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Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Creates Investment and Growth Opportunities for Startups Across Midwest

4/18/2011 --

May 10 equity event marks 30 years at the center of innovation and growth capital investing in the region.

Ann Arbor, Mich.—Every May for the past three decades, investors from across the country have traveled to the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) for a first look at the most promising startups emerging from the greater Midwest. These "best of the Midwest" companies represent the high-growth industries, such as technology, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and alternative energy, which are driving economic development in the region and positioning it to become a hub for innovation and investment activity.

In the past decade alone, more than 300 companies have presented. About 70 percent of these have raised capital totaling more than $1.7 billion in investments, and nearly 20 percent have realized successful exits. MGCS 2011 is set for May 10-11, and will feature:

A keynote address by cleantech industry leader Reidar Langmo of Novus Energy Partners

A keynote address by leading venture capitalist Jay Hoag, MBA '82, of Technology Crossover Ventures

42 pre-qualified Midwest companies seeking up to $20 million in funding

Five expert panels on timely issues impacting investors and entrepreneurs

Two days of high-level networking

Although many of the symposium's most successful presenting companies hail from Michigan, such as HealthMedia and HandyLab, the event is also a vehicle to showcase the best and brightest from surrounding states. In the past decade, more than one-third of presenting companies have been based in the greater Midwest, including Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Popular retail healthcare center, MinuteClinic, was a small Minnesota-based startup known as QuickMedx when it presented at the MGCS in 2003. The company now operates more than 500 locations in 26 states and was acquired by CVS Corp. in 2006. Other successful symposium alumni companies include:

Zystor (2010 presenter) — A Wisconsin-based developer of enzyme replacement therapies for treating lysosomal storage disorders that experienced a $115 exit in 2010 when it was acquired by BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

Orion Energy Systems (2006 presenter) — A Wisconsin-based energy-efficient technology company that completed its initial public offering in April 2010

Arryx (2003 presenter) — A Chicago-based provider of innovative blood management solutions that was purchased by Haemonetics Corp. in 2006 for $26 million

Dean Koch, president, CEO, and board member of Ohio-based CerviLenz, presented at the 2010 event, and notes several positive outcomes resulting from the company's participation. "I had an opportunity to talk to a number of venture funds from around the country and identify a few funds that would potentially play a role in our B-round," he says. "That's the purpose at this point: to get a widening group of funds that are aware of us, and see where there might be some matches based on the size of their funds. By developing a relationship with them over time, they get an opportunity to see us, as a management team, hit our milestones."

MGCS founder David Brophy is director of the Office for the Study of Private Equity Finance and an associate professor of finance at Ross. "When I started the symposium," he notes, "Ted Doan, who had been CEO of Dow Chemical and ran one of the first venture funds, said it would be a 30-year job to influence the direction of the Midwest toward knowledge-based industry. This whole effort has been about that—and specifically to repair the deficiency we had in access to finance here—by giving young companies the opportunity to present themselves to investors from around the country. That portal idea has taken hold, and it's been emulated literally around the world. This program has resonated very well with anybody who is interested in building an entrepreneurial company and funding it."

Hosted by the Ross School of Business' Zell Lurie Institute with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association, the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium is taking place May 10-11 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti. Register online and track #MGCS on Twitter for up-to-the-minute event updates.

For more information, contact:
Mary Nickson, (734) 615-4424,