More than 145 members of Michigan’s venture capital community gathered to celebrate a year of individual, company, and statewide industry achievement at the MVCA Annual Dinner November 7 at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth. Outgoing MVCA Chairman Ron Reed welcomed the group and praised the venture community for meeting each of the MVCA’s strategic goals set in 2006. Incoming MVCA Chairman Tim Petersen introduced the 2012 Board of Directors, thanking longtime board member John McIlwraith (Blue Chip Ventures) for six years of service and welcoming Jon Lauckner (GM Ventures), Pete Farner (TGap Ventures), and Mark Horne (Plymouth Management Co.) to the board for three-year terms. Managing director of event sponsor Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group Kelly Williams shared her insights on the national venture landscape, offering her perspective on how many other states hope to emulate Michigan’s robust venture activity and programming.
After dinner, awards were presented to several Michigan venture firms, investment professionals, and two venture-backed entrepreneurs for their successes:
• MVCA “100 Award” winner Arboretum Ventures of Ann Arbor, for closing a venture fund over $100 million ($140 million Arboretum Ventures III, L.P., closed in August);
• Capital Event of the Year, the $250 million Venture Michigan Fund II, with MVCA members Tom Kinnear (U-M Ross School of Business); Kelly Williams (Credit Suisse CFIG); Charlie Rothstein (Beringea); and David Parsigian (Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn);
• Venture Exit of the Year Accuri Cytometers, for its 2011 sale to Becton Dickinson, with MVCA member investors Arboretum Ventures, Baird Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures, Credit Suisse CFIG, and Plymouth Ventures Partners; and,
• Jennifer Baird, initial CEO of Accuri Cytometers and current CEO of venture-backed Accio Energy, and Accuri founder Collin Rich, named MVCA Entrepreneurs of the Year.
A special highlight was the recognition of former MVCA Executive Director LeAnn Auer, who received the MVCA Above and Beyond award for her dedication to the organization’s goals and her five years of service in the leadership role. The evening ended with comments from MVCA Executive Director Merrill Guerra, pledging to continue the growth of the 70-plus member organization and keep Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem strong.