Concept for regional fund to back Great Lakes VC investors faces key hurdles

June 23, 2019 - MiBiz

The idea sounds simple: Create a $150 million to $200 million fund supported by foundations and university endowments to back venture capital investors in the Great Lakes states.

Actually pulling off such an ambitious idea likely would prove difficult, given the complexities involved and the kind of collaboration required in starting the fund, the need for which was outlined in a recent Brookings Institution paper.

Dale Grogan, a managing director at Michigan Accelerator Fund I, took a more optimistic track.

“I love the idea,” Grogan said. “It’s long overdue.”

“But being able to find some folks that are willing to lead that charge I think is the nice next step. First you have the theory, then you have the application,” Grogan said. “If we can move this into something tangible, that’d be great.”

The fundamental question of who could actually move the concept forward poses the first barrier.

While a Great Lakes regional fund of funds “makes lots and lots of sense,” Grogan said, “there are a limited number of folks that could do that effectively.”

Grogan also sees a need for public participation in a Great Lakes fund. Venture capital professionals in Michigan often credit the state’s 21st Century Jobs Fund with helping to grow the industry by investing in funds, yet lament that Lansing has been unwilling to continue that support with another fund of funds. more

Dale Grogan shares three takeaways for startups seeking VC with the MEDC

May 20, 2019 - MEDC

Dale Grogan, managing director of Michigan Accelerator Fund I (MAF-I), knows what startups and early-stage companies are going through. As the founder and owner of numerous businesses, he’s been there himself, raising more than $30 million in funds.

Now, he’s using his background and expertise to help business owners and investors bring their own hard work to commercialization.

Supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Initiative, MAF-I is a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage, Michigan-based companies focusing on life sciences technologies. Using its knowledge and network, MAF-I staff also help these companies find the right connections to grow even further.

Dale shares three takeaways on what investors want to hear in entrepreneurs’ presentations and how startups can benefit from better knowing their audience. more

NSC Technologies buys two Indiana-based staffing firms

May 8, 2019 - Staffing Industry Analysts

NSC Technologies, a shipyard staffing company headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, acquired Indiana-based staffing providers Staffing Resources Inc. and ULG LLC. NSC, which is a portfolio company of White Wolf Capital, also announced a recapitalization.

Staffing Resources, or SRI, provides light industrial staffing from a network of six branches in Indiana. The company was founded in 1994. Chris Gremelspacher has served as president of SRI since 2015.

Charter Capital Partners served as financial advisor to Staffing Resources, Inc. “SRI and NSC Technologies will be a powerful combination in the staffing marketplace,” remarked Mike Palm, Director, Charter Capital Partners. “We were excited to advise SRI to a great outcome and successful closing.”  more

Trice Medical Closes $18.3 Million Series C Extension

January 14, 2019 - Business Wire

Trice Medical announced today that it closed an $18.3 million Series C Extension financing round. The company will use the proceeds to expand their worldwide commercialization efforts for mi-eye 2™ and mi-ultra™ and to accelerate the development of their minimally invasive product portfolio.

This round was led by Charter Capital Partners of Grand Rapids, Michigan and the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System(MERS) of Michigan. Other investors in Trice include Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE:SFE), HealthQuest Capital, BioStar Ventures and Smith & Nephew.

John Kerschen, Managing Partner of Charter Capital Partners, stated, “We have been tracking Trice’s progress for almost five years and are pleased to make this investment at this point in the Company’s growth. Trice has a unique value proposition in the market with its mi-eye 2™ platform and we see physicians from all over the country embracing the mi-eye™ as the preferred way to visualize potential orthopedic injuries in an office setting.” more

M&A/PE Roundtable: Advisers see strong M&A market ahead

January 6, 2019 - MiBiz

M&A professionals expect the dealmaking market to remain healthy in 2019. That’s one of the conclusions from a panel of executives MiBiz assembled to talk about West Michigan’s mergers and acquisitions sector. Roundtable participants expect to see greater due diligence on deals this year as economic growth eases. They’re also beginning to see more deals involving distressed companies and signs of pressure on high valuations.

Participating in the executive roundtable were:

  • Mike Brown, partner and managing director at Charter Capital Partners, a Grand Rapids-based investment banking firm

  • Jeff Helminski, managing partner at Auxo Investment Partners, a Grand Rapids-based private equity firm

  • John Pollock, managing partner at Ada-based private equity firm LV2 Equity Partners LLC

  • Peter Roth, partner at Grand Rapids-based law firm Varnum LLP, which sponsored the roundtable

  • Randy Rua, managing partner at NuVescor Group LLC in Grand Rapids and president of Rua Associates LLC in Zeeland

  • Eric Seifert, founder of Muskegon-based advisory firm Left Coast Capital Resources LLC

  • Jimmy TenBrink, director of business development at Grand Rapids-based Waseyabek Development Co. LLC, the non-gaming arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi

  • Don VanDine, regional vice president at Wells Fargo Bank in Grand Rapids

Here are some highlights from the conversation.

Ablative Solutions secures $77 million in largest known VC deal in Michigan

January 3, 2019 - MiBiz

Ablative Solutions Inc. secured $77 million in financing that ranks as the largest known venture capital deal ever in Michigan.

Netherlands-based Gilde Healthcare, which has an office on Boston, led the Series D financing round in Kalamazoo-based Ablative Solutions, which developed a catheter system to treat uncontrollable hypertension by deactivating nerves in renal arteries.

Petoskey-based BioStar Ventures, Michigan Accelerator Fund 1 in Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo-based Novus Biotechnology Fund 1 co-led the VC round, which includes an unnamed strategic investor and several individual investors. The funding will take the company through late-stage clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe to prove the effectiveness of the treatment. more

Kimball Acquires David Edward

October 19, 2018 - Interior Design Magazine

Office furniture specialist Kimball has signed a definitive agreement to acquire David Edward, the family-owned manufacturer of upholstery and furniture targeting the corporate, health care, education and hospitality markets.

“We were inspired by the employees’ commitment to quality and their incredible tailoring skills,” says Kimball president Mike Wagner. “We will further invest in David Edward and build their brand by broadening their ancillary product portfolio.”

Additionally, Wagner expects to leverage David Edward’s expertise to expand Kimball’s range of seating and help fuel growth of the manufacturer’s Kimball Health assortment. more

Time to Act? Advisers tell clients to accelerate transaction timelines to take advantage of strong valuations

October 13, 2018 - MiBiz

Mergers and acquisition activity remained strong in West Michigan through the third quarter, as many sellers opted to go to market while they can still get a good price for their businesses.

Professionals in the M&A industry describe a clear seller’s market in which clients exiting their businesses often receive multiple offers from prospective buyers. Private equity firms and family offices remain active, competing hard for good deals, which is keeping valuation multiples up.

John Kerschen, president and managing partner of Charter Capital Partners, a Grand Rapids-based M&A firm that typically works in the lower middle market, attributes the private equity activity this year to the massive amount of “dry powder” in the U.S.

American private equity firms entered the year with a record $353 billion in dry powder, up 44 percent from 12 months earlier, according to an August report by the Washington, D.C.-based American Investment Council.

As private equity firms face deadlines to deploy their available capital, they’ve become increasingly active and competitive for deals, driving up multiples, Kerschen said.

“They have so much money and they have to get it deployed, so they’re willing to pay up,” he said. “There’s a sense of urgency to get transactions done.” more