ANN ARBOR — Organizers of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Wednesday issued a call for presenting companies for the 31st annual event.

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 has also played a key role in trumpeting spin-outs of Midwest world-class research Universities.

Presented by the University of Michigan Zell Lurie Institute’s Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance at the Ross School of Business with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association, this year’s Symposium will be held May 15 and 16 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti.

The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium serves as an important vehicle for fostering greater awareness and opportunity to emerging and growing start-ups 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 spin-outs represented nearly a quarter of all presenting companies with nearly half of those hailing from the University of Michigan.

“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 J. Brophy, founder and director of the Symposium and professor of finance at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. “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 seeking $500,000 to $20 million in funding. Companies that present at the event are offered a valuable 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,” said Fulk, whose East Lansing-based start-up company has developed a new software system that automates the background-checking processes for state and federal 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.”

The early application deadline is Feb. 23 and the final deadline is March 6 at midnight. 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. The application, as well as registration and sponsorship information, can be found on the Symposium’s website,


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