Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, February 10, 2012

Symposium asking companies to apply for positions to pitch for funding

Organizers of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium have issued a call for presenting companies for the 31st annual event May 15-16 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti.

Each year, the symposium serves as a conduit for introducing early stage and emerging growth companies seeking funding to U.S. investors prospecting deals. It also has played a key role in trumpeting spinoff companies from Midwest research universities.


Click here for an application, as well as registration and sponsorship information.

The early application deadline is Feb. 23 and the final deadline is midnight March 6.

The symposium is presented by the Zell Lurie Institute for Enterpreneurial Studies' Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association. It serves as an important vehicle for bringing greater awareness and opportunity to emerging and growing startups in the greater Midwest, where the venture capital community has flourished in the past decade.

Since 2000, more than 300 companies have presented at the symposium and about 70 percent of those companies have gone on to raise capital totaling more than $1.7 billion in investments. University spinoffs represented nearly a quarter of all presenting companies with nearly half of those hailing from U-M.

"The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium is recognized as the one event that people from around the country can come to in order to meet the investors and entrepreneurs that matter most in the Midwest," said David Brophy, founder and director of the symposium and professor of finance at the Ross School. "It has resonated very well over the past three decades with anybody who is interested in building a company here and funding it."

Symposium organizers are requesting privately held companies from a range of industries and which are seeking $500,000 to $20 million in funding. Companies that present at the event are offered an opportunity to pitch their business to venture capitalists, angel investors and institutional investors in one place. Presenting companies also gain access to expert coaching and preparation assistance, exhibit space and invaluable networking opportunities.

After raising $500,000 in pre-seed funding at the 2010 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, Robert Fulk, president of Inventure Enterprises, returned to the symposium in 2011 seeking another $2.5 million from investors.

"This is the biggest and most prominent event of its kind in Michigan and the Midwest," says Fulk, whose East Lansing-based startup company has developed a new software system that automates the background-checking processes for state and federal homeland-security agencies. "It's not just about money. We're here to develop and deepen relationships for future funding with banks, angel groups, venture capitalists and private investors. People invest in who they know."

Presenting companies will be independently selected by a committee of qualified venture capitalists from across the U.S. The selected companies will be notified on April 5.