produce larger volume programs. Also participating in the financing round were existing investors, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Plymouth Venture Partners, and Chicago-based Hyde Park Angels.

 

UICO supplies Fortune 1000 clients with the company’s duraTOUCH® touchscreens that work in the harshest environments–withstanding temperature extremes and rough handling–and that perform when wet, and with thick gloves. The company nearly tripled production during 2013, and has established strategic relationships in China and throughout the United States to prepare for significant growth over the next year and beyond. Sectors that benefit from UICO’s highly differentiated touch technology include automotive, agriculture, appliance, medical, military, marine, industrial and wearables.

 

“UICO has a robust, growing customer pipeline in a variety of industries; its superior water and glove touch performance is appealing to many different types of end users.  The proprietary, differentiated products UICO offers, managed by an experienced team, makes this an extremely promising investment for us,” said Mark Donnelly, principal at Beringea.

 

“Our partnership with Beringea comes at a key time in our company’s growth trajectory,” added Bahar Wadia, CEO of UICO. “We are now well-positioned to capture an even larger portion of the rapidly growing global market for durable touchscreens.”

 

About Beringea

Beringea, LLC provides equity and/or mezzanine debt to small- and-middle market companies. The Firm, which includes Michigan-based Beringea, LLC and its London, UK office Beringea LLP, invests in portfolio companies operating in a range of sectors, including health care, clean technology, manufacturing, media, Internet technologies and specialized consumer products.

 

With flexible capital solutions, extensive investing experience and offices in the U.S. and UK, Beringea’s team offers its portfolio companies the resources to grow their businesses and create value for shareholders. For more information, visit www.beringea.com.

 

In the United States of America, Beringea operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor, Beringea, LLC. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Beringea LLP, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Beringea LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with company number OC342919, and its registered office is at 39 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LT, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Beringea’s potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.

 

About UICO

UICO is the maker of duraTOUCH®, the world’s most durable PCap touch technology. UICO’s innovative technology and solutions enable equipment manufacturers to deliver proven, best-in-class touch solutions in extreme environments of use. UICO is headquartered in Elmhurst, Illinois with key suppliers and manufacturing partnerships worldwide to support a large and growing customer base of leading OEMs in automotive, agriculture, appliance, medical, military, marine,  industrial and other commercial product segments. For more information, visit www.uico.com.

 

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June 22, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

Plymouth Venture Partners Fund II Makes Investment in Chicago-based Touch Screen Innovator, UICO

Elmhurst, ILPlymouth Management Company (“PMC”) announces its fifth investment from Plymouth Venture Partners Fund II (“PVP II”), in UICO, LLC of Elmhurst, Illinois. UICO designs and manufactures the world’s leading family of industrial grade projected capacitive touchscreens under the brand duraTOUCH®. UICO’s innovative technology and solutions enable equipment manufacturers to deliver proven, best-in-class touch features in extreme environments of use including industrial, military, and inclement weather. UICO’s products are differentiated and especially well-situated for these markets due to their ability to deliver products, with high resolution, while combining the features of full functionality in a wet environment, while using gloves, all with thick and durable touch screen materials.

 

Plymouth was attracted to UICO due to its leading edge touch screen technology, strong management team, the traction the company has had with major companies throughout the U.S., and the rapidly growing market in which it operates.

 

Mark Horne, PMC’s Chief Executive Officer, commented “UICO has developed a unique, feature rich product that is experiencing growing demand. The industry’s move to PCap technology is expected to be a large driver in pushing customers to the UICO technology. Additionally, we have been impressed with the company’s leadership and are excited to work with the UICO team to bring its products to the forefront of a fast moving industry.”

 

Bahar Wadia, UICO’s President and CEO added “We are pleased to be working with Plymouth Ventures as we enter the next growth phase in our company’s progression. The financing round they led will make it possible to fully deploy our strategy, allowing us to better service our customers and capture a large portion of a rapidly growing market for durable touch screens.”

 

Plymouth Management Company Partner Jeff Barry will take a Board seat with the company and assist UICO in achieving further growth.

 

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 Bob Savage, and offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. For more information, please visit www.plymouthvc.com.

 

About UICO
UICO is maker of duraTOUCH®, the world’s leading family of industrial-grade projected capacitive touchscreens. UICO’s innovative technology and solutions enable equipment manufacturers to deliver proven, best-in-class touch features in extreme environments of use. UICO is headquartered in Elmhurst, IL with key suppliers and manufacturing partnerships worldwide to support a large and
growing customer base of leading OEMs in medical, military, industrial and other commercial product segments. For more information, please visit www.uico.com.

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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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October 24, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

MVCA will celebrate award winners at annual dinner Nov. 7

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) will recognize several Michigan venture firms, investment professionals, and two venture-backed entrepreneurs for their successes at its annual awards dinner November 7 in Plymouth.  The statewide membership organization will honor:

  • MVCA “100 Award” winner Arboretum Ventures of Ann Arbor, for closing a venture fund over $100 million ($140 million Arboretum Ventures III, L.P., closed in August);
  • Capital Event of the Year, the $250 million Venture Michigan Fund II, with MVCA members Tom Kinnear (U-M Ross School of Business); Kelly Williams (Credit Suisse CFIG); Charlie Rothstein (Beringea); and David Parsigian (Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn);
  • Venture Exit of the Year Accuri Cytometers, for its 2011 sale to Becton Dickinson, with MVCA member venture investors  Arboretum Ventures, Credit Suisse CFIG, Baird Venture Partners, Flagship, and Plymouth Ventures Partners;  and,
  • Jennifer Baird, initial CEO of Accuri Cytometers and current CEO of venture-backed Accio Energy, along with Accuri founder Colin Rich, will be named MVCA Entrepreneurs of the Year.

“The past year has brought some exciting activity to our state’s venture community, namely the launch of several new venture funds and one large venture-backed exit,” said Merrill Guerra, Executive Director of the MVCA.  “The successful exit of Accuri Cytometers is another example of our region’s ability to produce great returns, owing in part to Michigan entrepreneurs’ capital efficiency and prudent management style.  We encourage out-of-state investors to uncover what local venture investors already know—that there is a lot of potential in Michigan companies.”

About the MVCA

The MVCA is a 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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September 21, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

MEMBER NEWS: Plymouth Venture Partners II Completes Fund-Raising at $41.0 Million

Managing Partner Mark Horne reported today that fund-raising for Plymouth Venture Partners II has
successfully concluded with $41 million of capital committed (slightly above the target range of $30 to $40
million).  The strategy of Plymouth Ventures II is to provide growth capital to young companies headquartered in the
Great Lakes region that have begun commercialization of their products or services in the market and need
capital for their next growth step. Plymouth Ventures II is looking for companies seeking up to $5 million in
total capital.

Mark Horne commented, “We have seen a considerable increase in the number of Great Lakes early stage
companies, but there is a significant shortage of capital to support their growth. Our new Fund has been
raised to meet this need.”

Mr. Horne added, “This is the final closing of Plymouth Ventures II. Through earlier closings the Fund has
already invested in three companies. These companies have implemented their growth plans and are
demonstrating the importance of the timely raising of such capital.”

Plymouth Ventures II follows on the heels of Fund I which completed its new investment cycle in 2009 and has
been in a successful exit mode in recent years.  For more information on the investment criteria of Fund II, see www.plymouthvc.com.

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July 12, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

Member Press Release: Plymouth Venture Partners I Announces its Portfolio Company of the Year: Accuri Cytometers

Mark Horne, Managing Partner of Plymouth Venture Partners I, L.P. has announced that
Plymouth’s Company of the Year is Accuri Cytometers. In making the announcement, Horne
commented: “Accuri essentially created a new market in personal use flow cytometry, and then
demonstrated outstanding execution in designing and building world class products to serve that
market. The results were measured in outstanding shareholders returns.”

During a recent award event, the following key people were recognized:

  • Accuri’s founders: Jennifer Baird, Collin Rich
  • Accuri’s CEO at point of exit: Jeffrey Williams
  • Board Member who represented Plymouth from Accuri’s formation to exit: Walter Young

When asked about the award’s criteria, Mark Horne listed four characteristics:

  • Exceptional leadership
  • Exceptional execution of the Business Plan
  • Exceptional increase in shareholder values
  • Exceptional governance

Plymouth’s Annual Award, named the Coupe de Ville Award, has now been awarded three
times. The Award was inspired by the immortal words of the entrepreneurial rocker Meat Loaf
in his famous ballad “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad”, where he gave the following advice to
venture capitalists:

You’ll never find your gold on a sandy beach
You’ll never drill for oil on a city street
I know you’re looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks
But there ain’t no Coupe deVille hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box

In reviewing numerous business plans Plymouth has certainly seen its share of empty Cracker
Jack boxes, but occasionally PVP does find a Coupe deVille. Each June one PVP Portfolio
Company will receive the Coupe deVille Award in recognition of its outstanding performance.

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May 3, 2011 @ 11:55 am

MEMBER PRESS RELEASE: Plymouth Venture Partners Fund II Makes Investment In Lynx Network Group

Kalamazoo, MI – Plymouth Management Company (PMC) announced its third investment from Plymouth Venture Partners Fund II (PVP II) in Lynx Network Group (LNG) of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Lynx Network Group is a full service  telecommunications company specializing in advancing high-speed next generation infrastructure in tier 2 and tier 3 markets where traditional infrastructure is not capable of meeting demand. The company is currently constructing 1,000 miles of fiber optic network infrastructure throughout Michigan for the purposes of connecting businesses, organizations and wireless service providers that demand resilient and ultrafast infrastructure. The fiber optic
network project will connect communities throughout the Northern, Western, Eastern and Southern
boundaries of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, as well as Central and Mid Michigan. Among the cities slated
to be part of the fiber optic network are Monroe, Adrian, Hillsdale, Coldwater, Three Rivers, Benton
Harbor, South Haven, Zeeland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Ludington, Manistee, Beulah, Traverse City,
Kalkaska, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Mackinaw City, Gaylord, Grayling, Houghton Lake, Clare, Mt. Pleasant,
Midland, Bay City, and Oscoda.

The goal of the project is to provide high-performance, lower-cost, fiber-based communications services
(including internet access) to underserved areas throughout Michigan. Funding for this fiber optic
network project will help Lynx Network Group to attract and retain jobs for Michigan-based businesses
that require advanced, high-speed communications to remain competitive.  Currently underway, Lynx Network Group estimates that more than half of the project will be complete by year-end, and the full network will be operational in 2012.

Mark Horne, PMC’s Chief Executive Officer commented, “The management team at Lynx Network Group
brings great vision and a track record of solid execution. PMC’s investment into Lynx will further expand
their capabilities and significantly change the landscape of Michigan and its communities. The funding
also provides the company with a strong financial foundation to support growth for years to come.”
Gregg Rutgers, Founder at Lynx Network Group added, “We are excited to be in partnership with PMC
for this expansion and growth stage. Their fund has demonstrated a real commitment to Michigan
companies; we’re looking forward to adding their team’s exceptional business and industry expertise to
our Board.”

About Plymouth Venture Partners II, L.P.
Fund II is a follow-on fund to Plymouth Venture Partners Fund I. Plymouth Venture Partners I became
fully invested in 2009 after completing investments in 29 companies. Plymouth Venture Partners II
invests in early expansion stage companies in the Great Lakes region. Plymouth Ventures II is actively
looking for great early expansion-stage companies in this region. Visit www.plymouthvc.com for more
information.

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, Bob Savage, and Jeff Barry,
with offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. Visit www.plymouthvc.com for more information

About Lynx Network Group
Founded in 2003, by three Michigan-born telecom industry veterans, Lynx Network Group is a premier
provider of wholesale and retail telecommunication services in the Midwest. As a commercial
participant in the REACH 3MC network, Lynx Network Group provides a broad range of end-to-end
communications solutions to Businesses, CLECs, ILECS, Resellers, and Wireline/Wireless Carriers. Our
network scalability and depth of services is coupled with a service management team that enables
businesses to advance. Visit www.lynxnetworkgroup.com for more information.

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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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