Michigan VC’s Top Ten list
Mina Sooch is one venture capitalist who knows how to captivate a crowd.
The chairman of the Michigan Venture Capital Association took a page out of David Letterman’s playbook by introducing her own Top Ten list at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, an annual event hosted by the University of Michigan in the small college town of Ypsilanti, about 20 miles west of Detroit.
Sooch, a managing partner for Michigan-based VC firm Triathlon Medical Ventures, talked about some of the challenges her state faces in getting deals done with entrepreneurs and boosting the amount of VC dollars invested locally. The latest report by the MVCA showed Michigan had fallen slightly from No. 16 to No. 19 overall in 2009 and that overall VC investment had dropped by nearly 50 percent, from $246 million in 2008 to just $131 million last year.
In an attempt to accentuate the positives, Sooch debuted her list of “Top Ten Reasons Michigan Will Succeed”:
10. There is no place but UP from here
9. We invent and make cool stuff!
8. Despite the rumors, the talent has not left the state
7. State invested since 2000 in diversifying (not just Casinos)
6. We will work for cheap
5. Even if the last car company fails, we still have our LAKES!
4. Young venture firms growing and growing up
3. We know what we don’t have – Capital, Capital, Capital
2. Success breeds success!
1. It’s all about the $$Money$$
Sooch emphasized that because of the lack of capital to invest, Michigan VC firms are targeting companies that have what she termed “capital efficiency” – the ability to do more with less. Sooch said this has always been a “Midwestern” trait and that it would give Michigan VCs an edge over their California peers in Silicon Valley, who completed more than 1,100 deals in 2009, compared to Michigan’s 25.
In the following video Sooch talks about what she means by capital efficiency: