| Follow Us:
The New Adventure Park-West Bloomfield
The New Adventure Park-West Bloomfield - David Lewinski Photography | Show Photo

Investment : Innovation & Job News

350 Investment Articles | Page: | Show All

Walsh College scores $100K investment fund for students

Business students at Walsh College in Troy have six figures to play with now that a former member of the school’s faculty has started a new investment fund there.

Leon LaBrecque, a former professor and department chair of finance and economics at Walsh College and managing partner and founder of LJPR, is giving $100,000 to start the Michigan Alpha Project. The student-run investment portfolio will focus on investing in publicly traded companies based in Michigan. LeBrecque says he choose to donate $100,000 at first because “it seemed like enough to make the students interested,” and he is helping raise more money to expand the fund.

"We're trying to shoot for $1 million by the end of the year," LaBrecque says.

The Michigan Alpha Project will be run by two student teams per quarter. One team will make the investments and manage the fund while a second team manages a shadow fund. The results from both teams are compared each quarter. The teams can range in size from five to nine students.

The students will use Walsh College’s newly created finance lab to analyze markets and make investment choices. The 1,400 square-foot space features 24 work stations, 12 Bloomberg terminals, lab projectors, a white board, and an interactive market wall with live feeds for market indexes, global currency movements, current commodity prices, bond prices and NASDAQ, NYSE and Watchlist feeds.

"It gives the students enough to get their fingernails dirty," says John Moore, professor of finance and economics at Walsh College. "It's different when you are investing real money."

Source: John Moore, professor of finance and economics at Walsh College and Leon LaBrecque, managing partner and founder of LJPR
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Oakland Energy & Water Ventures fund launches in Farmington Hills

A new second-stage investment fund is launching in Farmington Hills. Oakland Energy & Water Ventures will specialize in making investments in the clean energy and water spaces.

"We look at opportunities up to $100 million," says Chris Brower, managing director of Oakland Energy & Water Ventures.

Brower adds that the fund, which is made up of three partners, is flexible when it comes to what type of deals it is looking to do. Among them are joint ventures, partnerships, license agreements, and collaborations. The main things Oakland Energy & Water Ventures is looking for are patented technologies that are ready to scale.

"We're a bit more simplistic," Brower says. "We're looking for proof-of-concept technologies. That is our focus."

Brower says there are a couple of potential deals in the works but the firm isn’t ready to make an announcement yet. He adds that the company is focusing on clean energy and water plays because of global macro trends that are spiking demand for both clean energy and water to accommodate the growing world population.

Source: Chris Brower, managing director of Oakland Energy & Water Ventures
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Grand Angels sinks seed capital into ProNAi Therapeutics

Grand Angels is reaching across the Great Lakes State to plunk down some serious seed capital for one of Metro Detroit’s promising startups.

The Grand Rapids-based angel investor group has invested in ProNAi Therapeutics. The Plymouth-based biotech startup is developing a novel and proprietary DNAi drug technology platform to help fight cancer. It has enjoyed recent success with safely treating Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients in clinical trials.

The group has also invested in Ann Arbor-based Local Orbit, which is developing software that helps connect food producers (think farmers, co-ops and farmers markets) with grocers, restaurants and other eateries.

"Our applicants are roughly split between each side of the state," says Jody Vanderwel, president of Grand Angels. "We even have some from the northern part of the state."

Grand Angels launched a decade ago with the idea of focusing its investment on startups in the Grand Rapids area. Within a few years it expanded that focus to include the entire state of Michigan to enhance its deal flow. It started adding more members after making that decision, and now adds 3-4 new angel investors each year. The current membership stands at 48 high-net-worth individuals.

Source: Jody Vanderwel, president of Grand Angels
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Grow Michigan issues $20M in loans to 12 businesses in last year

Grow Michigan is wrapping up its first year of loans, dispersing $20.1 million to a dozen different growing companies in Michigan.

"Both the size and the speed of our loans is accelerating now that more and more people are becoming more aware of it," says Russell Youngdahl, Jr., CEO of Grow Michigan.

Grow Michigan got its start when a number of members of Michigan's banking community and the Michigan Strategic Fund put the $35.7 million fund together. It provides mezzanine loans that are made in conjunction with senior loans from other established lenders. Those loans range in size from $500,000 to $3 million.

"We're speculating that we will do $4 million a quarter (in loans)," Youngdahl says.

Among the recipients of the first round of loans are tier one and tier two automotive suppliers, aerospace manufacturers and hospitality firms.  

The $20.1 million in loans from Grow Michigan were part of a total debt package valued at $141 million. Those businesses employ more than 1,000 workers in the Great Lakes State.

Source: Russell Youngdahl, Jr., CEO of Grow Michigan
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Macomb-OU INCubator startups score seed funding

A handful of startups leveraging the Macomb-OU INCubator have scored a nice round of seed funding.

Three startups received a total of $78,000 from the Michigan Pre-Seed Microloan and the Business Accelerator funds. The winners include Splash350 ($15,000), Mobile Data Holdings ($38,000) and Coupon Wallet ($25,000).

"It's a big chunk of change for them when they are starting out," says Julie Gustafson, executive director of the Macomb-OU INCubator. "It helps propel them forward."

Splash360 is developing a software platform that allows customers to create, manage, customize and deliver brand-building marketing content. The Business Accelerator Fund money will help it launch and market the product.

"We think it’s a pretty exciting product," Gustafson says.

Mobile Data Holdings
has created a black box for data collection and verification that can be used in the seats of automobiles. The Business Accelerator Fund money will help Mobile Data Holdings test its Mobile Digital Video Recorder system.

Coupon Wallet received money from the Michigan Pre-Seed Microloan fund. Coupon Wallet's technology is digitizing paper coupons. Its microloan will help it integrate the technology with business loyalty programs.

Source: Julie Gustafson, executive director of the Macomb-OU INCubator
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Draper Triangle Ventures expands into Metro Detroit with new VC fund

More venture capital is coming to Metro Detroit now that a Pittsburgh-based venture capital firm is planting a flag in southeast Michigan.

Draper Triangle Ventures plans to sink a significant part of its newest investment fund in Michigan. To execute on that vision, the firm is setting up offices in Ann Arbor and downtown Detroit, and moving a managing director to the region to scout out new investments.

"Michigan is attractive for venture capital for a number of reasons," says Jonathan Murray, managing director of Draper Triangle Ventures. "There is a lot of good deal flow in Ann Arbor and Detroit. There is a lot of national exposure in Michigan."

Draper Triangle Investments specializes in early-stage investments in tech startups. Think software and IT companies that are creating products that could span a number of different sectors.

The venture capital firm has raised $75 million for its third fund. The goal for the fund is $100 million. That capital will be focused on tech startups based in western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. Investments will range between $1 million and $2 million. Murray expects to make 1-2 investments each year. He says one potential investment is already in the works and could come to fruition within the next few months.

Source: Jonathan Murray, managing director of Draper Triangle Ventures
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

AutoBike sales hit six figures in first summer season

AutoBike began selling its first bicycles this year, and it has hit some significant milestones in that time.

The Troy-based startup manufactures a bicycle with an automatic shifter meant to make a ride smoother for recreational and casual bike riders. It moved into a 7,000-square-foot warehouse and production facility last spring and began making sales in time for the summer riding season.

"We topped $100,000 in revenue in our first six months," says Sean Simpson, CEO of AutoBike.

The 2-year-old company was launched by a group of automotive industry veterans who applied their expertise to creating AutoBike's automatic shifter. The idea is the shifter will automatically change the bike’s gear to the optimal one for its rider.

AutoBike is composed of a team of eight people, which is up one person from the company's staff in 2012. It has raised $610,000 in seed capital, including the $25,000 prize from winning the Next Generation Manufacturing category at last week’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.

Source: Sean Simpson, CEO of AutoBike
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Accelerate Michigan helps bring more biz into tech scene

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition has traditionally been about growing Michigan's new economy. This year, the fourth for the competition, it's also about integrating traditional businesses with the local tech scene.

The emphasis is part of a wider effort to make Michigan’s new economy more inclusive. That includes making it welcoming to women, minorities, immigrants and a wider range of traditional businesses that normally don’t work in the tech community.

"It's very much about integrating different types of technology into small businesses," says Lauren Bigelow, executive director of Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. "That can give them a competitive edge or the opportunity to compete."

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is a business plan competition that awards $1 million in prizes, including a $500,000 first-place prize. The catch is the competing startups need to be based in Michigan or plan to move to the Great Lakes State to claim a prize.

The competition is held each November. This year the competition will be held in downtown Detroit, primarily in the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel, on Nov. 12-14. For information on the event, click here.

Source: Lauren Bigelow, executive director of Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Ford acquires Internet radio startup Livio

Ford has acquired Livio, the tech startup based in Ferndale. The terms of the deal were not released.

Livio, formerly Livio Radio, got its start making Internet radios. It has since evolved to make software that enhances in-car connectivity between the vehicle and the electronics its passengers use. Ford plans to allow the startup to keep traveling down its current path, leaving its staff intact at its home in Ferndale.

"It's a win not just for our staff but for entrepreneurs all over southeast Michigan," says Jake Sigal, CEO of Livio.

He adds that his startup's "plans haven't changed" after the acquisition, which includes continuing its hiring. It currently has four positions open for software developers (more info on those positions here) on top of its staff of 11 employees, four independent contractors and a few interns.

Livio also plans to continue working to set the bar in its sector by developing new intellectual property and products. "I can guarantee we will always come out with new stuff," Sigal says.

Source: Jake Sigal, CEO of Livio
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Delphinus Medical Technologies scores $11M in Series B funding round

Delphinus Medical Technologies has raised a Series B round of seed capital worth $11 million in equity and debt financing as it prepares to commercialize its SoftVue platform next year.

The 4-year-old start-up describes SoftVue as a “whole breast ultrasound tomography system” that will help diagnose breast cancer. Delphinus Medical Technologies filed for clearance for the technology with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which should be one of the final steps it needs to take before it begins making its first sales.

“We hope to get the clearance by the end of the year,” says Bill Greenway, CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies. He adds that will open the door to start sales through a dealer-distribution network in early- to mid-2014.

SoftVue originated in the labs of Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. It spun out of those institutions in 2009 and moved to Plymouth. It raised $12 million in a Series A round in the spring of 2010. The Series B round was co-led by Arboretum Ventures in Ann Arbor and Beringea in Farmington Hills. North Coast Technology Investors also participated in the Series B.

Delphinus Medical Technologies
has hired three people over the last year. Those hires included an electronics technician, a sales professional and a vice president of marketing. It currently has a staff of 20 employees and the occasional intern. The company is also looking to hire three people right now, primarily scientists and engineers.

Source: Bill Greenway, CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund bridges AutoBike's capital gap

The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund recently invested $250,000 in AutoBike, a hard-to-find cash infusion the bicycle start-up needed.

The Troy-based company is creating an automatic gear shift mechanism for bicycles that makes it easier to ride multi-speed bikes. It has raised $500,000, which has allowed the company to finish developing its technology and begin shipping its first products. The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund investment played a critical role.

"It meant everything to us," says Sean Simpson, CEO of AutoBike. "Because we're a hardware type of start-up and this is our first venture, it's hard to raise money. It bridges the gap of where we are and where we need to be to atract the next round of investors and really scale up and take our program national."

AutoBike is quickly selling its first shipment of bicycles, focusing on the summer riding markets in Michigan and Florida. The company currently has a staff of eight employees and two interns that is focused on expanding the market reach and achieving production efficiencies that will improve its profit margins.

"We have already sold through half of our first order of bikes," Simpson says.

Source: Sean Simpson, CEO of AutoBike
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

TM3 Systems scores Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund investment

TM3 Systems is spinning out technology developed at NextEnergy that is expected to make energy use in remote locations much more efficient.

The Royal Oak-based start-up's product meters, controls and conditions power usage in remote locations. The technology's grid monitoring and automatic generation and demand control optimizes off-grid power use.

"We see an incredible opportunity to increase the efficiency of power distribution in off-grid power applications that saves fuel and increases the effectiveness of those systems," says Nate Lowery, CEO of TM3 Systems.

The 8-month-old start-up and its team of three people have raised $750,000 in seed capital, including $250,000 from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund. It is aiming to raise more than $1 million in a seed capital round later this year. That money has allowed the company to build its prototypes, of which it has already sold six units.

"We are in the process of signing contracts as we speak," Lowery says.

Source: Nate Lowery, CEO of TM3 Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Former Microsoft CIO to give keynote speech at Accelerate Michigan

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition has landed a keynote speaker for this year's event that is a bit more corporate, and that's what organizers were going for.

Tony Scott has served as CTO of General Motors, CIO of Disney, and just recently stepped down as the CIO of Microsoft. He will serve as the business plan's keynote speaker at its awards ceremony on Nov. 14 at Orchestra Hall in downtown Detroit.

Lauren Bigelow, executive director of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, says Scott will be able to speak at length about a number of verticals, such as automotive, entertainment and technology. Scott will also be able to speak about how IT connects all of them and just about every other business market and what big corporations are looking for in the start-ups they acquire.

"He can bring a fantastic perspective on small- and medium-sized business and how Microsoft helps them grow," Bigelow says.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition will return to downtown Detroit this year with events set to be held in the Guardian Building and the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. The deadline for companies to apply to compete is set for Aug. 14. For information, click here.

Source: Lauren Bigelow, executive director of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

New principal one of two new hires at Beringea

Beringea, Michigan's largest venture capital firm, has hired two people over the last year, including making one big hire this summer.

The Farmington Hills-based firm recently brought on Mark Donnelly as a principal who will identify and analyze potential investments. The University of Michigan graduate left a job at the Riverside Company, a middle market private equity firm, to come to Beringea. Donnelly has also worked as a member of the investment team of DW Healthcare Partners and began his career as a strategy consultant at Bain & Co.

"He was born and raised in Michigan and was looking for an opportunity to come back," says Charlie Rothstein, founder & managing director of Beringea.

Beringea specializes in making investments in late-stage start-ups and has a portfolio of about 60 companies. It has a satellite office in London and employs 26 people, including 10 at its Farmington Hills headquarters.

The venture capital firm has experienced a sizable amount of activity in its Michigan portfolio. Earlier this summer, Beringea invested in the recapitalization of White Pigeon-based Fiber By-Products Corp, a processor, recycler, and manufacturer of wood products. Beringea also recently recorded an exit when RTI Biologics acquired Pioneer® Surgical Technology, a Beringea portfolio company. The Marquette-based company manufactures and distributes metal and synthetic products in the orthopedics, biologics, spine, trauma and cardiothoracic markets.  

"It was a terrific business, employing many people in the Marquette area," Rothstein says. He adds that "we expect great things from the rest of the companies in our portfolio."

Source: Charlie Rothstein, founder & managing director of Beringea
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Michigan VC industry grows, bucks national downward trend

On a national scale, the venture capital industry has been shrinking in recent years. That's not the case in Michigan, according to a recent report from the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

The Ann Arbor-based early investment advocacy group's report shows Michigan-based venture capital firms invested $242 million last year, allowing the state to jump from 25th to 15th in national VC rankings. Specifically, the Great Lakes State's number of VC professionals increased over the last two years (53 to 62) while the national numbers decreased (6,328 to 5,887). Michiagn's share of capital under management also creeped up from $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion.

"It's great for us to have such growth, to have so many things happening," says Carrie Jones, executive director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

Part of that steady growth is the state government's consistent efforts to expand the VC industry over the last decade-plus. Efforts and public money investment that began under Republican Gov. John Engler, continued under Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and are being further reinforced by current Republican Gov. Rick Snyder (a former venture capitalist), have made it possible to flourish in trying times for the overall industry.

Venture capital funds backed with public money, such as the Venture Michigan Fund and the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, have kept capital flowing despite the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression that made seed capital and financing scarce.

"There are a lot of pieces that need to come together to make a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem," Jones says. "It's good to know the state will support this industry."

Source: Carrie Jones, executive director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
350 Investment Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts