Entrepreneurially energized

Frank Provenzano

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

MVCA honors 2015 influencers in VC and entrepreneurial community

"As a result of the efforts of these dedicated leaders, the Great Lakes region continues to be an ideal area for early stage and startup companies to secure funding, successfully launch, and ultimately make an impact.” --Fredrick Molnar, MEDC’s Vice President of Entrepreneurism and Innovation and Managing Director of MLSIC

The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), a nonprofit that brings together VC industry participants in Michigan, recognized several organizations and individuals at its 2015 annual awards dinner for contributing to the momentum around entrepreneurship and investment in the Great Lakes region. 

The MEDC congratulates the following award recipients, and thanks them for their dedication to the development and growth of our state’s entrepreneurial community.

Arboretum Ventures received the "Capital Event of the Year" award for its record-breaking $220 million raise of Arboretum IV L. P., which is one of the top five largest funds raised in the Great Lakes region. The Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm specializes in the healthcare sector, with expertise in the areas of devices, diagnostics, services and IT. 

Ann Arbor-based Duo Security, an advanced security solutions provider, received the “100 Award” for well surpassing 100 employees in 2015. To date, Duo Security has brought in $48 million of venture funding. 

While the rapidly growing company has secured nationally recognized investors and has opened offices in both Silicon Valley and London, it continues to draw attention to the Great Lakes region and remains an excellent example of a thriving company, successfully launched and grown in Michigan. 

The "Entrepreneur of the Year" honor was awarded to Mina Sooch, a Michigan entrepreneur and venture capitalist leading her second venture-backed biotech startup as president and CEO of Gemphire Therapuetics Inc

Prior to joining Gemphire, Sooch was the CEO and board director of ProNAi Therapeutics, a clinical-stage oncology company where she raised over $70 million in Series C and D financing. As co-founder of the early stage life sciences venture capital fund, Apjohn Ventures, Sooch is well known as a dedicated advocate for the venture capital community in Michigan. 

Tom Porter, founder and General Partner of Trillium Ventures, received the "Lifetime Achievement" award for more than 30 years of dedication to building Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In the 1980s, Porter co-founded EDF Ventures, one of the earliest venture capital firms in the state, where he managed health care investing. Porter was also a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business for more than 20 years. He founded and directed the school’s Frankel Fund, a student-run, seed stage investment fund. Porter has served on several boards and is still actively involved in building Michigan’s venture community.

Adrian Ohmer, principal at Detroit Innovate, received the "Up & Coming Investor of the Year" award. Ohmer is deeply involved in Michigan’s entrepreneurial community, having co-founded the Venture Lab at the University of Michigan, helping to establish the NextGen Michigan professionals group, working with local accelerator programs, and building relationships with organizations throughout the Great Lakes region to foster entrepreneurial growth and talent retention.

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