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Michigan Venture Capital Association Announces 2018 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner Awardees

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Awardees include Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, Duo Security, and Strata Oncology; MVCA Board of Directors Honors Jody Vanderwel with Lifetime Achievement Award

Ann Arbor, MICH. – Oct. 3, 2018 – Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), the nonprofit trade association founded in 2002 designed to increase the amount of capital and talent for Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community, today announced the awardees for the 2018 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner held on Oct. 2, 2018, at Eastern Market in Detroit. Co-hosted by Governor Rick Snyder as part of Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)’s Start MI Up: Michigan Ventures Forward, the event attracted more than 300 investors, economic developers, entrepreneurs and community leaders, making it the largest MVCA Annual Awards Dinner in the organization’s history.

“Connecting the entrepreneurial and investment community has been a cornerstone of our organization for the past 16 years, and our partnership with MEDC’s Start MI Up: Michigan Ventures Forward is a great example of the power of that collaboration,” said MVCA Executive Director Maureen Miller Brosnan.  “We’re honored to bring together investors and community leaders from across the country to recognize the achievements of Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community.”

MVCA members voted to select the awardees for the Community Impact Award, the Exit of the Year Award, and the Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award. Awardees include Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC) for the Community Impact Award, Duo Security for the Exit of the Year Award, and Strata Oncology for Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award. The MVCA Board of Directors awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jody Vanderwel for her expertise, leadership and dedication to growing Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community.

“Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community has powered the growth of Michigan’s economy, creating a nearly $4 billion innovation industry in the state,” said Arboretum Ventures Managing Director and MVCA Chairman of the Board of Directors, Tom Shehab, M.D. “We’re thrilled to recognize Jody for her achievements that have significantly contributed to the success of Michigan’s investment community.

2018 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner Awardees

Community Impact Award

The Community Impact Award recognizes organizations, events, or individuals that create the meaningful, effective connections necessary to build Michigan’s entrepreneurial economy.

Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC), a program of ID Ventures, is a competition that supports Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their companies to investors while building connections with entrepreneurs, business acceleration resources, and experts in their sector during carefully curated individual meetings.  The event features the best and brightest seed-stage startups and introduces them to angel investors and venture capital firms while awarding $1,000,000 in cash and prizes. Since its launch in 2010, grand prize winners of AMIC have hired over a 1,000 people and attracted more than $550 million in additional investment.

Exit of the Year Award

The Exit of the Year Award recognizes companies that were funded by Michigan investors and achieved a successful acquisition or exit.

Duo Security is an Ann Arbor-based cybersecurity company founded by Dug Song and Jon Oberheide. Duo enables organizations to secure access to all work applications, for all users, from anywhere – helping prevent cyber breach and attack.  Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm Resonant Venture Partners was an early investor in the company.  Duo has transformed the cybersecurity industry, and in only nine years, grown to 12,000 customers, hired over 700 talented and dedicated team members, and expanded its offices globally, becoming the highest valued venture-backed startup and first unicorn company in Michigan. In 2018, Cisco announced its intent to acquire Duo Security for $2.35 billion to integrate its network, device, and cloud security platforms with Duo’s authentication and access products.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who formed the foundation of Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community, paving the way for the next generation with their leadership and expertise.

Jody Vanderwel has been actively involved with Grand Angels, which invests in early-stage businesses since 2005.  From 2005 – 2016 she served as president of the organization. Since her retirement as president at the end of 2016, she has continued as a member of the investment committee of Grand Angels Venture Fund II, LLC, and of the board of Grand Angels.  During her tenure, Grand Angels invested about $23,000,000 in 39 companies through 105 rounds of financing. Governor Snyder appointed Jody to the Michigan Strategic Fund Board, and she is currently a member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association Board, the Michigan Accelerator Fund I Advisory Board, the Baker Publishing Group Board, and the Fuller Theological Seminary Board.

Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award

The Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award recognizes Michigan companies across all stages of growth that are producing groundbreaking solutions in their industry.

Strata Oncology is an Ann Arbor-based life sciences company founded by Dan Rhodes, Scott Tomlins and Keith Flaherty that is transforming cancer care by systematizing precision oncology across a large network of health systems and pharma companies. In 2018, the company raised $26 million in a Series B funding round, led by Pfizer and Merck, and has received investment from multiple Michigan-based investors including Arboretum Ventures, Baird Capital, eLab Ventures, and Renaissance Venture Capital Fund. This year, Strata Oncology announced a collaboration with Puma Biotechnology to accelerate patient enrollment on Puma’s HER2 Mutation Basket Study (SUMMIT Trial). With the new funding, the company plans to expand its Precision Oncology Network and develop clinical-genomic data and software solutions to streamline health system precision medicine workflows and catalyze new clinical research opportunities.

About Michigan Venture Capital Association

The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) is a nonprofit trade organization founded in 2002 to increase the amount of capital and talent available to venture and angel investors for the funding of Michigan’s most innovative entrepreneurs. The organization works closely with entrepreneurs to transform breakthrough ideas into new companies and industries that drive Michigan job creation and economic growth. MVCA membership includes private and corporate venture capital funds, angel investors, universities and economic development organizations, and service providers. More than 400 individuals are members of MVCA, representing over 100 organizations across the nation. For more information, visit

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