UM Venture Capital Event Adds University Pitch Track

ANN ARBOR  — Organizers of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium announced a new track session that will spotlight the startup possibilities at Midwest research universities and profile several emerging companies.

Dubbed the University Research Pitch Track, the session will be led by Gary Keller, vice president of the Midwest Research University Network, on June 18.

This new session will supplement existing expert-led panel discussions as well track sessions featuring 32 companies selected to present their business at the 33rd annual MGCS.

Hosted by the Ross School of Business’ Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan, with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association, this year’s event will be held June 17-18 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti. The symposium introduces early stage and emerging growth companies seeking funding to investors prospecting for deals.

Developed with the support of MRUN, the University Research Pitch Track is designed to draw attention to the breadth and quality of emerging technology companies coming out of Midwest universities. MRUN is a not-for-profit consortium of commercialization stakeholders of academic research institutions and federal laboratories, angel and venture capitalists, and technology accelerators across 14 Midwest states and two provinces of Canada.

“Midwest universities represent a significant concentration of the country’s research dollars, technology developments and innovations,” said UM professor and MGCS founder David J. Brophy. “Partnering with MRUN to profile the great work being done at these universities, as well as the high potential startups emerging from these programs is a great addition to the symposium. It allows us to paint an even broader picture of the exciting entrepreneurial activity in the Midwest and exposes our attending investors to a more diverse set of investment opportunities.”

Current participants in the new track include Jack Miner, director of the Venture Center at the University of Michigan; Russ Straate, associate director of the Venture Center at the University of MinnesotaJeff Banker, CEO in Residence of Spartan Innovations at Michigan State University; and Jed Taylor, assistant director of the Technology Entrepreneur Center at the University of Illinois. Presenting for 10-12 minutes, each university speaker will provide an overview of the startup landscape at their institution, followed by snapshots of several new ventures emerging from these programs. Investors in attendance will then have access to company executive summaries and contact information for follow up.

This year’s symposium program will also feature a keynote address from Exact Sciences’ Kevin Conroy, as well as five panel discussions and a showcase of the most promising early to later stage Midwest, high-growth companies seeking institutional investment within the next 12 months.

More than 400 entrepreneurs, researchers, investment professionals and business executives are expected to attend.

To learn more or to register, visit and follow conversations about MGCS by tracking #MGCS on Twitter.

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