Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Bridget Beckman, MEDC,(517) 335-4590
Bob Payne, Credit Suisse, (248) 945-7373
Veteran Investor Rick Snyder a Principal of Michigan-Based Fund
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James C. Epolito today announced Michigan Strategic Fund board approval of an investment of up to $7.5 million through the Michigan 21st Century Investment Fund in the new Ardesta Ventures I, LP venture capital fund. The fund will focus on investments in nanotechnology, life sciences and alternative energy technology companies based in the Midwest.
“This fund allows Michigan to invest in high-tech industries and companies to diversify our economy and create jobs,” Granholm said. “This investment will provide critical funding for Michigan ventures in targeted technology sectors.”
Co-founding partners of the new Ardesta Ventures I, Rick Snyder, Chris Rizik and Steve Johns, have together raised over $180 million since 1997 with two previous ventures, Avalon Technologies LLC and Ardesta LLC. They have a strong network of close relationships with universities, research institutions and companies in Michigan. Snyder, former President and COO of Gateway Computers, is a member of the University of Michigan’s Technology Transfer National Advisory Board and the Chairman of the Board of Ann Arbor SPARK. Rizik serves as President and Chairman of NextEnergy, the Detroit nonprofit alternative energy incubator and maintains strong ties with Wayne State University. The principals of Ardesta Ventures I have shown a commitment to building and growing technology companies in Michigan. To date, they have invested in 15 companies in the state and expanded employment at those companies more than ten-fold.
Two Ardesta portfolio companies have recently announced major new investments in Michigan with the assistance of MEDC. HandyLab Inc. was offered a state tax credit valued at $672,000 to support a $3-million expansion in Pittsfield Township expected to create 138 new jobs, including 56 directly by the company, and Sensicore was offered a state tax credit worth more than $1.5 million to support a $4.7-million research and manufacturing expansion in Ann Arbor projected to create 338 jobs, including 156 directly by the company.
“This new fund with experienced principals deeply rooted and connected with Michigan’s university, research and business communities will play a key role in the formation of the next generation of high-tech companies that will create good-paying jobs in Michigan,” said Epolito, who is also the chair of the MSF board. “We are leveraging our automotive legacy to become leaders in competitive-edge fields like life sciences and alternative energy.”
The 21st Century Investment Fund is a major component of Governor Granholm’s 21st Century Jobs Fund, a $2-billion, 10-year initiative to diversify the state’s economy and grow high-tech companies and jobs. Commitments through the fund can only be invested in companies that have a strong Michigan presence. The program is focused on generating strong returns while creating and retaining Michigan jobs. Including this investment, the MSF has authorized up to $62.5 million of investments in venture capital, mezzanine, and private equity funds through the 21st Century Investment Fund.
“Credit Suisse is excited to have a manager such as Ardesta in this program,” said Kelly Williams, a Managing Director and Co-Head of Credit Suisse's Customized Fund Investment Group. “The team has proven itself to be one of the premier venture investors in Michigan and has built close relationships with universities, research institutions and companies in the state.”
The $109 million 21st Century Investment Fund seeks to strengthen and diversify Michigan’s economic base by fostering the creation and growth of new jobs, new businesses, and new industries within the state through investments in private equity, venture capital and mezzanine funds, as well as potential co-investments in individual companies alongside these funds. The Michigan Strategic Fund contracts with Credit Suisse to develop and administer investment programs under the Michigan 21st Century Investment Fund. More information is available at www.michigan21stcenturyinvestmentfund.com.
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