The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) held its annual awards ceremony on Monday to recognize the state’s top entrepreneurs, investors, and deals. The event drew a record crowd, the organization said in a blog post, and “focused on the tremendous growth of the entrepreneurial and investment community” in Michigan and across the region.
Incoming MVCA board chair Tony Grover, of RPM Ventures, was on hand to help honor the awardees, and Gregg Kaplan, operating partner at Chicago’s Pritzker Group Private Capital, delivered a keynote speech about the power of a strong corporate culture and the lessons he learned while creating and leading Redbox, the DVD rental company.
Without further ado, here’s the list of this year’s winners:
—Capital Event of the Year: Arboretum Ventures was honored for its record-breaking year of fundraising. The Ann Arbor-based firm raised $220 million for the Arboretum IV fund, making it one of the top-five funds raised in the Midwest in 2015. Arboretum, which focuses on devices, diagnostics, services, and IT, has some of Michigan’s biggest exits in its portfolio, including Accuri Cytometers, Esperion, and Handylab.
—The 100 Award: Duo Security, the Ann Arbor-based software startup, snagged this award celebrating high-growth companies with at least 100 employees. Duo had a big year. The company raised $30 million in a Series C round led by Redpoint Ventures. It launched a new product called Platform that further beefs up network security for its two-factor authentication customers. And it opened offices in Silicon Valley and London.
—Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Detroit/Ann Arbor Xconomist Mina Sooch was at the helm of ProNAi Therapeutics, a biotech startup developing cancer drugs, in the lead-up to its successful IPO last summer, which raised $138 million after the value of the company’s shares jumped more than 80 percent on the first day of trading. ProNAi has since relocated from Plymouth, MI, to Vancouver, BC, and Sooch has gone on to serve as CEO for Gemphire Therapeutics, a cardiovascular drug company. Sooch clearly isn’t resting on her laurels, as she’s already raised a $5 million Series A round for Gemphire and is currently working on a Series B.
—Lifetime Achievement Award: Tom Porter, a veteran of Michigan’s venture capital community, was honored for a 30-year career spent building the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and mentoring students and young professionals interested in joining the industry. Porter co-founded EDF Ventures and worked on the faculty of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business for two decades.
—Up & Coming Investor of the Year Award: Adrian Ohmer, a principal at Detroit Innovate, was honored for his work in closing deals, establishing the NextGen Michigan young professionals organization, and luring the PowerMoves pitch competition to Detroit, among other achievements.