Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, April 27, 2012

Zell Lurie Institute leads Midwest's foremost venture capital event

Led by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) showcases innovation within the state and surrounding region by bringing together "Best in the Midwest" companies with leading venture capitalists, angel investors and institutional investors.


For more information, go to the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium website, or contact Mary Nickson at 734-615-4424.

For more than three decades, MGCS has provided dozens of early stage and emerging growth startups with the opportunity to pitch their business concepts to high-quality investors from around the country.

This year's symposium is May 15-16 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti. The event will showcase 32 presenting companies seeking $500,000-$20 million, host more than 75 investment firms, and feature six panels comprising high-profile investors and leading entrepreneurs. Jason Mendelson of Foundry Group and Noubar Afeyan of Flagship Ventures also are scheduled to appear. 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 of those have raised capital totaling more than $1.7 billion in investments, and nearly 20 percent have realized successful exits. Nearly a quarter of the presenting companies have been university-based spinoffs, raising capital totaling some $430 million in investments. Forty-nine companies have come from the University Research Corridor institutions: U-M, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

The five-month, multi-stage 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 a lot of commercialization-ready research coming out of Midwest universities and a growing network of resources to support them," says MGCS founder David J. Brophy, director of the Office for the Study of Private Equity Finance and professor of finance at the Ross School. "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 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 R&D 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."