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MI pre-seed fund invests in 9 new start-ups

From official press release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Nine Michigan companies recently received investments from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, totaling more than $2 million. To date, the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, a collaborative effort of Michigan’s SmartZones, has awarded 72 Michigan companies with seed funding totaling more than $16 million.

“The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund is helping businesses across the state bring their innovative products to market,” said Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK’s senior vice president and administrator of the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund. “As more companies continue to apply for and receive these funds, we fulfill the Fund’s mission of diversifying economic opportunity in Michigan.”

The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund supports a start-up’s commercialization efforts. Specific innovations include:

Angott Medical Products, based in Bloomfield Hills, is developing breast cancer testing technology.

Axonia Medical, of Kalamazoo, is developing technology to rebuild and restore damaged peripheral or central nervous systems using tissue-engineered nerve grafts.

Ann Arbor-based Blaze Medical Devices is developing spectral analysis for red blood cells.

Coliant Corporation, of Warren, is developing a power outlet to connect and mount electrical devices on motorcycles and other outdoor recreational vehicles.

Plymouth-based DeNovo Sciences, winner of the 2011 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, is developing a microfluidic device that captures and isolates viable cancer cells in their own compartments where single cell analysis can be done.

ePaySelect, of Midland, is developing an electronic bill payment system.

Oxus America, of Rochester Hills, is developing a portable oxygen concentrator medical device.

Syzygy Biotech, based in Grand Rapids, is developing biotech products for DNA amplification used in research.

Grand Rapids-based Varsity News Network is developing custom, online high school sports publications.

Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund companies have attracted more than $20 million in matching grant and equity funds. Combined, Michigan Pre-Seed Fund investments have helped to create more than 100 jobs in Michigan.

The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund is an equity fund that invests in technology-based companies to support business formation and acceleration. Ann Arbor SPARK serves as the Fund’s administrator.

To qualify for the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, start-up companies must be based on a technology in one of the state’s identified competitive technologies and have the sponsorship of a local SmartZone. In addition to SmartZone sponsorship, companies must have received grant, angel or venture capital funding as a match with the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund investment.

The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund is an equity investment fund that receives the same returns as the third party investor. The returns that the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund receives from its investments will be redeployed by the Fund as first round capital to Michigan-based start-ups.

Funds for this initiative were provided by the 21st Century Jobs Fund, a Michigan Strategic Fund program designed to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (“MEDC”), a public-private partnership between the state and local communities, provides administrative support for the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The MEDC markets Michigan and provides the tools and environment to drive job creation and investment. For more information on the 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative, visit www.MichiganAdvantage.org .


Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

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  1. admin May 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Axonia Medical, an early stage company pioneering a revolutionary approach to repair and restore damaged peripheral and central nervous systems, announced today that the company has closed on $2.0 million in seed financing. The financing was led by Southwest Michigan First Life Science Venture Fund and included participation from Ann Arbor SPARK and Western Michigan University Research Foundation, Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center.

    “We are very excited about our investment in Axonia Medical. The company has a number of the features we look for in an early-stage entity, including a talented and innovative team, world-class technology, an established intellectual property position and large market opportunity,” said Patrick Morand, Managing Director, Southwest Michigan First Life Science Venture Fund. “We look forward to working closely with the company and helping Axonia Medical reach its potential and build a world-class business.”

    Nervous system injuries comprise a diverse group of disorders that include peripheral nerve injury (PNI), spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke. The common thread among these injuries is debilitation that is often severe, chronic and life altering. On its own, the nervous system has an extremely limited capacity to repair itself after injury – whether the damage results from the severing of a peripheral nerve following trauma or surgery, a blow to the head or spine, or lack of oxygen to the brain. Yet, there is a remarkable absence of viable treatment options to repair the injury and/or restore function, especially in brain and spinal cord injuries.

    Leveraging ground-breaking discoveries regarding the growth and repair of the nervous system by its scientific founder, Dr. Douglas H. Smith at the University of Pennsylvania, Axonia Medical is developing novel and proprietary therapies for the functional repair of nervous systems. By recapitulating the anatomy of the nervous system, the company’s products are expected to bridge lost nervous tissue and jump-start regenerative mechanisms to achieve levels of functional recovery not possible with current technologies. Axonia Medical will use the seed funding to accelerate development of its lead product for peripheral nerve injury following traumatic injury and tumor resection, areas of significant unmet medical need due to the ineffectiveness and limited utility of current standards of care.

    “The seed financing represents a significant milestone and thrilling time for our company,” said Co-Founder/President & CEO Harry Ledebur. “We believe our technology to be truly disruptive, a platform capable of transforming medical care for those unfortunate enough to suffer from a debilitating injury to their nervous system. This seed capital represents our opportunity to clearly demonstrate the far-reaching potential of our technology in large animal models while positioning our products for human clinical testing.”

    “As one of the earliest participants in the UPstart Program at Penn, we are extremely proud of the progress that Axonia has made to date,” noted John Swartley, Deputy Executive Director of the Center for Technology Transfer at the University of Pennsylvania. “They are establishing a clear example and path that we are actively encouraging other UPstart companies to follow.”

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