Investors signed up for this year’s Michigan Growth Capital Symposium have an opportunity to get more bang for their buck by attending the 2018 Biomedical Innovation Cup pitch competition on Wednesday, May 16, directly following the symposium’s closing luncheon.
Now in its fourth year, the Biomedical Innovation Cup complements the MGCS by offering investors a sneak peek at the emerging pipeline of later-stage, biomedical-research projects emanating from the University of Michigan and other research centers around the state. Many of these projects have the potential to become startup companies focused on commercializing new discoveries and promising biomedical technologies.
“The growing level of activity in biomedical innovation in this region might be a surprise for investors who don’t come from Michigan, given our state’s heavy emphasis historically on automotive, technology and manufacturing,” says Connie Chang, managing director of the Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) program. “We thought it would be great to showcase the pipeline of innovation and, at the same time, give our biomedical innovators an opportunity to interface with the investment community and practice pitching their ideas to investors, as part of their learning process.”
FFMI provides a “front door” for accessing and navigating the U-M’s rich biomedical-innovation ecosystem. It also serves as an innovation hub and partner to many other universities and health systems throughout the state.
Each year, five outstanding teams are selected from among the FFMI-managed portfolio of state-funded biomedical-research projects ─ originating at the U-M and elsewhere in Michigan ─ to make their best pitches before a panel of judges. The judges award “virtual dollars” in funding to the teams with the best pitches and provide all participants with verbal critiques of their performance.
Although the featured projects are technically “pre-companies,” they are beginning to attract more attention from angel and venture capital investors, who are shifting their sights toward investment targets in the earlier stages of company formation and growth, according to Chang. With help from FFMI, she adds, these nascent ventures are accelerating their product development, honing their commercialization capabilities and preparing to become investable private companies that can attract third-party venture funding.