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Entrepreneurship Gaining Momentum in the Midwest :: Video

5/6/2011 --

"The light bulb has gone on," says Michigan Growth Capital Symposium founder David Brophy.

View Video Interview

Ann Arbor, Mich.— More than 40 startups, representing the "Best of the Midwest", vied for funding at the 30th Annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium May 10.

The participating ventures now join the more than 300 companies that have presented at the symposium during the last decade. In that time, 71 percent have raised capital totaling $1.7 billion in investment dollars and of those, 20 percent have gone on to realize successful exits.

In this video interview, MGCS founder and finance professor David Brophy talks about the evolution of Michigan's venture capital scene, the growth of entrepreneurship in the region, and what the future holds.

"There is no question that the quality of presenting startups has improved, which is a testament to the fact that we are part of something major happening in the Midwest," Brophy says. "The light bulb has gone on. Large research universities are embracing technology transfer, talent is staying local, and investors are doing deals here."

The 2011 MGCS roster represented the Midwest industries that have emerged as having the greatest growth potential, including information technology, clean technology, medical devices, and the life sciences. Among them were seven University spinouts, including InPore Technologies and Life Magnetics, as well as companies traveling from as far as Kentucky and Massachusetts to participate. This year marked an encore appearance for several companies, most notably Esperion Therapeutics. The Plymouth, Mich.-based biotech company presented in 1998, was bought out by Pfizer in 2004 for $1.3 billion, and, after divesting in 2008, is back to present in 2011.

Nextronex Energy Systems, a Toledo-based solar component manufacturing company, presented at the symposium for the first time, in the highly anticipated clean-tech track. Commenting on the value of the event, CEO Bruce Larsen said: “Many of the companies that have presented in the past have gone on to great success, which makes me confident that it is going to be a great forum for Nextronex. It has the clout to attract the influential Midwest and coastal VCs that we're eager to pitch, but it is still intimate enough that we're able to make one-on-one connections and cultivate relationships with them.”

Hosted by the Ross School of Business' Zell Lurie Institute with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association, the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium has become the gold standard for start-up investment in the Midwest. It serves as a conduit for introducing regional and national investors to promising startups and established, high growth organizations seeking funding. This year the format was expanded to include companies seeking angel and seed funding, as well as companies seeking follow-on rounds of funding up to $20 million.

View the complete list of presenting companies.

Follow MGCS on Twitter.

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