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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November 5, 2013 @ 4:03 am

MVCA Honors VCs, Deals at Annual Meeting; Names New Chair, Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 5, 2013 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – At its annual meeting, the Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) awarded Best Financing to Esperion, the MVCA 100 to FutureNet, Best Exit to Pioneer Surgical Technology and Lifetime Achievement to Tom Kinnear.  It also announced its 2014 executive committee and board of directors.

 

“The last year affirmed Michigan’s reputation as a destination for innovation-based businesses and the VCs that back them,” said Carrie Jones, MVCA’s executive director.  “Even as venture capital declined nationally, access to capital increased in Michigan. There are amazing companies accomplishing amazing things here, and MVCA’s annual meeting is a chance to celebrate those individuals and organizations that are part of that success story.”

 

Esperion, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing first-in-class, oral, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering therapies for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, was honored with MVCA’s Financing of the Year award.  In June, Esperion issued an initial public offering of 5,000,000 shares of its common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market.

 

MVCA honored FutureNet with its 100 Award for achieving $100 million in revenue this year. FutureNetGroup is a Detroit-based energy and environmental, construction, technology, and security company that provides infrastructure improvement and protection through innovative technologies.

 

Pioneer Surgical Technology was awarded by MVCA as the Best Exit. In 2013, the Marquette-based company was successfully acquired by RTI Biologics. The acquisition created a global surgical implant company positioned for growth in orthopedics and biologics.

 

Tom Kinnear was honored by MVCA for his lifetime achievement. Kinnear is the D. Maynard Phelps Collegiate Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.  He previously served as executive director of the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. In addition to his teaching, Kinnear supports the U-M Office of Tech Transfer and is chairman of the state-backed Venture Michigan Fund. He also is active in the entrepreneurial community as a co-founder, advisor, angel investor, and Board member of startup companies, including: Network Express, BlueGill Technologies, Accuri Instruments, Avail Networks, Avidimer Therapeutics, Mobius Microsystems, Janeeva, nanoCerox, and NanoBio. He is also a limited partner in Apjohn Ventures, Arbor Partner Ventures, Arboretum Ventures, EDF Ventures, and RPM Ventures. He is a member of the investment committee for EDF Ventures and for Arboretum Ventures.

 

At its annual meeting and awards dinner, MVCA also announced its 2014 board of directors.  Jim Adox of Venture Investors will serve as the organization’s board chair.  Other board members serving 2014-2015 are:

  • Josh Beebe, MK Capital
  • Hugo Braun, North Coast Technology Investors
  • Pete Farner, TGap Ventures
  • Patricia Glaza, Arsenal Ventures
  • Tony Grover, RPM Ventures
  • Mark Horne, Plymouth Venture Partners
  • Tom Kinnear, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
  • Jon Lauckner, GM Ventures
  • Mark Olesnavage, Hopen Life Sciences Ventures
  • Tim Petersen, Arboretum Ventures
  • Jeff Rinvelt, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund
  • Ted Serbinski, Detroit Venture Partners
  • Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK
  • Jody Vanderwel, Grand Angels

 

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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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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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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January 17, 2011 @ 11:56 am

MEMBER NEWS: Venture Michigan Fund II Formed To Support Growth of High-Tech Companies in Michigan

Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Venture Michigan Fund II, Limited Partnership (“VMF II”) announced today that it has launched a new fund to invest in high quality venture capital funds committed to investing in Michigan based high technology companies.

VMF II has capital totaling $120 million to invest in venture capital funds targeting seed and early stage capital Michigan companies in a wide variety of high growth, emerging industries including advanced manufacturing, health care and life sciences, information technology, alternative energy, and homeland security and defense.

Venture capital fund managers participating in the VMF II program will be required to invest at least as much in Michigan-based companies as they receive in capital commitments from VMF II.

“The growth of the venture capital industry in Michigan will be a very important part of the transformation of the Michigan economy,” said Tom Kinnear, Chairman of the Venture Michigan Fund Board. “A healthy and active Michigan venture capital industry results in investment in attractive, growing high technology companies and industries. This means new jobs for the Michigan economy. VMF II should play an important role in this process.”
The formation of VMF II follows the successful commitment of the $95 million Venture Michigan Fund I, Limited Partnership (“VMF I”). Formed in August 2006, VMF I is now fully committed with 11 venture capital fund commitments.

With approximately 36 percent of VMF I capital deployed, VMF I fund managers have invested more than $38 million in 15 Michigan-based companies to date representing more than 200 Michigan jobs. The total capital invested in these Michigan companies by the VMF I fund managers and other venture capital investors was $186 million, indicating attractive capital leverage of nearly 5-to-1.

In 2006 when VMF I was formed, there were 26 Michigan venture capital transactions completed aggregating $117.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters. In 2010, an estimated 44 deals were completed in the State totaling $231.1 million, representing good growth in overall venture capital activity.

The Venture Michigan Fund Board selected the Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group (“CFIG”) to manage VMF II and to structure its financing, which is supported by State of Michigan tax vouchers. CFIG is also the manager of VMF I.

“We are very excited and honored to have the opportunity to continue the significant work CFIG has done to further develop the Michigan venture capital community through the management of VMF II,” said Kelly Williams, Managing Director and Head of the Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group. “Michigan is an extraordinary environment for investment, given its mix of sophisticated venture capitalists, centers of excellence in technology and innovation and highly skilled work force. We are delighted to have been able to structure this innovative financing to continue our dedication to serving Michigan in the building of a strong and growing venture capital industry, which will contribute to the creation of a healthy Michigan economy.”

CFIG’s Michigan office is based in Troy and is managed by Bob Payne and Sean O’Donnell. Bob joined CFIG in 2006 after heading fund investment due diligence efforts for Hamilton Lane and previously managing Comerica’s private equity investment activities. In March 2009, Sean joined Bob in the Michigan office to work on in-state investment activities. Prior to joining CFIG, Sean was with Donnelly Penman & Partners with corporate finance and fund management responsibilities. CFIG expects to add an additional professional to the office in 2011.

Investments will be made by VMF II over a three-year period commencing January 2011. Fund Managers will be selected to receive capital from VMF II through a competitive process. The application process will begin immediately following the VMF II launch event on Feb. 14.

The Venture Michigan Fund was formed under the Michigan Early Stage Venture Investment Act of 2003, as amended. VMF, a Michigan nonprofit corporation, stimulates Michigan’s economic health by fostering job creation, retention, and expansion through the promotion of investment in venture capital funds specializing in seed and early stage investments. For more information, visit the VMF website at www.venturemichiganfund.org.

CFIG is one of the largest and deepest investment teams dedicated to private equity investing. The group is headed by Managing Director Kelly Williams, who founded CFIG in 1999. As of Dec. 31, 2010, CFIG manages over $27 billion in commitments to private equity funds of funds and co-investments, both in the United States and internationally. CFIG’s more than 125 professionals are based at the group’s offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Portland and Raleigh.

In addition to the $120 million VMF II program, CFIG manages three other in-state programs in Michigan, the $95 million VMF I, the $109 million Michigan 21st Century Investment Fund, L.P. and the $80 million co-investment portion of the Michigan Growth Capital Partners, L.P.

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November 1, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

NEWS RELEASE: Michigan Venture Capital Association celebrated award winners, appoints 2011 Board of Directors at annual dinner Nov. 15

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Celebrating “A Year of Exits”, the Michigan Venture Capital Association held its annual awards dinner for its members and guests November 15 in Ann Arbor.  The statewide membership organization honored several Michigan venture firms as well as venture capital recipient companies for their successes:

  • MVCA “Michigan 100” Award winner Cerenis Therapeutics of Ann Arbor, for raising over $100 million in venture capital;
  • Michigan’s new venture firms: Huron River Ventures, Michigan Accelerator Fund Management, and Resonant Ventures;
  • Multiple venture capital investment exits, both non-Michigan companies with Michigan venture investors and Michigan-based companies:

o   LenSx Lasers (Venture Investors)

o   Greenplum (EDF Ventures)

o   ZyStor (Apjohn Ventures & Venture Investors)

o   CardioMEMS (Arboretum Ventures)

o   Ikano Therapeutics (Apjohn Ventures)

o   Arbor Networks (EDF Ventures)

o   HandyLab (EDF Ventures, Wolverine Venture Fund, Arboretum Ventures, Ardesta Capital, Dow Venture Capital)

Jeff Williams, former CEO of HandyLab and current CEO of venture-backed Accuri Cytometers, was named MVCA Entrepreneur of the Year.

 

“The wind is in our sails,” stated LeAnn Auer, Executive Director of the MVCA, in her remarks before the dinner.  “It’s been a year of exits, as many of our venture capital firms have successfully exited portfolio companies located both here in Michigan and elsewhere.  In addition, venture capital financings have already exceeded 2009 levels.  These successes bode well for future growth in our community.  I’m looking forward to this year’s celebration.”

The Michigan Venture Capital Association will also announce its 2011 Board of Directors:

  • Ron Reed (Chairman), Managing Director, Seneca Partners
  • Tom Kinnear (Vice-Chairman/Treasurer), Managing Director, Zell Lurie Institute at U-M Ross School of Business
  • Tim Petersen (Vice Chairman/Chairman-Elect), Managing Director, Arboretum Ventures
  • Uzma Ahmad (Board Secretary), Attorney, Dykema Gossett PLLC
  • Jim Adox, Managing Director, Venture Investors
  • Jeff Bocan, Managing Director, Beringea
  • Hugo Braun, Co-Founder, North Coast Technology Investors
  • Greg Main, President & CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • John McIlwraith, Managing Director, Allos Ventures
  • Chris Rizik, CEO & Fund Manager, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund
  • Skip Simms, Managing Director, Ann Arbor SPARK
  • Mina Sooch Partner, Triathlon Medical Ventures; Managing Director, Apjohn Ventures
  • Jody Vanderwel, President, Grand Angels
  • Ken Van Heel, Director, Alternative Investments & Venture Capital, Dow Chemical Company
  • Donald Walker, Managing Director, Arbor Partners

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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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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