September 6, 2022 (Bloomfield Hills, MI) — Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), the trade association for the venture capital and angel community in Michigan, today announced the nominees for the 2022 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner. The event will be held on Thursday, September 29th, at 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Greenfield Village in Dearborn to celebrate the achievements of the Michigan entrepreneurial and investment community.
“We are excited to celebrate our 20th anniversary and host an exciting annual awards dinner. As our latest research report shows, the Michigan ecosystem is making great strides and it continues to be important that we acknowledge and recognize these achievements,” said Ara Topouzian, Executive Director of MVCA.
The awards ceremony recognizes the capital events that are fueling the growth of Michigan’s companies, the significant investment milestones enabling companies to grow and excel in Michigan, the companies that are producing groundbreaking solutions in their sectors, and the organizations working to engage with their communities and enrich their local economies.
The MVCA members will be voting to select the awardee for each category and the four awardees will be announced live at the dinner on Sept. 29th. The MVCA Annual Awards Dinner Nominees are:
Financing of the Year
The Financing of the Year Award recognizes significant financing milestones enabling companies to grow and excel in Michigan.
• Autobooks ($50M, Series C) is an integrated payments and accounting platform for business, delivered through online banking. Autobooks has raised a total of $97.8M over six rounds.
• Genomenon ($20M, Series B) develops software tools to prioritize data points rapidly and autonomously for decision-making. Genomenon has raised a total of $32.8M in funding over eight rounds.
• SkySpecs ($80M, Series D) offers renewable asset management solutions, including autonomous drone inspection services for onshore and offshore wind turbines. Skyspecs has raised a total of $118.M in funding over eight rounds.
• WorkIt Health ($118M, Series C) is a female-founded and led industry-leading provider of clinically proven telemedicine treatment for substance abuse disorder, providing over 20,000 people with treatment. Women-founded and led, WorkIt Health has raised a total of $138.2M in funding over six rounds.
Exit of the Year
The Exit of the Year Award recognizes companies that were funded by Michigan investors and achieved a successful acquisition or exit. The following nominees are companies that are strengthening the entrepreneurial and investment community by increasing capital available in the state.
• Benzinga is a is a tech-enabled financial media platform that delivers dynamic news, investment analytics, and market information. They were acquired by Beringer Capital.
• Facility Health developed software for health care providers to monitor and maintain their facilities and equipment. They were acquired by Brightly.
• Sportsman Tracker a cross-platform digital toolset designed to increase success opportunities for hunters and fishermen. They were acquired by Kalkomey.
Up-and-Coming Company of the Year
The Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award recognizes Michigan companies across all stages of growth that are producing groundbreaking solutions in their sectors. The following nominees are making a national impact by transforming legacy industries.
• Airspace Link is an FAA approved UAS/Drone Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) Platform. Airspace Link recently raised a Series B round of $23M.
• MemryX is developing an in-memory computing system aimed to improve CPU/GPU computing architecture for data-intensive tasks. MemryX recently raised a Series A round of $6.5M.
• Signal Advisors helps independent financial advisors grow their business through technology, financing, peer-to-peer coaching, marketing, and more. Signal Advisors has raised over $75M in funding over five rounds, with the most recent Series B round raise at $61M.
• Navv Systems is a provider of indoor location technology for hospitals and health systems. Navv Systems recently raised $3.3M a seed round (2021) and $5.5M in an early-stage VC round (2022).
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. The following nominees promote collaboration and provide critical resources for the growth of Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community.
• Invest Detroit scales promising early-stage ventures into thriving companies that help support the state’s economy, provide jobs to local talent, and bolster Michigan’s growing startup community. Since 2009, they have invested in over two hundred companies with fourteen exits, deployed more than $21 million through multiple funds, and leveraged over $1 billion in additional investment.
• Michigan Founders Fund is a founder-led network of high-growth entrepreneurs committed to fellowship, cultural intention, and funding solutions that uplift communications in Michigan. The MFF network of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have pledged 1% of equity, profit, or investment carry from their businesses into a fund for state-based grantmaking.
• Michigan Rise is a mission-oriented VC firm that invests in Michigan-based startups from pre-seed to Series A. The Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III is funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC and Michigan State University (MSU) Foundation. The Michigan Rise portfolio includes forty-four active companies, one exit, $6.9M total invested, $228M dollars leveraged, with 76% underserved founders represented.
• New Community Transformation Fund is Michigan’s first and only BIOPIC fund ($25M) based in Grand Rapids invests in companies owned and operated by business leaders of color in west Michigan. They recently announced their second investment, a $500,000 investment in BAMF Health, a new fintech company locating to Grand Rapids, MI.
Entrepreneur of the Year Award
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes organizations and individuals that have fostered a vibrant entrepreneurial community in Michigan. The following nominees are innovators who are setting the stage for the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs in Michigan.
• Danny Ellis (Co-founder & CEO, SkySpecs)
• Robin McIntosh & Lisa McLaughlin (Co-Founders & Co-CEOs WorkIt Health)
• Justin Turk (Founder & CEO, Livegistics)
• Dan Rhodes (Co-founder & CEO, Strata Oncology)