Investing in Michigan’s economy.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the third annual Michigan Angel Summit. We hope everyone enjoyed the program and are motivated to begin or grow investments in Michigan’s early stage companies. Learn more at MichiganAngels.com
Special thanks to our keynote speakers Rick Timmins and Linda L. Smith, and special guest University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel.
Finally, congratulations to the Invest360: Information Technology finalist Dynamo Metrics who took home the $50,000 prize. Watch Dynamo Metrics in the Invest360 Investor Showcase finale for a chance to win the “People’s Choice” award — an additional $50,000.
This event is presented by Ann Arbor SPARK.
If you didn’t register for the event, you can still order the video content.
Michigan Angel Summit 2020 Schedule
Keynote: New Data on American Angels
Rick Timmins, ACA Data Analytics Chair
Panel: Investing During a Pandemic
Moderator: Ara Topouzian
Panelists: Casey Cowell, Craig Hall, and Patti Glaza
Presentation: SBAM Annual Entrepreneurship Report
Brian Calley, President, Small Business Association of Michigan
Panel: Investment Case Study Panel
Moderator: Tom Kinnear
Panelists: Jen Baird, Jeff Williams, and Walt Young
Accuri Story: Hear from the CEO and lead angels about the trials and tribulations and nice exit.
Presentation: Due Diligence Fundamentals
Keynote: Washington DC Insights
Linda L. Smith
Chair Emeritus, Angel Capital Association, and Co-Chair, Global Business Angel Network
Panel: Increasing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Angel Investing
Moderator: Eli Velasquez
Panel: Terrence Reeves and Sonya Sepahbon
Presentation: Term Sheet Basics
Matt Bower, Varnum
Panel: Strategies for Keeping Your Group Informed, Involved, and Committed
Moderator: Skip Simms
Panel: Tim Parker, Scott Jacobs, and Jeff Stoler
Panel: Boards — Boards Mending or Meddling? How to Help Portfolio Companies in Trying Times
Moderator: Jeff Wesley
Panelists: Mike Klein, Tim Petersen, and Jack Ball
Panel: Exits – How and When
Moderator: Tim Damschroeder, Bodman
Panel: Charlie Hess, Yan Ness, and Ron Reed
Panel: State Programs that Angels Should Know About
Moderator: Fred Molnar, MEDC
Panelists: Kris Bergman, Phil Tepley, Martin Dober, and Prem Bodagala
Interview with University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel
We hope you’ll join us for the Invest360: IT session starting at 5:00 p.m.
Fifth Eye Inc.
Ms. Baird is CEO of Fifth Eye, which is improving the quality of care with real-time early warning systems of patient deterioration. Prior to Fifth Eye, as CEO Ms. Baird led Accio Energy, focused on redefining the wind power industry with Accio’s revolutionary turbine-free Aerovoltaic™ wind energy systems. From 2005 to 2010, Ms. Baird was President and CEO of Accuri Cytometers, a rapidly growing company developing and marketing breakthrough life science products for research and clinical use.
Ms. Baird co-founded Accuri and led the company from inception through development and commercialization. She raised over $30 million in venture equity and debt funding and achieved more than $12 million in annual sales, a global reach, and near-profitability in just five years time. In 2011, Accuri was successfully sold to Becton Dickinson for $205 million (10x revenue), generating 5-6x returns for investors.
Previously, Ms. Baird was a key member of the senior management team at Integrated Sensing Systems, Inc., a technology development firm focused on using micro-electromechanical systems for medical and scientific sensing applications. Earlier in her career, as a Vice President at Keane Consulting Group, she managed over $10 million in projects and helped the firm quintuple in size to over 150 staff. Ms. Baird began her career in commercial banking. She received her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, where she shared Top-of-Class honors, and a BA degree from the University of Michigan.
Tyball Associates, LLC
Currently, Jack is CEO of the Teitelbaum Foundation and president of Tyball Associates, LLC. He serves on the board of directors of Carterra Inc, Cytek Biosciences, NanoCellect Inc., and Swift Bioscience. Most recently Jack was CEO of Solulink Inc. Prior to that, he was CCO at Accuri Cytometers, which was sold to Becton Dickinson in March 2011. Prior to Accuri Cytometers, he was CEO of Amnis Corporation. Jack has also served as CCO for Molecular Probes, Inc. Prior to that, he was with Orchid Biosciences as Sr. VP and General Manager. Before Orchid he was with Amersham Pharmacia Biotech Inc., where he rose to President for North America over 25+ years.
BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting LLC
Kris is a Managing Partner and co-owner of BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting. Prior to purchasing the company in October 2016, Kris was Principal Consultant for Grants and Contracts Management, having joined BBCetc in 2000. In addition to BBCetc’s financial and business management, Kris assists clients in preparing to receive and manage federal grant and contract funds. This includes advice on financial policies and procedures, DCAA compliance, budget development, indirect cost negotiation, Just-in-Time response, using QuickBooks, and preparing for government audits. Prior to joining BBCetc she owned and operated two different service startups before becoming the Global Sales Administrator or a major software development company. firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt is a partner with Varnum LLP and serves as outside general counsel to a wide range of emerging and middle market companies. His particular industry concentrations include software, SaaS, information technology, IoT, data analytics, and other technology-based companies, as well as manufacturing, automotive, advanced materials, pharma, medical devices, publishing, digital advertising and media, retail, and food and beverage.
Matt’s emerging companies practice focusses on capital fundraising, including SAFE financing, convertible debt, preferred equity financing, as well as securities law compliance. He works closely with companies from cradle (formation and organization) to liquidity (sale or merger) and all stages of development in between. Matt’s experience in the early-stage capital markets includes fund representation, fund formation, and investments.
Matt is a member of Varnum’s Business and Corporate Services Practice Team and participates in the Intellectual Property, the Data Privacy, and Cybersecurity, and the Startup and Emerging Companies practice teams. He is also the lead partner of the firm’s Ann Arbor office.
Small Business Association of Michigan
Brian Calley is a collaborative leader who combines the skills from an accomplished private sector career with a heart for public service and a record of getting things done. He is passionate about making the world work better for all people and uses an inclusive problem-solving approach to make a difference.
As President of the Small Business Association of Michigan, Brian is able to put his passion for Michigan’s small businesses front and center.
Calley had the honor of serving as Michigan’s 63rd Lieutenant Governor from 2011-2018. During that time, he played an integral role in Michigan’s comeback in partnership with Governor Rick Snyder. He is often referenced as redefining the role of Lt. Governor, taking on issues that were critical and important to the success of our state. Calley was the driving force behind two historic tax reforms that were the catalyst for significant private-sector job growth in Michigan. During his tenure, more than 555,000 jobs were created and Michigan saw the lowest unemployment rate in 18 years. As Michigan’s lieutenant governor, he also spearheaded regulatory reform, infrastructure improvement, and employee engagement efforts.
Much of Brian’s public policy work centered around inclusion for all Michiganders, regardless of the challenges they face because he believes everyone deserves to live a self-determined independent life. Calley led the charge to increase access to autism services in our state while also championing efforts on mental health, combatting the opioid addiction epidemic, jail diversion, special education reform, disability hiring and eliminating child lead poisoning.
Prior to serving as lieutenant governor, Calley served two terms in the Michigan House of Representative, two terms as an Ionia County commissioner, and worked for over a decade in community banking. He holds degrees from Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Calley has been honored as one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ 40 under 40 and has received recognition for his leadership by organizations across the state, including the Small Business Association of Michigan, Special Olympics of Michigan, the Michigan Manufacturers Association and the Mental Health Association. He also has received national recognition from Autism Speaks and the US Junior Chamber, which named him one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans.
Brian and his wife Julie live in Portland with their three children: Collin, Reagan, and Karagan.
Casey Cowell graduated from the University of Chicago receiving an A.B. degree in Economics in 1975. In 1976, at the age of 23, he co-founded U.S. Robotics, Inc. He served as Chairman and CEO throughout the company’s history culminating in its merger into 3COM Corporation. A $200 post-college start-up, U.S. Robotics became the world’s largest manufacturer of modems and related products that connected computers to the global telephone network. In addition to a broad array of other products and technologies, USR also brought to market the Palm Pilot, the first highly successful handheld organizer. USR distinguished itself by designing and manufacturing all of its products in its own factories in the US in a period when US companies were focused on moving offshore. Its revenues grew from $50 million in 1990, the year before it went public, to $2.5 billion in 1997.
Cowell is an active investor, advisor, and board member in a broad range of companies with an emphasis on start-ups and early stage. He is engaged in many civic and philanthropic efforts and organizations with emphasis on upper Michigan and Traverse City. He serves on the boards of Munson Healthcare, Interlochen Center for the Arts as well as numerous other regional organizations. His principal focus is on improving population healthiness and cultural healthfulness and growing a high-value creation economy in the Traverse City area. In 2016 he founded Boomerang-Catapult, LLC to invest in high-value creation startups in the area. Boomerang-Catapult has launched or assisted in 16 startups or early stage companies in the last three years with more under development. Investment to date from Boomerang-Catapult and other investors in these companies totals just under $100 million.
Timothy R. Damschroder is the co-chair of the Business Practice Group. He specializes in middle market M&A transactions (typically ranging from $30 million to $1 billion) and corporate finance.
He has substantial experience serving as outside general counsel to automotive, industrial, and technology companies. He manages many major client accounts with responsibility for quality control, staffing, workflow, and overall client satisfaction.
His middle market activities involve companies in a broad range of industries including software, IoT, big data, pharma and other technology-based industries, manufacturing, publishing, automotive, aerospace, transportation, retail, food and beverage, construction, and healthcare. His active involvement with client transactions starts with pre-letter of intent negotiations and continues through to final closing. His primary value to clients is working to efficiently and effectively close transactions while helping clients understand and evaluate the important legal issues involved in transactions without hindering the client’s business goals.
As chair of Bodman’s Emerging Companies and Venture Capital Practice Group, Mr. Damschroder specializes in dealing with technology companies from start up to transactions involving intellectual property, to venture capital financing, to eventual sale. Mr. Damschroder has significant experience working with the University of Michigan’s Technology Transfer Office. He is part of a Bodman team that has represented a significant number of the startup and spin-off companies that have licensed technology from U of M.
His corporate finance work includes fund formation, private placements, debt and equity financing (private equity, venture capital, and angel investments), and derivative transactions including ISDA documentation, master agreements, interest rate swaps, currency swaps and other foreign exchange transactions (FX transactions), and options.
Mr. Damschroder was the 2016 recipient of the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section’s Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer Award, presented to one business lawyer in the State of Michigan each year in recognition of contributions to Michigan business law over the course of a career. He is listed in IFLR1000 2019 under Mergers and Acquisitions and in Michigan Super Lawyers 2019 under Mergers and Acquisions and under the Top 100 Attorneys. He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2020 and has been named the Best Lawyers® 2019 Mergers and Acquisitions Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Ann Arbor. He is listed as one of three top-tier ranked lawyers in Chambers USA 2020 under Corporate/M&A – Michigan, being called “a widely acclaimed practitioner who advises on high-profile acquisitions . . . He is also well regarded for acting on private equity, venture capital and joint venture transactions.”
In 2013, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Mr. Damschroder to the newly created Michigan Health Endowment Fund Board. The Fund, which was created under Public Act 4 of 2013, will benefit the health and wellness of Michigan residents through programs focusing on children and seniors. Mr. Damschroder serves as Chairperson of the Fund, which is expected to receive up to $1.56 billion in contributions over 18 years.
Martin Dober joined the Invest Detroit team in 2013 with more than 18 years of experience in early-stage technology ventures and in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and investment roles. His primary responsibility is to provide investment capital and support to early-stage and high-growth companies in the region.
Most recently, Mr. Dober was senior vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation where he directed technology investment programs under the state’s 21st Century Jobs Fund. Prior to that, he held senior positions in several small technology companies, including iRobot Corporation, American Systems Technology, Inc., and EIP, Inc. and served as a startup tech consultant at the Michigan Small Business Development Center.
Mr. Dober serves as a board member and treasurer for Invest Michigan and co-president and board member for the Harvard Business School (HBS) Club of Michigan. He is leading the formation of a Detroit chapter for the HBS Alumni Angels Association, an angel network. He holds director and board observer positions for portfolio companies Shoptelligence, Greenmark Biomedical, Akadeum, PicoSpray, and Detroit Materials. He co-founded and leads Hacker Fellows, a talent-retention and attraction program that places diverse computer science talent into Michigan startups.
Mr. Dober received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science from Kettering University (formerly GMI) and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Ms. Glaza joined Invest Detroit in 2014 with over 20 years of experience in the tech sector. Her primary responsibilities include sourcing and facilitating the development of early-stage and high-growth companies by providing guidance and investment capital. She engages in outreach activities supported by a diverse network of experienced entrepreneurs to support inclusion efforts to help ensure women and minority entrepreneurs are proactively mentored to build their high potential tech startups.
Prior Experience: Most recently, Ms. Glaza managed the Michigan office for Arsenal Venture Partners, a national venture capital firm focused on IT, energy, and industrial technologies. She started her career at Accenture, where she managed several national teams of consultants for F500 companies. She transitioned to venture and start-ups and then held executive start-up positions in healthcare IT, nanotechnology, and energy and environmental tech.
Professional & Board Affiliations: Ms. Glaza is an advisor/board member for organizations that include: Michigan Venture Capital Association, The Great Lakes Protection Fund, University of Michigan’s M-TRAC – Advanced Transportation Oversight Committee, and GreenLight Detroit. She holds director positions for portfolio start-ups Genomenon, MicroLam, HT Mobile, and Ripple Sciences. She is an active entrepreneurial instructor for the NSF/NIH I-Corps.
BA in International Relations/Economics from Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Masters of Business Administration from the University of Michigan – Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor, MI
Craig T. Hall
Lee Shore Equities
Craig T. Hall
Craig Hall has forty years’ experience in logistics, technology, and information services management. An early innovator, he has founded eight successful supply chain and related technology companies including LeanLogistics, Inc. and Total Logistic Control (now part of Ryder Logistics) in Holland, Michigan.
Combining his experience in the Logistics, Technology, and Internet industries, he founded LeanLogistics, Inc., a revolutionary web-native On-Demand Transportation Management System (TMS) utilizing the Internet to create a real-time, on-line collaborative environment for shippers and carriers. They developed patented Software as a Service (SaaS) technology for shippers and carriers to proactively manage their entire supply chain from planning to execution and settlement. For the past 10 years, they have been named as one of the top 100 Logistics Software company’s in the country and in 2005 one of the Top 50 Companies to Watch in Michigan. In 2008 he sold the company to Brambles Limited, an international public company providing global supply chain support services. They are now known as BluJay Solutions.
Craig is a director of Charter Capital, Alpena Power Company, Cascade Engineering, Grand Valley Research Corporation, Start Garden, Oversight Committee of the Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute, Chairman of the Holland SmartZone, Past Chairman of the Michigan Chapter of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and Founding Director of the Grand Angels. In 2003 Craig was honored as one of the Top 20 Logistic Professionals in the country and in 2010 as Purdue University’s Outstanding Industrial Engineering Alumni.
Charles Hess is an entrepreneur and operations executive in the information technology sector. He has a proven track record in business development, mergers & acquisitions, and mentoring effective leaders within an organization.
Queen City Angels
As the Executive Director of the Queen City Angels (QCA, Inc. a 501c6 corporation), Jacobs is responsible for deal flow, programming, educational sessions, event management, membership engagement, and sponsor relationships. He engages QCA in support of the local, regional, and national entrepreneur ecosystems (angel investor groups, accelerators, incubators, local colleges, and universities) through networking, financial support, educational programming, and additional QCA network resources (sponsors, community leaders, subject matter experts, etc.).
Jacobs manages QCA’s social media, marketing, committees, deal flow process; encourages entrepreneur applications for funding through Proseeder, QCA’s investor platform, and moving deals along the continuum of QCA’s workflow process.
As the President of the QCA Education Foundation (a 501c3 corporation) dba Startup College®, he manages programming, educational sessions, event management, membership engagement, and sponsor relationships to train, mentor, and guide both entrepreneurs and angel investors.
Michigan Angel Fund
Thomas C. Kinnear
Thomas C. Kinnear is D. Maynard Phelps Professor of Business Emeritus at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He was formally founding Executive Director of the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, former Senior Associate Dean at the Ross School of Business, and former Vice President for Development and Executive Officer for the University.
At Michigan, he has received awards for teaching excellence and service to the University, including the “Herbert D. Doan Award” for outstanding Leadership in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Michigan and in the State of Michigan. He also received the “Lifetime Achievement Awards” from the Michigan Venture Capital Association, the New Enterprise Forum, and the American Marketing Association Foundation. He holds an undergraduate degree and LLD (honoris causa) from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, an MBA from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Mike is a 4X serial entrepreneur with several successful exits under his belt. He is currently the CEO of Genomenon, the genomic search engine company that connects patient DNA with the billions of dollars of genomic research to help doctors diagnose and cure cancer patients and babies with rare diseases, and pharma companies develop genomic-driven precision medicine.
Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
Vice President of Entrepreneurism and Innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Executive Director of the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center (MLSIC), a 70,000 ft2 incubator run by the MEDC in Plymouth Michigan. The Entrepreneurship team works with universities, tech service providers and early stage funding providers to support tech and innovative start-ups to help grow and diversify the Michigan economy. Oversee the 21 legislatively authorized SmartZones across the state.
35 years’ experience working in the private sector with life science companies both large and small. Before MEDC, was COO at iCyt Mission Technology, a life science startup spun-off from the University of Illinois that successfully exited when acquired by Sony Corporation of Japan. Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Service at Sony Biotechnology. Also founded, operated, and successfully sold a local small business – Champion Gymnastics based in Ann Arbor, MI.
Education: AS in Electronics – Henry Ford, BS in Biology – Wayne State University, MBA – Eastern Michigan University
Since 1985 I’ve been a serial tech entrepreneur based in South East Michigan. Over that time, I’ve waltzed through seven liquidity events. My first was Systems and Software Group, acquired by Software Services in the early 1990s. My most recent being Online Tech, acquired by Schurz Communications in early 2018.
I’ve learned a ton from so many people in this journey and thank everyone who has helped me. Now it’s time to give back. Lately, I invest, advise, and serve as a board member for early stage SaaS companies.
Most recently I’m honored to serve as the Executive Chairman of Verge.IO which has the biggest potential I’ve ever worked on. The Verge Platform is so transformational, the world would be a much better place if it was used everywhere. And that’s our goal.
My favorite topics (and so I’m probably better at these…) are: SaaS strategy and business models, leadership and culture, go to market strategy and tactics and M&A.
Oh yah, and I love to sail.
Tim became the second president of Grand Angels in November of 2016. Since that time, the organization has expanded to become the Michigan Capital Network, which includes four angel groups – Grand Angels, Ka-Zoo Angels, Woodward Angels and Flint Angels. Tim oversees Grand Angels’ deal sourcing, investing, and portfolio management along with representing the group at networking and educational events across Michigan. Prior to Grand Angels, Tim was the founder of a global export, trading, and consulting startup with the goal of increasing trade between Michigan and Asian markets. He also spent 17 years at Bissell, Inc., including eight years as its vice president of research and development. Tim holds a B.S. degree in Manufacturing Administration and also a M.B.A. from Western Michigan University. He is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges in the area.
Tim Petersen is a Managing Partner at Arboretum Ventures, a healthcare venture capital firm that he co-founded in 2002. Tim focuses on transformative opportunities that disrupt healthcare sectors starved of technology or business model innovation. His investments span a variety of healthcare sectors, including healthcare information technology, medical device, and research instrumentation companies. Examples of Tim’s successful companies include Inogen (Nasdaq: INGN) which revolutionized the delivery of oxygen to COPD patients, and Pear Therapeutics, developer of the country’s first FDA cleared “prescription digital therapeutic.” He also led or co-led the initial venture capital investment into Advanced ICU Care, now the nation’s largest provider of tele-ICU solutions, and Accuri Cytometers, which upended the billion-dollar flow cytometry sector. Other public and exited investments include SI-Bone (Nasdaq: SIBN) and behavioral health technology company HealthMedia, sold to Johnson & Johnson.
Before co-founding Arboretum, Tim helped establish the Zell Lurie Institute (ZLI) for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan, serving as its Managing Director. The Institute has been consistently ranked as one of the top entrepreneurship programs in the country. He also directed the activities of the Wolverine Venture Fund, which invests in early-stage life science and technology investments. Prior to ZLI, Tim was a manager in the investment banking practice at Plante Moran and served as a management consultant at Industrial Economics in Cambridge, MA. Tim currently serves as an advisory board member for ZLI and the Wolverine Venture Fund. He is also board chair for the University Musical Society, the nation’s oldest university-based presenting arts organization.
Tim holds a BA in Economics from Williams College, an MS in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Ron is a Managing Director at Cascade Partners who brings the demonstrated ability and instinct to identify, assess, and lead attractive investment opportunities in numerous niche software and information services markets. In addition to managing several investment funds, Ron’s experiences include various leadership, board and investor roles in operating and investment businesses including NWP Services Corporation, Seneca Partners, Adesso Solution, Compendia Bio, Endeavor Capital Management, Harbinger Corporation, Emerald Intelligence, Online Technologies, Operon Partners, 7th Online, and the Marathon Fund.
Terrence J.L. Reeves
Terrence J.L. Reeves
Terrence J.L. Reeves is a member of IrishAngels, a Chicago-based leading angel group that invests in early-stage startups across the U.S. Since 2018, he has also served on the group’s board of directors. Recently, Terrence co-founded Commune Angels, a diversity missioned angel community that invests in U.S.-based scalable software, consumer products, and life science companies that transform lives. Commune aims to leverage diversity to drive better outcomes for investors, portfolio companies, and their customers.
Terrence serves as Member-in-Charge of Frost Brown Todd’s Ann Arbor office, where he chairs the firm’s venture capital team. Terrence’s practice includes representing startups and emerging growth companies at all stages of development, and the investors that fund them. Terrence represents venture-backed clients across a diverse range of industries, including software, digital health, SaaS, consumer products, energy, cyber-security, mobility, and other emerging technologies, in Texas, New York, Michigan, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Once a high school dropout, Terrence received his JD from Wayne State University Law School, MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and Certificate in Venture Capital from Wharton. Terrence is a frequent speaker on angel investing, venture capital, and entrepreneurship throughout the Midwest region. Terrence and his wife, Candiss, have three daughters and reside in Ypsilanti.
Global Business Angel Network
Sonya Sepahban started as a NASA engineer and astronaut wannabe, and is currently CEO of OurOffice Inc, a category-defining startup in the new Diversity and Inclusion Technology (D&I Tech) space, featured by Mercer and Deloitte. OurOffice has pioneered Diversity and Inclusion as a Service, or DIaaS, a turnkey solution that provides organizations with a dedicated D&I Manager and technology platform to build inclusive workplaces with an affordable monthly subscription.
Prior to OurOffice, Sonya was a senior executive at F500 companies with significant global responsibilities. Sonya serves on the Board of Directors of Cooper Standard, a publicly-traded automotive company, and has held numerous board seats and advisory roles at tech startups, investment funds, and nonprofits. Sonya was named one of 2019 most influential Corporate Directors by WomenInc Magazine.
Sonya has a passion for mentoring entrepreneurs and aspiring professionals, is a private pilot and an explorer.
Linda L. Smith has had a distinguished public and private career and has been an active investor in start-up, entrepreneurial companies. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Global Business Angel Network (GBAN) and Chairman Emeritus of the Angel Capital Association, an organization representing more than 14,000 accredited investors in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. She chairs the Angel Capital Association Public Policy Committee.
Her public career included serving three U.S. Presidents, two Congressmen, one mayor, and the Governor of Hawaii. She spent twelve years in Washington D.C. including working as Director of Administration in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and for two Congressional Committees on Capitol Hill. Upon moving to Hawaii, she was appointed Director of Finance for the City and County of Honolulu, responsible for a budget exceeding $900 million serving over 800,000 residents and visitors to the city. She also was the Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of Hawaii for eight years.
Ms. Smith was Managing Director of Pacific Allied Products, Ltd. for 13 years, a diversified plastics manufacturing company specializing in compression molding, blow molding, and injection molding products for the South Pacific region. The firm entered into a joint venture to develop and patent cutting edge technologies for the plastics industry and the Smiths successfully sold the firm in 2003. Since moving to Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 2011, she has been an active member of Sierra Angels and has experienced several positive exits, as well as a few “duds”. She enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, boating, architecture, and fine wine.
Jeff Stoler has been an angel investor since the 1980s and is the founder and managing director of SideCar Angels located in Boston. He is also an active member of Launchpad Venture Group, Massachusetts Medical Angels and Boston Harbor Angels. In his prior life, Jeff was a corporate and securities lawyer with Holland & Knight, specializing in the representation of emerging companies and venture capital transactions. Jeff earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at Stanford University.
Small Business Development Center
Tepley oversees the SBDC’s Specialized Consulting Teams and Tech Commercialization Funds including the Technology Commercialization Team, the Business Growth Team, the Emerging Technologies Fund, and the Business Accelerator Fund. Tepley serves on the board of directors of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Smart Zone Local Development Finance Authority, BBC Entrepreneurial Training Corporation, and Recycle Ann Arbor. He is a past president of the New Enterprise Forum.
Angel Capital Association and Central Texas Angel Network
Rick is a resident of Austin, Texas and is heavily involved in the Austin start-up community. Currently, he is a Board member of the Angel Capital Association is the former Board Chairman (six years) and member of the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN). He has personally invested in 49 start-up companies since 2009 and has assisted many entrepreneurs with insight and recommendations through mentoring and formal participation on Boards, accelerators, and incubators. Rick is also one of the two partners in Mid-City Development, a development and construction business in Austin which specializes in the development of mixed-use apartment/condo/townhome communities in Austin neighborhoods.
He brings with him 35 years of experience in financial management and strategic guidance from two Fortune 50 technology companies, Rick served as Vice President, Corporate Controller and Assistant CFO of finance at networking technology leader Cisco Systems from 1995 to 2007. There he was instrumental in developing and implementing an e-culture of financial reporting across all of Cisco’s worldwide operations. When he arrived in 1995 it took Cisco 21 days to close its monthly reporting books. Under his leadership, that task was reduced to less than 1 day worldwide.
Prior to Cisco, Rick served as Vice President of finance for Motorola for 23 years. He had worldwide financial responsibility for the MOS Semiconductor Group for several years. He also was also the CFO for Motorola Japan living in Tokyo for 6 years and assisted in helping to develop Motorola’s cellular and semiconductor operations in Japan, which experienced high growth from $200 million to over $2.5 billion.
In addition to his operational experience, Rick has also worked with numerous top tier venture firms from across the country, including as Venture Partner at G51 in Austin.
Rick is currently a Board member in five companies/organizations: one public and one private and three non-profits. Rick previously served on four other public company Boards and six private company Boards. Rick holds a B.S. degree in accounting and finance from the University of Arizona, an M.B.A. degree from St. Edward’s University, and was previously a Certified Public Accountant.
Michigan Venture Capital Association
Ara Topouzian serves as Executive Director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. In his leadership role at MVCA, Topouzian advocates for Michigan’s entrepreneurial and venture investor community with legislative and government officials and promotes Michigan venture investment opportunities to regional and national markets. He also supports membership growth, guides program development, and sets strategic direction for the organization.
A strategic leader experienced in both private and public industry sectors, Ara is accomplished in the field of economic development for municipalities. He has a successful track record in attracting international corporations as well as retaining small and large businesses to the area. He is a visionary who excels in the creation and implementation of organizational structure and processes. Ara is a relationship builder who astutely cultivates and utilizes relationships to create win-win situations for all involved parties. His proven abilities in marketing, leadership, and operations have made him a creative thinker and problem solver who consistently delivers business growth and development for entities represented. He is also skilled in association management and membership development. To that end, he has presented, moderated and facilitated small and large groups, including service organizations, colleges, libraries, associations and more.
For more than six years, Topouzian was the City of Novi Economic Development Director, responsible for marketing to- and communicating with 2,000-plus large and small businesses by providing them with important local, regional, state, and federal resources. During his tenure in Novi, Topouzian was responsible for business attraction projects valued in excess of $100 million in investment, as well as directing the city’s current economic development goals and objectives in both attraction and retention efforts.
For six years, Topouzian was the President and CEO of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, responsible for overseeing one of Oakland County’s strongest Chambers with more than 650 members, as well as expanding the Chamber’s role as a champion for small and large businesses. he led Troy Chamber into financial prosperity as well as increased membership and retention as well as elevate the quality of programs and events for its membership.
Eli oversees the U.S. State Dept. Global Investors Program. He has assisted with training, supporting, and launching new angel networks in Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Vietnam, Mexico, and Colombia. He also serves as a Board Member on the Angel Capital Association, Capital Advisor to the Stanford Latino Business Action Network, and US Senator for the World Business Angel Forum. He is an investor in Portfolia’s Rising America Fund; Advisor to AccelHub Venture Partners, the Business Angel Minority Association (baMa); and is actively building a national network of investors of color.
Prior, he was the Director of Venture Development at Texas Tech University where he co-founded the Lubbock Angel Network, a group that has invested over $3M and seen three exits since its founding in 2015. His efforts in Texas led to over $20M in funding for startups, entrepreneurship programs, and proof of concept funds. Before that, Mr. Velasquez worked for The Boeing Company in southern California, initially within Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) group where he was assigned to develop the Delta Rockets. In his last two years at Boeing, he worked as an Intellectual Property Consultant with Boeing’s Intellectual Property Business (IPB) unit.
He obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University and his J.D. degree with an Intellectual Property Certificate from Whittier Law School.
Huron River Ventures
Ryan has over 20 years of experience in investing, operating, and consulting roles in the energy, mobility, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. As an investor, Ryan has financed more than 50 companies at seed, venture, and growth equity stages, totaling over $200 million of invested and committed capital.
As founder and General Partner of Huron River Ventures, Ryan leads the only early stage venture firm focused on supporting Midwest entrepreneurs that are developing cutting-edge digital and sustainable technologies to transform the energy industry.
Ryan recently co-founded HALO Growth Ventures, an independent sponsor that brings capital and world-class management to game-changing technology companies poised to become market leaders. In this capacity in 2019, he co-founded and served as CFO of HALO Dx, Inc., a company leveraging AI to transform the medical imaging industry.
Prior to HRV, Ryan helped build an energy-focused private equity group within New York-based Ziff Brothers Investments, one of the largest and most successful family office investment firms in the country. There he became part of the core team of investment managers and worked on multiple transactions in sectors including renewables, biofuels, power transmission, and advanced materials.
Ryan began his career in venture capital working inside DTE Energy’s corporate venture group, where he led investments in advanced energy technologies. He also established and executed a seed-stage funding program at NextEnergy, where he funded several Michigan-based alternative energy companies, and co-founded a “dot com” web portal for outdoor enthusiasts while in business school.
Ryan has also served as a mentor-in-residence at the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer; as a partner with Arsenal, a Florida-based growth equity firm; and as a venture partner with Aclaria Partners, a mid-market private equity firm.
Ryan holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and an MBA with Distinction from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where participated in the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise.
Ryan currently sits on the board of VNN, the leading communications and management platform for high school athletics. He also sits on the advisory board or investment committee of the Wolverine Venture Fund, the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund, Invest Detroit Ventures, and previously served on the board of directors of the Michigan Venture Capital Association and the External Advisory Board of the Erb Institute.
Ryan is a father of four and lives in Dexter, Michigan with his wife, Kari. Ryan enjoys CrossFit, fly fishing, and coaching youth hockey.
Red Cedar Ventures
Jeff Wesley serves as the Executive Director of Red Cedar Ventures. Prior to joining Red Cedar Ventures, in 2018, Mr. Wesley was the CEO of Two Men and Truck International, the largest international franchise moving company. During his tenure he and the company received an A-plus ranking by Franchise grade, 93 CEO Glassdoor rating, “Crain’s Detroit Business Coolest Places to Work”, Inc. 5000 award winner, recognized nationally as a leading franchise system, a leading innovation franchise system, Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise System and Mr. Wesley received national recognition as a top franchise executive.
Mr. Wesley also has served as the President of Accu Bite Dental Supply, an Inc. 100 company, that was acquired by a Fortune 500 company. Mr. Wesley led this early startup to a recognized leading national full-service dental distributor. Mr. Wesley began his career as an Audit Manager at Deloitte. Mr. Wesley has had significant experience in leading and scaling private companies to record success. Mr. Wesley has contributed to several startups throughout the state providing mentorship, coaching, operational experience, and startup capital.
Mr. Wesley has also been an Angel Investor for over 15 years and currently is a member of the Capital Community Angels and the Michigan Angel Fund. Mr. Wesley is a prior Vice Chairman for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and has served on various economic and community boards. Mr. Wesley is currently an observer and Board Member of several boards including AvidHrt, SU2 Systems, TheraB Medical, and Phenometrics to name a few. Mr. Wesley is a frequent judge and speaker at events related to leadership, franchising, and startups.
NeuMoDx Molecular, Inc.
Jeff has been a successful CEO of several venture-funded, startup companies in the life sciences since 1996. He is currently Chairman of Strata Oncology, which tumor sequencing to enable more effective use of cancer therapeutics, and Chairman & CEO of NeuMoDx Molecular, a company he founded in 2011. NeuMoDx develops and sells automated molecular diagnostic systems to hospital and reference laboratories in more than 45 countries for in vitro diagnostic testing, including for the virus that causes COVID-19.
From January 2010 until March 2011, Jeff had been President & CEO of Accuri Cytometers. While at Accuri, he oversaw revenue growth of 65% year-over-year, the development of a clinical diagnostic system, and the achievement of positive EBITDA. Jeff led the sale of Accuri for $205 million, resulting in more than 5x cash-on-cash returns to investors. Prior to Accuri, he had been President & CEO of HandyLab, Inc., an Ann Arbor-based automated molecular diagnostics company, since 2004. At HandyLab, he led the growth and venture financing of the company, ultimately resulting in its sale for $283 million in November 2009.
Previously, Jeff was President & CEO of Genomic Solutions Inc., a molecular life science products company he co-founded in 1997. Jeff led Genomic Solutions through a period of rapid growth culminating in an IPO on NASDAQ in 2000 and merger with Harvard Biosciences, Inc. in late 2002. Prior to Genomic Solutions, he held various executive and management level positions in several bioscience companies, including IRIS and Boehringer Mannheim (now Roche Diagnostics). He is an inventor on more than 40 patents and earned a BS in Biology (summa cum laude) from Alma College and an MBA with High Distinction from The University of Michigan.
Swift Biosciences, Weathershield Inc. and Nanocerox
Walt Young has 50 years’ experience in leading organizations. For the first 36 years, he held senior positions at four public companies: BF Goodrich, The Budd Company, The Henley Group and Champion Enterprises. As Chair and CEO of Champion (Fortune 500) Walt was recognized by Fortune as a “Superstar” and by the Harvard Business School as one of the 19 top business leaders of the 1990s. While at these four companies he completed 23 different turnarounds and over 75 mergers and acquisitions. Since 2003 Walt has focused on entrepreneurial start-ups, including as a lead investor and Director for Accuri Cytometers (acquired by Becton, Dickinson for $205 million in 2011) and CelSee, Inc.(acquired by BioRad in 2020). He has led and assisted over 80 entities to raise more than $130M in capital. Walt is currently on the board of four early stage companies: Swift BioSciences, Inc., CelSee Inc., Eagle River Homes, Weathershield, and Nanocerox, Inc.. From 2003 to 2018, Walt was a director at NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG, Fortune 200). Further, his non-profit boards have included Muskingum University, Oakland University and Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan.
Walt received a BA in History and Economics from Muskingum University, his MBA in Marketing and Management from Penn State University and an honorary doctorate in Public Service from Muskingum University.