After nearly two decades supporting the Ann Arbor region’s entrepreneurs, Ann Arbor SPARK vice president and Michigan Angel Fund managing member Skip Simms announced that he will retire at the end of 2022.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding to promote early-stage entrepreneurs and watch the angel investment community grow during my tenure at SPARK,” reflected Simms. “Investing in startups is one of the most significant ways to drive our economy forward. More than any other economic driver, startups employ more people and provide greater diversification to the economy.”
Simms was Ann Arbor SPARK’s second employee and has been with the organization since it was founded. Perhaps his greatest legacy will be the creation and management of the Michigan Angel Fund.
“The entire state of Michigan has benefited from Skip’s efforts and the amazing work he’s done to create the Michigan Angel Fund in 2013 and grow it through five funds over the past decade,” remarked Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO. “The Michigan Angel Fund under Skip’s leadership has been a major contributor to the region’s entrepreneurial success.”
Mike Flanagan will continue in his role at Ann Arbor SPARK as the vice president of capital programs and succeed Simms as the managing member for the Michigan Angel Fund. Simms recruited Flanagan seven years ago to join Ann Arbor SPARK with this transition in mind.
“I welcome this opportunity to continue Skip’s impressive work helping early-stage companies connect with Michigan’s angel community,” remarked Flanagan. “I’ve learned so much from him over the years and know there is still lots of untapped potential for angel investors and entrepreneurs alike.”
Simms will continue to support the Michigan Angel Fund as a consultant. “Encouraging investors to add angel investing as an asset class in their portfolio remains one of my passion projects,” Simms added. “Retirement also gives me some free time to pursue other interests like music and outdoor activities.”
Ann Arbor SPARK will host a retirement celebration in Skip’s honor in May 2023. More details will be available early next year.