Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund Fuels Growth Of TechTown Startups
DETROIT — Three companies in TechTown’s Thrive business accelerator program have secured startup capital from the State of Michigan.
The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund Investment Program matched $250,000 in startup capital raised by Angott Medical Products, and matched $210,000 in startup capital raised by Clean Emission Fluids.
To qualify, both companies successfully completed the concept development and analysis phase of their business plans, and achieved specific commercialization milestones.
Similarly, TechTown clean-tech company ENRG Power Systems LLC secured a $50,000 loan from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund Micro Loan Program.
As Thrive clients, entrepreneurs Paul Angott, Oliver Baer and Milton Roye worked one-on-one with TechTown’s Entrepreneurial Champions to execute their business plans and access the talent, capital and resources necessary for their companies to navigate a highly competitive process successfully to ultimately secure these funds.
“Incubating and accelerating high-tech companies is a core aspect of our mission and a critical step in the creation of jobs that will keep talent in our state,” said Leslie Smith, president and CEO of TechTown. “These pre-seed investments and loans send a powerful message that Detroit is fertile ground for the creation of high-tech companies, and that TechTown is the premiere center in the city for entrepreneurs to nurture that growth.”
Skip Simms, senior vice president at Ann Arbor Spark and manager of the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, concurred, noting that the success of these TechTown companies “is further validation that entrepreneurship is growing again in Detroit and Southeast Michigan.”
“Given that entrepreneurs here are generating creative and innovative ideas that are investable, the significance of these monies for those entrepreneurs cannot be overstated,” Simms said. “Startup capital is difficult to come by, yet it is vital for new companies to survive in a global marketplace. The Pre-Seed Fund was created to propel startup companies to a point where they can commercialize their activities and, ultimately, secure investment from the private sector.”
Pre-Seed Capital Winners:
Paul Angott, President, Angott Medical Products, LLC Paul Angott founded Angott Medical Products in 2008, his fifth successful launch of a new company. The company owns patents for a new breast cancer detection device designed to screen patients in the physician’s office. Angott developed a prototype for the device by working in cooperation with the Smart Sensors Lab of Wayne State University’s College of Engineering. Recently named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Automation Alley, Angott secured financing from angel investors and venture capitalists for his first four companies, and achieved successful exits for the first two with multiple returns on investment. Angott is the inventor of 25 issued patents and has sold more than $100 million in patented products. One of his companies won 22 awards at the National Hardware Show. He has taken more than 30 products from concept to market, and in the process, has successfully built and managed national sales organizations. According to Angott, a $250,000 investment by the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund will enable his company to bring the TripleTest breast cancer screener closer to commercialization.
Oliver Baer, President and CEO, Clean Emission Fluids Inc. Oliver Baer decided to leave his automotive job during the industry shakeup. A fundamental lack of national infrastructure for the emerging biofuel and clean transportation industries drove Oliver to create his company, Clean Emission Fluids, in 2007. His innovative solution took shape in a FAST (Fluids Affordably Stored) station, a standalone unit creating an instant and portable fueling center for alternative fuels. This transformative technology enables fleet centers or truck stops to integrate biofuels easily and affordably. Working with TechTown, Baer received expert business model consulting, business plan development resources, mentoring, office space, a venue to conduct the initial production of stations and valuable public relations efforts to help establish the company’s credibility. CEF began generating sales of its FAST stations in 2008. Three years later, CEF expanded production of its next-generation stations and graduated from its space at TechTown. Baer moved his team’s operations to Focus: Hope, a TechTown partner in Detroit where there was ample manufacturing space. The company has created 2 full-time and 4 part-time positions, and contracts 8 to 12 manufacturing positions. Baer’s pioneering efforts to enable biofuel and clean transportation have been recognized by Fortune, CNN Money and Inc. Magazine. Baer says that the $210,000 Pre-Seed investment will enable Clean Emission Fluids to expand its R&D activities and scale the pace and volume of the commercialization of its alternative energy products.
Milton H. Roye, Jr., President and CEO, ENRG Power Systems LLC As co-founder and president of the clean-tech firm ENRG Power Systems LLC, Roye works with vehicle fleet operations to address the changing dynamics of the transportation industry, focusing on vehicle operating cost reductions and improving their emissions footprints. His plasma ignition system, which can be bolted onto existing fleet vehicles, increases truck and van fuel economy by 14 to 21 percent. Through ENRG Power Systems, he provides his clients with state-of-the-art technology and strategic analysis to improve fleet fuel economy and reduce vehicle emissions. ENRG Power Systems LLC is the first two-time award winner in the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, winning the Ford-sponsored Advanced Transportation Sector Award in 2010 and again in 2011. The company was also a National Semi-Finalist in the 2011 Clean-tech Open, the world’s largest clean technology incubator and competition. Roye explains that the $50,000 Pre-Seed Loan will give ENRG Power Systems the initial cash infusion it needs to expand the commercialization of its ignition system both regionally and nationally, showing that such a disruptive technology can also be practical, cost-effective and “green.”
The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund supports high-tech startup companies as they near commercial viability by providing access to early-stage capital investment or microloans to accelerate company development. Supported by a consortium of Michigan SmartZones and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and funded by the Michigan Strategic Fund, this capital will extend the personal investment of entrepreneurs during the critical pre-seed stage when they are at or near commercialization. The fund targets companies throughout the state that are creating the newest technology products and services.
The funds are intended to address a variety of business needs, which might include hiring key management or specialized consultants, regulatory review, contract manufacturing agreements, executing marketing strategies and sales plans, etc.
More at http://techtownwsu.org/.