Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss partner Sara Kruse has been a member of many professional organizations during her career as a Corporate and Emerging and Growth Business attorney. But when she first started coming to Michigan Venture Capital Association events, she noticed that something was different. “At MVCA, I was able to see people consistently, and was able to build strong relationships with many of the members. MVCA held consistently well-attended events, and I admired how everyone was very much committed to the work of the organization.”
Kruse recently took her commitment to the MVCA to the next level, by joining the board for a three-year term. She becomes the first service provider to serve on the MVCA board, and hopes to bring a unique perspective. “Hopefully, I can bring a balanced understanding of both sides of the investment equation through my work with entrepreneurs and investors. My practice takes a collaborative approach to seeking solutions for all sides, and MVCA has helped create an environment in which members can collaborate and find synergies easily. It’s one part of what makes MVCA work so well for its members.”
Kruse has deep experience in the venture and start-up worlds, having represented HandyLab, Inc. and Accuri Cytometers, Inc. in their transactions with Becton, Dickinson and Company and representing Compendia Bioscience, Inc. in its sale to Life Technologies Corporation. “Coming from a firm (Jaffe) that’s been a longtime resource to entrepreneurs and investors, it’s been exciting to see the increase in the venture activity and MVCA’s role in that, especially in the last five years,” Kruse said. “It’s been critical to the state’s economic recovery.”
She’s proud of the energy, attention and thought leadership that MVCA has brought to the state of Michigan, and thinks we’re all able to reap the rewards of the organization’s reach. “Something like Techstars coming to Detroit or the tremendous out-of-state attendance we have at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium are significant wins for all of us, and I think it’s happening in part thanks to the work that the MVCA has done getting the Michigan message out. Other states are looking to MVCA as a model for how to increase the venture community in their states.”
Kruse intends to use her board seat to further foster the supportive organization she joined many years ago. “I’d like to see MVCA grow and continue to successfully support the investment community through advocacy efforts, events, and talent initiatives inside as well as outside the state,” she says.
Kruse does have some advice to others just starting to investigate which professional organizations are worth their valuable time. “Whether you’re a member who is not as active as you could be or still have yet to join, it’s a worthwhile investment to get more involved in MVCA,” Kruse advises. “From my experience, it’s helped me create and strengthen many valuable relationships in the venture, entrepreneurial and other professional communities. When I go to an MVCA meeting, I can’t move around the room fast enough to talk to everyone I want to talk to! It’s just a great organization.”