Invest Michigan had its most active quarter to start the year, and deal flow in the second quarter continues at a fast pace, according to President and CEO Charlie Moret.
The Detroit-based nonprofit, which was created by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. in 2014 to invest in early-stage companies through the $10.5 million Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0, made nine investments in the first three months, closed on three more in April and has others under consideration.
“We have nine deals in due diligence, companies we recognize as having good potential that have passed the proof-of-concept stage,” said Moret. “We’ll see how many we invest in once we peel back the onion, or peek under the kimono or whatever metaphor you want to use.
Around the state, things remain extremely active. I continue to be impressed by how much more deal flow there is here compared to where I came from.”
Moret was recruited to Detroit’s TechTown in December 2012 as managing director of technology-based entrepreneurship after spending 13 years at Rocky Hill, Conn.-based Connecticut Innovations, a provider of support services for emerging technology companies.
He then was picked by the MEDC to run Invest Michigan. Since launching in 2014, Invest Michigan has made 57 investments in 35 early-stage companies. As portfolio companies hit growth targets, they get follow-on investments as needed.
“As they make progress, we don’t let them run dry,” said Moret.
Moret said about half of the state’s original investment has been deployed. “We have enough left to be fairly aggressive over the next couple of years.”
Invest Michigan focuses its funding on advanced engineering, manufacturing and materials, IT software and cybersecurity, life sciences and medical devices.
To help manage the aggressive pace of investing, Moret hired a second investment professional, Prem Bodagala, earlier this month.
Recent investments made by Invest Michigan in Southeast Michigan companies include:
Fusion Coolant Systems of Ann Arbor, a University of Michigan spinoff that got $200,000 to commercialize its process of using a fluid state of carbon dioxide as a coolant in machining processes.SPLT of Detroit got $150,000 to continue commercialization of its ride-sharing apps, used by large companies to help workers arrange rides and by healthcare systems to provide transportation for the elderly to their doctors’ visits.Change Dynamix of Royal Oak, which got $150,000, provides next-generation IT security.Celsee Diagnostics of Plymouth Township got a follow-on investment of $100,000 to go with a previous investment of $225,000 to speed up commercialization for its medical devices, which help researchers and diagnosticians find tiny amounts of cancer cells and other rare cells in large amounts of fluid.AutoBooks of Detroit got $50,000 to help commercialize accounting software it provides to banks and credit unions to offer to their business customers.
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