Michigan venture capital-backed companies like Accuri Cytometers looking to emulate the exit of a local peer couldn’t choose much better than HandyLab, whose 2009 sale to global technology firm Becton, Dickinson and Company (NYSE: BDX) netted investors $275 million. But then, Accuri Cytometers CEO, Jeff Williams, is more familiar than most with that deal—he was the HandyLab CEO at the time of the sale.
Williams, the 2010 MVCA Entrepreneur of the Year, joined Accuri last year to help the company reach its next level of growth. Not surprisingly, his tenure at Accuri yielded a March 2011 sale of the company to… Becton, Dickinson and Company. For Michigan venture investors Ann Arbor Angels, Arboretum Ventures, Plymouth Ventures, Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group (“CFIG”), Grand Angels, and Great Lakes Angels, the deal caps several years of investment in the development of compact flow cytometry-based cell analysis systems.
Tim Petersen, Managing Director of Arboretum and early Accuri investor, “couldn’t be more pleased for the Accuri management team, its founders and its employees. Arboretum was fortunate to invest in the Company’s first venture capital round in 2007 (along with Baird Venture Partners) and I have been a member of the board since that time. They started with a concept and built a multi-national company with truly outstanding, revolutionary products. And, Becton Dickinson is a great new home, allowing the company to move to the next level. It was a great ride.”
“We are very pleased with this outcome for the Accuri Cytometers management team, its founders and its investors,” commented Bob Payne of Credit Suisse CFIG. “Accuri’s management team created attractive value in this company by taking a leading market share position in the counter top flow cytometer market. CFIG, on behalf of the Invest Michigan Growth Capital Partners Fund, co-invested in the Accuri Series D and Series E financing rounds alongside Arboretum Ventures and other venture capital fund managers.”
Michigan’s venture community no doubt hopes there are more growth companies who can achieve the success HandyLab and now Accuri have enjoyed. “Michigan has over 70 current venture capital-backed companies, many with tremendous potential for successful exits over the coming years. Twenty more Accuris would be great,” remarked LeAnn Auer, Executive Director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association.