Michigan VC Conference Sets Keynote Speakers

ANN ARBOR — The 35th annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, Michigan’s largest venture capital event, has unveiled its speaker lineup for the May 17-18 event.

The 2016 program will feature keynote addresses from James Flynn, managing director of New York City-based Deerfield Capital Management, and Adam Lilling, founder and managing partner of Los Angeles-based Plus Capital.


MGCS will also feature panel discussions on topics ranging from the impact of healthcare reform, medical software startup challenges and a new Tech Transfer “Alley” that will provide a larger platform for Midwest universities to spotlight Tech Transfer offices and their emerging company spin-outs.

Hosted by UM’s Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association, the event will take place at the Marriott Eagle Crest Resort in Ypsilanti. More than 450 entrepreneurs, researchers, investment professionals and business executives are expected to attend for networking, company presentations and panel discussions. The conference has a track record of attracting high-quality investors from around the country each year.

Speaking on Day One is Lilling, Plus Capital manages early-stage venture capital investing, equity-driven partnerships and start-up operations for top celebrities from Hollywood, music and sports. Kicking off with the keynote on day two will be from Flynn, managing partner of Deerfield, a multi-billion dollar venture capital firm with a focus on healthcare investment. Flynn oversees the firm’s investment activities as well as the day-to-day management of the organization.

The program will also feature high-caliber speakers representing entrepreneurs, researchers, investment professionals and business executives who will lead informative discussions on pivotal industry issues. Confirmed speakers include:
* V. Kadir Kadhiresan, PhD, Vice President, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson – JJDC Inc.
* Robert Crutchfield, general partner, Harbert Venture Partners
* Michael Liang, partner, Baird Capital
* Jeffery J. Stolte, partner, Providence Ventures
* Tom Shehab, MD, principal, Arboretum Ventures
* Julia Owens, president and CEO, Millendo
* Bob Smith, senior vice president, worldwide research and development, Pfizer
* Jim Evans, CEO, Socrates Analytics
* Martin Felsenthal, partner, Health Velocity Capital
* Jonathan Murray, managing director, Draper Triangle Ventures
* Kurt Skifstad, CEO, ArborMetrix
* David Neustaedter, worldwide research and development, Pfizer
* Mark Woodka, CEO, OnShift
* Matt Bell, principal, Cultivian Sandbox Venture Partners
* Matt Bower, partner, Varnum
* Jim Adox, managing director, Venture Investors
* Kirsten Leute, senior vice president of university relations, Osage University Partners
* Rik Vandevenne, director, River Cities Capital Fund
* Karen Spilzewski, RiverVest Venture Partners
* David Wentzloff, co-CEO and co-founder, PsiKick; professor, electrical engineering and computer science, University of Michigan
* Manny Stockman, associate, Osage University Partners

The event is further evidence of venture capital growth in Michigan — even as it falls back elsewhere. According to a recent report conducted by the Michigan Venture Capital Association, over the last five years, total capital under management has grown 47 percent in Michigan, but fallen 17 percent nationwide and the amount invested in Michigan has grown 295 percent, compared to 97 percent nationwide.

UM will also host the symposium in conjunction with the Coulter Investment Forum. Sponsored by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the event showcases 30 emerging life sciences companies that have originated in Coulter Translational Research Partnerships at one of 16 universities. Company participation is restricted to those with innovations that have been vetted through the Translational Research Partnership Program at one of the 16 university partners using the Coulter Commercialization Process. Included will be companies in medical imaging, diagnostics to therapeutics.

“For the past 35 years, the caliber and content at MGCS has evolved from a few people discussing entrepreneurial venture capital trends to a nationwide event that attracts some of the most prestigious investors and budding entrepreneurs in the country,” said David Brophy, professor of finance and founding director of MGCS. “We are honored – but not surprised – that the Coulter Investment Forum, a conference that celebrates university startup companies from across the world, has chosen Michigan to host its 2017 event, and we are looking forward to collaborating with them as we prepare for next year.”

The 36 companies selected to present at this year’s 2016 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium will soon be announced. To learn more or to register, visit http://www.MichiganGCS.com and follow conversations about the MGCS by tracking #MGCS2016 on Twitter.

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