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Ross' Zell Lurie Institute Leads the Midwest's Foremost Venture Capital Event

5/8/2012 --

Annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium slated for May 15-16.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For more than three decades, the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) — led by the Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business — has provided dozens of early stage and emerging growth startups with an unparalleled opportunity to pitch their business concepts to high-quality investors from around the country.

MGCS showcases innovation within the state and the surrounding region by bringing together "Best in the Midwest" companies with leading venture capitalists, angel investors, and institutional investors.

This year's symposium will take place May 15-16 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti.

The MGCS will showcase 32 presenting companies seeking $500K-$20M. It also will host more than 75 investment firms and will feature six panels comprised of the high-profile investors and leading entrepreneurs the MGCS is known for attracting. Jason Mendelson of Foundry Group and Noubar Afeyan of Flagship Ventures are scheduled to headline. U-M President Mary Sue Coleman will provide the opening remarks the morning of May 16.

In the past decade alone, more than 300 companies have presented at the symposium. About 70 percent have raised capital totaling more than $1.7 billion in investment, and nearly 20 percent have realized successful exits. Nearly a quarter of these presenting companies have been university-based spinouts, raising capital totaling some $430 million in investments. A total of 49 companies have come from Michigan's University Research Corridor Institutions — the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University.

The five month, multistage MGCS planning process includes the provision of expert coaching and pitch preparation support for selected companies through coordination with the New Enterprise Forum and Small Business Development and Technology Centers. In addition, a team of national investors independently reviews applications to help select the final list of presenting companies. This year more than 70 Midwest-based companies submitted applications to present, and 32 were selected. In addition to the pre-event pitch support, companies also receive exhibit space at the symposium and invaluable networking opportunities.

"We've got an awful lot of commercialization-ready research coming out of Midwest universities and a growing network of resources to support them," says symposium founder David Brophy, director of the Office for the Study of Private Equity Finance and associate professor of finance at Ross. "This has produced viable, real companies and we're doing a better job of getting our companies known and shown. The symposium is a great way to pole-vault your company in that direction because we bring in people from those other markets."

Since the first symposium launched on March 27, 1980, countless deals have been struck. University researchers on the commercialization track and entrepreneurs from across the Midwest have procured angel and venture-capital financing for their startups. Investors from the East and West coasts have co-invested in new ventures with their counterparts from Michigan and the Midwest.

"There's a perfect storm of activity happening in Michigan, including incentives offered by the state, further development of the entrepreneurial community, and sizable investments in research and development from local universities," says Mary Nickson, manager of the symposium and marketing manager at the Zell Lurie Institute. "People are paying close attention to activity here."

Learn more about the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium at or view a list of participating companies. You also can follow @ZellLurie on Twitter and use hashtag #MGCS to tweet about the symposium.

—Mary Nickson

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