The Michigan Angel Fund (MAF) concluded 2019 investing a total of $1,043,000 in 13 early stage Michigan-based startups, including three deals through the recently created MAF IV which opened in April and closed in December with $2 million in investment from 49 investors.
“In 2011, when SPARK created an angel group, the priority was to attract high-net-worth households into the angel investment world by thinking of tech startup investments like they would any other investment classes — such as stocks, bonds, real estate and private equity,” said Skip Simms, MAF manager and Ann Arbor SPARK senior vice president. “In 2019, our fourth fund closed with 16 new participants who previously have never made an angel investment.”
MAF remains the largest angel investor group in Michigan with a total of 156 members. In 2019, MAF was the most active group in the state with five new investments and eight follow-on investments. Notably, MAF IV made three investments before the fund had even closed.
“There’s a lot of great tech startups and early stage companies in our economy,” added Simms. “High-potential tech startups continue to diversify the state’s economy while creating disruptive technologies, services, and products in healthcare, mobility, security, software, material sciences and manufacturing. There are a lot of opportunities for investors which is why the Michigan Angel Community continues to grow.”
In 2019, three new angel groups formed in the state. According to Simms, many investors will participate in multiple angel groups to see more deal flow. MAF members represent 19 different communities and four states. Over the history of MAF, there have been a total of 29 company investments with more than half based in Ann Arbor.
MAF IV 2019 Investments
Akadeum Life Sciences: Founded in 2014, Akadeum was established to create the simplest bioseparation products and to fundamentally change the way that isolating cells and other biological targets is approached. Akadeum currently uses microbubbles for applications in cell separation and other related areas. Akadeum is located at MI-HQ on the west side of Ann Arbor (Scio Township).
Ripple Science: Ripple is a web-based management solution that facilitates the recruitment and management of research participants for clinical, translational and social science studies. Initially developed at the University of Michigan by Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran, he and co-founder Jacob Benenberger established Ripple Science in 2017. The University of Michigan announced a $750,000 investment with Ripple Science in 2019.
SkySpecs: An Ann Arbor-based software company, SkySpecs develops operations and maintenance solutions for wind farms through the use of technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Its solutions include Horizon, a central repository for blade operations and management data, and autonomous drone inspections. This is MAF’s fourth investment with SkySpecs, with the first being in 2017 as part of MAF II.
ABOUT THE MICHIGAN ANGEL FUND
MAF is a for-profit, pooled, and professionally managed equity fund which focuses on near- or at-revenue, Michigan-based tech companies with the ability to acquire customers, expand markets, and grow the company. For more information about the Michigan Angel Fund, visit www.miangelfund.com.
ABOUT ANN ARBOR SPARK
Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from startups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners to achieve its mission. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.