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Michigan Venture Capital Association Celebrates State’s Entrepreneurial and Investment Successes at 2019 Annual Awards Dinner

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Michigan Venture Capital Association Celebrates State’s Entrepreneurial and Investment Successes at 2019 Annual Awards Dinner

The Awardees of the 2019 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner are Arboretum Ventures, StockX, Orbion Space Technology, and Ferris Wheel

Novi, Mich. – Nov. 12, 2019 – Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), the trade association for the venture capital and angel community in Michigan, hosted its 2019 Annual Awards Dinner at the Henry Ford Museum on November 12. At this event, MVCA announced awards recognizing 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 Annual Awards Dinner attracted nearly 400 attendees from across the country to celebrate the successes of the entrepreneurial and investment community in the state.

“Our Annual Awards ceremony aims to commemorate the accomplishments of today that are helping to build a brighter tomorrow for the entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan,” said Ara Topouzian, Executive Director of MVCA. “Each of the award recipients are organizations that have proven themselves to be dedicated to achieving the progress necessary to secure a future for the state marked by continued growth and success.”

Awardees of the 2010 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner include Arboretum Ventures for Capital Event of the Year Award, StockX for Financing of the Year Award, Orbion Space Technology for Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award, and Ferris Wheel for the Community Impact Award. MVCA members voted to select the awardees for each category.

2019 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner Awardees

Capital Event of the Year Award

The Capital Event of the Year Award recognizes the significant fundraising milestones of venture capital firms enabling further investment in companies across Michigan and the nation overall.

Arboretum Ventures is an Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm that fosters partnerships with companies in the life science sector. In 2019, Arboretum Ventures raised a $250 million fund, the largest fund raised in Michigan’s history and surpassing the firm’s previous $220 million fund raised in 2015. Since its founding in 2002, Arboretum Ventures has raised a total of $700 million over five funds to advance technologies in the life sciences sector. The venture firm fuels the growth of companies seeking to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs to healthcare systems.

Financing of the Year Award

The Financing of the Year Award recognizes the significant investment milestones enabling companies to grow and excel in Michigan.

StockX is a Detroit-based technology company that enables the buying and selling of high-demand consumer products like sneakers, watches, handbags and streetwear. In 2019, the company secured a record-breaking Series C funding round of $110 million, the largest venture capital raise in Michigan’s history. The company received investment from Michigan investors, including Detroit Venture Partners, world-renown rapper Eminem, and angel investor Jonathon Triest, among others. With support from its partners, StockX currently employs 800 people globally, 500 of whom are based in Detroit. The company is now valued at $1 billion and plans to extend its international reach by diversifying product categories and establishing more physical locations in key markets around the world.

Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award

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.

Orbion Space Technology is a Houghton-based advanced materials and manufacturing company founded by Jason Sommerville and Brad King that develops and manufactures satellite propulsion systems. The company has received investment from multiple Michigan investors, including Wakestream Ventures, Invest Michigan, and ID Ventures. Orbion currently employs 10 people and plans to double their workforce over the next two years. The company has developed a plasma thruster, the Aurora, that is improving the efficiency of small satellites.

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.

Ferris Wheel is a Flint-based hub for entrepreneurs and innovators who seek a modern and collaborative office environment. The hub is designed to promote the exchange of information, ideas and resources within an accessible and high-energy workspace. Ferris Wheel also engages in grassroots outreach efforts to promote entrepreneurial education in the community. In 2019, Ferris Wheel achieved 92 percent occupancy and has hosted Nancy Pelosi as well as three presidential candidates for roundtable discussions.

About Michigan Venture Capital Association

Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) is a non-profit trade organization designed to increase the amount of capital and talent available to venture and angel investors for the funding of Michigan’s most innovative entrepreneurs, as well as to work closely with them to transform breakthrough ideas into new companies and industries that drive Michigan job creation and economic growth. MVCA membership includes private and corporate venture capital funds, angel investors, universities and economic development organizations, and service providers. More than 400 individuals are members of MVCA, representing over 100 organizations across the nation. For more information, visit