Evan focuses on sourcing and executing lead investments in technology-based businesses. Since joining in 2014, he has led five of Plymouth’s investments and has been involved in many other successful financings. Prior to Plymouth, Evan served as Vice President at Quilvest Private Equity in New York. He focused on evaluating and executing direct private equity investments – buyouts, recapitalizations and growth equity – in such industries as software, telecommunications and manufacturing.
We caught up with Evan to talk to him about his work and interest in MVCA and the Michigan ecosystem.
What made you want to get into Venture Capital?
My career started in architecture and real estate. I realized during those years that that I was more interested in the businesses operating inside the four walls than I was in designing or investing in the buildings themselves. As a result, I left real estate to get my MBA with the goal of transitioning to private equity and venture capital. After partnering with an amazing software business at my prior firm in NYC, I knew I wanted to invest exclusively in technology businesses. That interest – along with a goal to eventually raise my family back in the Midwest – led directly to my role at Plymouth.
Tell us about Plymouth Growth Partners?
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Plymouth invests in growth-stage B2B technology businesses across the Midwest. We provide flexible capital and seek to partner with strong leadership teams that strive to build truly great and sustainable businesses. Our great team at Plymouth is operationally-focused and hands-on, but typically invests on a minority-ownership, non-control basis. We’re actively investing out of our fourth fund.
As a new Board member what are you hoping to accomplish during your term for MVCA?
I’m excited to be joining the other MVCA board members in continuing to build upon the critical role that MVCA plays in Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. My goals include: continuing to promote access to capital for all of the state’s entrepreneurs and businesses, not just those that have had access historically; building upon the out-of-state VC ecosystem interested in Michigan-based companies; promoting the health and growth of in-state venture capital firms; and building upon the strong existing foundation so the Michigan VC community continues to flourish well beyond my tenure.
What do you think makes Michigan a great place to launch and grow a business?
Michigan is a special place to launch and grow a business for a few key reasons. First, the state’s leading universities are constantly generating novel ideas, fresh research, and amazing talent; key ingredients to a healthy ecosystem. Second, it’s a whole lot less expensive than building a business on the coasts. When you can get to the same place with a third of the capital, it is typically a much better outcome for the founders and employees. Lastly, access to capital for strong Michigan-based start-ups is better than ever. There are nearly 30 VCs based in Michigan, hundreds of active angel investors, and over 500 out-of-state venture firms that have invested in Michigan-based start-ups. Strong businesses are able to secure appropriate funding.
What excites you the most about working with Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community?
Partnering with Michigan’s entrepreneurs. The business leaders you find in Michigan are a scrappy and battle-tested bunch, typically having done a lot with a little. Building strong partnerships with leaders that share our Midwest values and approach has been a blast. And I look forward to doing so alongside my talented and committed partners at Plymouth for many years to come.