EY and SolomonEdwards honor the 2015 Venture Capital Award of Excellence winners

Oct 14, 2015, 15:50 ET from EY

NEW YORK, Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Guidewire Software, Seragon / Aragon Pharmaceuticals, and WeWork will receive EY's 2015 Venture Capital Award of Excellence, presented as part of the EY Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, Calif., on Wednesday, November 11, 2015.

"Venture capital continues to be a key accelerator, which transforms businesses from startups into high-growth companies," said Jeff Grabow, US Venture Capital Leader, Ernst & Young LLP.  "The Venture Capital Award of Excellence was established to honor those organizations that have embraced not only the funding that the VC community offers but also their strategic guidance."

Now in its tenth year, the Venture Capital Award of Excellence winners are selected from the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® regional winners whose companies have been backed by venture capital funding.  The recipients were selected on the basis of VC funding, equity and revenue growth, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margins, and the executives' stories.  The winners were selected out of nearly 75 nominees by an independent panel of judges, comprised of  leading venture capitalists from across the country including: Steve Goldberg, PhD, Partner, Venrock; Richard Heitzmann, Founder and Managing Director, FirstMark Capital; Kim Kamdar, PhD, Partner, Domain Associates; and Evan Morgan,-Partner, Revolution Growth.

"Venture funding continues to play a critical role in the entrepreneurship eco-system," said Edward S. Baumstein, president and CEO of SolomonEdwards. "Startups are seeking investments at record highs and private financing remains strong. These awards shine an important spotlight on how the collaboration between strategic venture capital partners and startups can create stronger companies."

Highlights from the 2015 Venture Capital Award of Excellence winners' stories include:

Guidewire, Marcus Ryu, CEO, President and Co-Founder
Guidewire exists to deliver the software that Property/Casualty (P/C) insurers need to adapt and succeed in a time of rapid industry change, and to ensure that every customer succeeds in the journey. The company has distinguished itself from its competitors by focusing on a single industry; and by building long-lasting relationships with system integration partners, complementary software vendors and, most importantly, with its P/C insurance customers.

Guidewire received three rounds of financing raising a total of more than $36 million. Bay Partners LLC and USVP Management Company LLC were the lead investors. Guidewire went public in January 2012 and uses the capital in the research and development of its core, data, and digital products and to expand its operations globally.

With more than 200 customers in 22 countries, Guidewire has proven itself on a global scale and is on its way to becoming the premier P/C insurance software provider in the world.

Seragon / Aragon Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Rich Heyman, CEO and President
In 2009, during the depths of the global financial crisis, Dr. Heyman founded Aragon to develop new molecular approaches to the treatment of prostate cancer. The Column Group and OrbiMed Advisors LLC saw the value in Dr. Heyman's fledgling company, investing $8 million in the first product development round.

Not long afterward, Aragon's research led to a promising second opportunity: it began developing therapeutics for breast cancer as well as prostate cancer. The second product development round brought in another $22 million with Aisling Capital joining in.

There would be two additional rounds of funding before the company was sold, with $42 million raised in the third round, led by Topspin Partners, and $50 million in the fourth round, led by VenBio LLC.

The parallel strategy -- pursuing two therapeutic paths at the same time -- increased the company's burn rate, but the reward proved to be well worth the risk; by carefully selecting sale partners for each line of treatment, Dr. Heyman made sure that both lines would get the development they deserved while delivering solid value to his investors. Aragon and its prostate cancer therapies were sold in August 2013 and Seragon Pharmaceuticals was immediately spun out focusing on the breast cancer program: in less than a year, Seragon  followed suit with a pharma acquisition by Genentech/Roche. In both cases, the new big pharma owners are well-placed to bring the therapies to market.

WeWork, Adam Neumann, CEO and Co-Founder
WeWork is a platform for creators, providing more than 30,000 members around the world with space, community, and services through both physical and virtual offerings.

Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey opened the first WeWork location in New York's Soho neighborhood in 2010, and have since grown to have members in more than 50 locations in 16 cities around the world.

To date, WeWork has attracted a total of $568.9 million from investors such as T. Rowe Price, Goldman Sachs, Benchmark Capital and Wellington Management.

Their mission is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. Adam and team plan to continue growing its community in new cities around the world and increasing the membership from today's 30,000 to more than 100,000.

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the United States by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  SolomonEdwards is the EY Venture Capital Award of Excellence sponsor.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries. ey.com/eoy

About EY's Strategic Growth Markets Network
EY's worldwide Strategic Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high-growth companies. For more than 30 years, we've helped many of the world's most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early stage, venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed. For more information, please visit us at ey.com/sgm or follow news on Twitter @EY_Growth.

About SolomonEdwards
SolomonEdwards is a national professional services firm focused on strategy execution. We create success for our clients by providing extensive experience, deep subject matter expertise and adaptability within ever-changing business dynamics. Through custom solutions we execute to solve clients' critical business issues related to business transformation, accounting and finance, governance and regulatory compliance and mergers and acquisitions. Our strength lies in our ability to recruit, deploy and manage teams of specialized experts from our Business Consulting, Professional Search, and Interim Resources divisions who are singularly focused on driving results. Please visit www.SolomonEdwards.com.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member of the global EY organization that provides services to clients in the US.

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