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Ann Arbor-based startups, early-stage business boosters honored at annual MVCA dinner

Wednesday, October 10, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alisha Brown
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A pair of Ann Arbor-based companies with milestone years were honored alongside an early-stage business booster and startup incubation program at the Michigan Venture Capital Association Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday.

Duo Security's recent $2.35 billion sale earned it the Exit of the Year Award, and Strata Oncology's $26 million funding round snagged it the Up-and-Coming Company of the Year Award, according to a news release.

Also honored at the dinner, which was hosted in Eastern Market's Shed 3, was the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, with the Community Impact Award, and Jody Vanderwel, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s program Start MI Up: Michigan Ventures Forward, the dinner was co-hosted by Gov. Rick Snyder and included more than 300 investors, entrepreneurs and community leaders. It was the largest dinner in the organization's history, according to the release.

The MVCA is an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit trade association founded in 2002. It works with the Snyder administration, legislators and private investors to increase talent and investment opportunities for startups in the state, according to its website.

Internet security provider Duo Security made headlines last year by setting the venture capital fundraising record at $70 million and made an even bigger splash in August when it announced that it will be acquired by Cisco Systems Inc. The San Jose-based company announced Monday that it closed on the deal.

Strata Oncology, a cancer research startup, attracted several high-level backers including Pfizer Venture Investments, based in New York, during its Series B funding earlier this year. It plans to use the funds to build a model for precision oncology and advance its clinical-genomic data and software solutions.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition launched in 2010 to pair seed-stage startups with angel investors and venture capitalists. It says its winners have hired more than 1,000 employees and drawn upwards of $550 million of investment to the state.

Vanderwel is a board member of the Michigan Strategic Fund, MVCA, Michigan Accelerator Fund I, Baker Publishing Group and Fuller Theological Seminary. She worked as president of Grand Rapids-based Grand Angels Venture Fund II LLC from 2005 to 2016, during which it raised $23,000,000 for 39 companies. She was named a Crain's Most Influential Woman in 2016.

Start MI Up: Michigan Ventures Forward takes place Monday-Wednesday with a series of events, including the MVCA dinner and the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund's UnDemo Day, in Detroit and Ann Arbor.

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