DETROIT – Michigan Venture Capital Association, the trade association for the venture capital and angel community in Michigan, celebrated the Michigan ecosystem during its 2023 Annual Awards Dinner held at The Fillmore Detroit on September 28 and presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Skip Simms, former Arbor SPARK vice president and Michigan Angel Fund managing director.
At the ceremony held at the Fillmore in Detroit, MVCA also announced awards recognizing the capital events that are fueling the growth of Michigan’s companies, the significant investment milestones enabling companies to grow and excel in Michigan, the companies that are producing groundbreaking solutions in their sectors, and the organizations working to engage with their communities and enrich their local economies.
Awardees of the 2023 MVCA Annual Awards Dinner were voted on by MVCA members in each category. They include:
• Arboretum Ventures, Capital Event of the Year – Venture Capital Fund
• Our Next Energy, Capital Event of the Year – Portfolio Company
• Claira, Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award
• Michigan Rise, Community Impact Award
• Danny Ellis (SkySpecs), Entrepreneur of the Year Award
“This is such a great opportunity for the Michigan ecosystem to come together and celebrate the achievements and
efforts of both the investor and entrepreneurial community” said Ara Topouzian, Executive Director of MVCA.
“Michigan continues to show resilience within an economic environment which has been turbulent these past few years.”
Simms, who retired from Ann Arbor SPARK earlier this year, was recognized for his achievements helping to form the foundation of Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community. Simms had been the administrator of the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund since its inception in January 2007. Prior to his role as the Fund administrator, Simms was Director of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone Business Accelerator program, a program which assists start-ups through access to business resources including consulting, funding and business plan development. He remains a consultant for the Michigan Angel Fund.
Other award nominees in the various categories include:
Capital Event of the Year – Venture Capital Fund
Recognizes the significant financing milestones that enable companies to grow and excel in Michigan. The following nominees are Michigan-based venture capital firms that are fueling growth and innovation in the state.
• Arboretum Ventures ($268M, Sixth Fund)
• Michigan Capital Network ($37.5M, Fourth Fund)
• Plymouth Growth ($125M, Fifth Fund)
Capital Event of the Year – Portfolio Company
Recognizes the significant financing milestones that enable companies to grow and excel in Michigan. The following nominees are Michigan-based portfolio companies that are fueling growth and innovation in the state.
• ATLAS Space Operations ($26M, Series B)
• HistoSonics ($85M Convertible Debt)
• Our Next Energy (ONE) ($300M, Series B)
• Shoulder Innovations ($42M, Series D)
Up-and-Coming Company of the Year
Recognizes Michigan companies across all stages of growth that are producing groundbreaking solutions in their sectors. The following nominees are making a national impact by transforming legacy industries.
Community Impact Award
Recognizes organizations, events or individuals that create the meaningful, effective connections necessary to build Michigan’s entrepreneurial economy. The following nominees promote collaboration and provide critical resources for the growth of Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community.
• Centrepolis Accelerator
• Michigan Founders Fund
• Michigan Rise
• TechTown Detroit:
Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Recognizes organizations and individuals that have fostered a vibrant entrepreneurial community in Michigan. The following nominees are innovators who are setting the stage for the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs in Michigan.
• Andy Fowler & Guy Suter (Co-Founders, Nutshell)
• Danny Ellis (Co-Founder & CEO, SkySpecs)
• Mike Klein (CEO, Genomenon)
• Mykolas Rambus (Co-Founder & CEO, Hush)
For more information, click on MVCA