MVCA Focuses on Building Momentum in Great Lakes Region During 2015 Annual Awards Dinner

Nov 16, 2015, 10:27 ET from Michigan Venture Capital Association

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At its 2015 Annual Awards Dinner on November 30, the Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) will honor Michigan's top investors and entrepreneurs, and celebrate the Great Lakes Region's venture capital successes. Honorees include Duo Security with the MVCA "100" Award, Mina Sooch with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and Arboretum Ventures with the Capital Event of the Year Award. Trillium Ventures' founder and general partner Tom Porter is receiving the MVCA Lifetime Achievement Award. The evening of the dinner, MVCA will also announce the winner of a new award, the "Up and Coming Investor of the Year", in recognition of a new investor making their mark on the entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.

"The Great Lakes Region, powered by a decade of tremendous growth in the entrepreneurial and investment community, has become a major player, nationally, in venture capital and angel investing," said Maureen Miller Brosnan, MVCA executive director. "In the last 10 years, the number of companies receiving investment in the Great Lakes Region has grown by 113 percent, compared to 34 percent nationally, making it one of the fastest growing regions for venture capital investment. In addition, the Great Lakes Region is the second largest active angel community in the country with angels investing 16 percent of all dollars invested in early stage companies."

Launching and growing a company in the Great Lakes Region means creating a business that can thrive nationally, supported by local venture firms and angel groups whose investment activity has gained the region national prominence, "It's an exciting time to be part of the entrepreneurial community in Michigan," Brosnan added. "Even as we celebrate this growth, we recognize the need to build on this momentum in order to secure the long-term viability of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our region."

The MVCA Annual Awards Dinner attracts attendees from across the nation to celebrate the success of the entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.  This year, the organization proactively engaged investors from throughout the Great Lakes Region to join in celebrating shared successes. In addition to featuring awardees, the MVCA Annual Awards Dinner will include a keynote by Gregg Kaplan, operating partner at Pritzker Group in Chicago, IL and founder of Redbox. Tickets for the 2015 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner are available for purchase online.

The 2015 MVCA 100 Award winner, Duo Security well surpassed 100 employees in 2015. To support that growth, the company raised a $30 million Series C round, bringing total venture funding in the company to $48 million.  Nationally recognized venture investors including Google Ventures, True Ventures, and Benchmark Capital have supported the company on its dramatic growth trajectory. 

Serial entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of a vibrant, growing venture capital community. This year, Mina Sooch, the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year, proved she has the determination to nurture multiple promising startups from seed stage to exit. Sooch is leading her second venture-backed biotech startup as president and CEO of cardiovascular drug company Gemphire Therapeutics Inc.  In 2015, Sooch guided Gemphire through their Series B round with many nationally recognized venture investors.  Prior to joining Gemphire Therapeutics, Sooch served as the CEO and board member of ProNAi Therapeutics, a clinical-stage oncology company.

Winner of the 2015 Capital Event of the Year Award, Arboretum Ventures' $220 million fundraiser broke state records, and within the Great Lakes Region, is one of the top five largest funds raised. Arboretum IV builds on the success of the firm's previous healthcare-focused funds, which target capital efficient companies that can meaningfully reduce costs in the firm's areas of expertise: devices, diagnostics, services, and IT.  Arboretum Ventures boasts many multi-million dollar exits in its portfolio, and the firm found some of its best investments in the Great Lakes Region, including Accuri Cytometers, acquired by Becton, Dickinson and Co. in 2011 for $205 million; Esperion, IPO in 2013; HandyLab, acquired by Becton, Dickinson and Co. in 2009 for $285 million, and HealthMedia, acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2008 for an estimated $180 million.  

Over the past 30 years, Tom Porter, the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Awardee, has remained dedicated to building Michigan's entrepreneurial and investment community and guiding students and young professionals interested in joining the industry. In 1987, he co-founded EDF Ventures, an Ann Arbor venture capital firm where he oversaw health care investing.  He also served on the faculty at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, and was an Executive-in-Residence at the School's Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. While at the University of Michigan, Porter founded and directed the Frankel Fund (now the Zell Lurie Fund), a student-run, seed stage investment fund.  In addition, he provided guidance and support to the investment community in Michigan by serving on the board of the Michigan Venture Capital Association as one of the founding members.

About the MVCA
The MVCA is a non-profit trade organization designed to bring together venture capital industry participants in the state of Michigan.  The organization's goal is to grow and sustain a vibrant venture capital community in Michigan.  Membership includes venture capital firms, corporate venture funds, private equity firms, angel investors, and entrepreneurial infrastructure participants.  The MVCA is a vehicle to bring together industry participants and to provide a concerted voice for Michigan's venture capital industry.


SOURCE Michigan Venture Capital Association