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Ix Innovations scores investment from Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund

Ix Innovations has landed an unspecified investment from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund as part of a larger seed round it raised over the last year. The new cash infusion has allowed the Tech Brewery-based startup to bolster its staff of three people..

"Prior to that we had one software engineer on a 1099 basis," says Ian Dailey, CEO of Ix Innovations. "After that we were able to hire that person and bring on two other people."

Ix Innovations is commercializing the PocketPico, a portable, USB-powered picoammeter that can be used as a stand-alone instrument or connected to a PC. Dailey expects to get the PocketPico into user hands later this year, allowing it to ramp up production by the end of 2012.

Ix Innovations is also working on a couple more products that would complement the PocketPico. Dailey hopes the further development of those products will grow its bottom line and the size of the company.

"More hands on deck," Dailey says. "That is where we would like to be (by the end of the year)."

Source: Ian Dailey, CEO of Ix Innovations
Writer: Jon Zemke

Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund promises up to $3M VC match

More money is coming into Michigan's venture capital game, thanks to multi-million-dollar matches from the new Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund.

"The Michigan Venture Match Fund will help foster the success of innovative companies with the potential for high growth in Michigan by investing in the most promising, nationally competitive, commercialization opportunities," Kathy Fagan, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Development Corp.,  wrote in an email.

The Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund will bridge early stage investment rounds, matching investments from venture capital funds with roots in Michigan. The fund will consider tech investments worth a minimum of $700,000 and a maximum of $3 million. The match will be at least $350,000 and no more than $500,000.

Applicants for the Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund will have to secure qualified venture investments. They will also undergo a peer-review of the startup's business plan. The idea is to attract venture funds to invest in Michigan's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and to help mitigate the risk to local venture capital funds that invest in state-based startups.

Source: Kathy Fagan, spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Writer: Jon Zemke

U-M launches Venture Shaping Program to turn ideas into startups

Business ideas don't always make profitable businesses. A new program at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business hopes to make that transition more commonplace in Ann Arbor.

U-M is launching the Mayleben Family Venture Shaping Program through the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. The new program is being funded by a gift from Aastrom Biosciences president & CEO Tim Mayleben (a U-M graduate) and his wife, Dawn Mayleben. The grant program will teach student teams from across the University how to transform identified opportunities into businesses.

"It takes an idea and transforms it into a business structure," says Tim Faley, managing director of the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. "We see a lot of ideas."

The U-M Venture Shaping Program will provide teams of student entrepreneurs with guidance from faculty while going through a three-part process. That process includes directed discovery, value system synthesis, and profiting from capabilities framework evaluation. The idea is to prove that the startup meets a validated market need and will provide a cash prize so they can take the business to the next level.

Breaking through that key wall of building a business (taking it from an idea to a reality) is the major constraint that has been identified by U-M officials. The Venture Shaping Program hopes to help 25 student-led business each year.

"We see it as the big bottleneck in the process," Faley says. "We're happy to have a program to handle that program."

Source: Tim Faley, managing director of the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business
Writer: Jon Zemke

Ann Arbor's CytoPherx lands $34M in venture capital

CytoPherx pulled down one of the largest venture capital rounds in recent memory, raising $34 million from the likes of Early Stage Partners, ONSET Ventures and Capital Midwest Fund.

David Weaver, chairman & founder of Great Lakes Angels, a group of about a dozen angel investors based in Bloomfield Hills, first reaction to the amount of money raised by CytoPherx was "Wow, that's a lot of money." He said a seed round that big will give the start-up a lot of flexibility to commercialize its product.

"That gives them room to breathe," Weaver says. "That's a big deal to have that much money around."

The Ann Arbor-based bio-tech start-up plans to use the funds to complete its clinical trials and gain FDA approval for its anti-inflammatory therapy for acute kidney injuries. CytoPherx's therapy can be used to ease the pain of intensive care unit patients with kidney injuries, such as Renal failure, suffering from extreme inflammation. It is also expected to help patients recover and live more full-filling lives.

CytoPherx spun out of the University of Michigan in 2007. It has raised several million in seed capital before this latest financing round, including a $5 million raise in 2010. The start-up has its eyes on the more than 2.7 million hospitalized patients in the U.S. diagnosed with acute renal failure. Approximately 160,000 receive Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy, which CytoPherx hopes to make it technology a part of, representing what it claims is a multi-billion dollar potential market.

Source: CytoPherx and David Weaver, chairman & founder of Great Lakes Angels
Writer: Jon Zemke

Youngpreneurs stake claim in Metro Detroit business class

The number of entrepreneurs in Metro Detroit continue to climb, but the youngpreneurs are making some of the biggest strides. DeNovo Sciences, founded by a small group of 20-somethings, won the top $500,000 prize at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. Are You a Human, started by recent University of Michigan graduates, rakes in a seven-figure seed capital round. Livio Radio, run by youngpreneur poster boy Jake Sigal, is attracting investment from Silicon Valley VCs. It all adds up to a promising future for Metro Detroit's entrepreneurial class.

Silicon Valley VC invests in Ferndale's Livio Radio

From Scratch: Denovo Sciences

Are You a Human moves to downtown

Garbage In, Energy Out: A Q&A with the Founders of ReGenerate

New venture capital firms sprout up across Metro Detroit

The seeds of growth were planted in 2011 when a number of new venture capital firms launched in Metro Detroit. Detroit Venture Partners is changing the narrative in downtown Detroit, Stage 2 Innovations is bringing $100 million to the table in Oakland County, and small VCs in Ann Arbor are springing up or reloading with new multi-million-dollar funds.

$100M Stage 2 Innovations fund launches out of Automation Alley

Magic Johnson invests millions in Detroit Venture Partners

Arboretum Ventures raises $140M VC fund, beats goal

Huron River Ventures $7.5M VC fund to invest in clean tech sector

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