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Week of May 2, 2011

Michigan Growth Capital Symposium paves the way for startups

The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, U-M’s annual showcase of up-and-coming startup companies, is at the center of a report released last week that shows that investors have committed $735 million to more than 120 venture-backed businesses in Michigan over the last five years.

For the past 30 years, the MGCS has connected leading investors nationwide with early-stage companies and emerging technologies in Michigan and the Midwest, including many of those contained in the report. The Michigan Venture Capital Association, which issued the new report on Michigan’s investment landscape, provides support to the MGCS. The symposium is hosted by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and presented by the Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

“We’ve worked tirelessly to help Michigan-based venture investors develop and succeed, and the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium has marched lockstep with us to ensure these firms can connect with high-growth potential startups that will lead to successful exits and a bright economic future for the state,” says LeAnn Auer, executive director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

The MGCS, which will be held May 10-11 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti, will host 42 companies from a range of industries seeking up to $20 million in funding.

In the past decade alone, more than 300 companies have presented at the symposium. About 70 percent of these new companies have raised capital totaling more than $1.7 billion in investments.

The MGCS has brought greater awareness and opportunity to startups emerging from research departments of leading universities across the country. Nearly a quarter of the companies have been university-based spinouts from Michigan and the Midwest, raising capital totaling some $430 million in investments.

About 70 percent (a total of 49 companies) have come from Michigan’s University Research Corridor institutions — U-M, Michigan State and Wayne State. One-fifth of MGCS companies have realized successful exits, including U-M spinouts Arbor Networks, HandyLab, Incept Biosystems, Sensicore, HealthMedia and Accuri.

“The symposium represents the many people and organizations that work tirelessly to prove to the world that Michigan has what it takes — the research, the investment power and the talented entrepreneurs, among other things — to develop into an innovation hub that could hold its own with the likes of the Silicon Valley and Boston,” says MGCS founder David Brophy, a finance professor at the Ross School.

For more information about MGCS, go to



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Gifts of Art presents “The Tie that Binds: Book Arts Group Show,” featuring School of Art & Design student works through June 13 in the Taubman Health Center South Lobby, Floor 1.

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