Faculty - Fund Advisor
Erik Gordon's interests focus on entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, including strategy, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and venture finance. His expertise also includes alliances and joint ventures, intellectual-property strategy and licensing, and the roles and operations of boards of directors, particularly in the biomedical, energy and green-technology fields. Mr. Gordon is the managing director of the Wolverine Venture Fund and teaches a foundation course on how to prepare business plans for new ventures in the life sciences, biotechnology and other industries and another course on how to market start-up businesses to potential funders, customers and other key influencers. Previously, Mr. Gordon was the Shulman Family Chair in Technology and Business Innovation and associate dean at Stevens Institute of Technology. He also served on the faculty and as associate dean/director of the graduate division of business and management (Carey Business School) at Johns Hopkins University. During his career, Mr. Gordon has co-founded or advised numerous companies. Gordon holds a B.A. in economics from Bucknell University and a J.D. from The Albany Law School of Union University.
Jack K. Ahrens II
General Partner, TGap Ventures
Jack has been a venture capitalist and fund administrator since 1979; first as President of United Capital Corporation of Illinois (an SBIC), since 1983 as a General Partner of Pathfinder Venture Capital Funds I, II and III and since 2002 Founding General Partner of TGap Ventures. Prior to that he had seven years of experience in bank trust investments and operations. He became a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) in 1982 and has advanced training at the American Institute of Banking, NASBIC Management Institute, and Stanford Advance Management College. He is a graduate of Indiana University.
Managing Partner, 2nd Stage Partners
Prior to founding 2nd Stage Partners, Larry Freed was the founder and CEO of the B2B technology firm ForeSee, the world leader in customer experience analytics. Larry led the company from inception in 2001 to a successful exit in 2013 that returned over 22 times the capital originally invested in the business while also growing revenue every quarter since the company was founded. During his tenure at ForeSee, Larry assembled a world-class executive leadership team, many of whom he has brought on to join him at 2nd Stage Partners. Prior to founding ForeSee, Larry held several senior executive positions at Compuware Corporation, leading a variety of e-commerce and professional services programs. He served as Vice President of e-Business, where he was responsible for directing the national e-Business practice as well as the design, development, and implementation of e-Business strategies for numerous companies. Before joining Compuware, Larry was CTO at Bank One. Larry is the author of two books, Managing Forward (2011) and the national best-seller Innovating Analytics (2013). Larry is a top rated speaker and innovator on the way we look at the customer experience across all touch points and at the brand level. Dedicating an enormous body of research to improving customer satisfaction analytics across all disciplines for over a decade, Larry and ForeSee developed the Word of Mouth Index (WoMI) and the ForeSee Experience Index. He has been quoted in numerous publications and media including CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, the Washington Post, Tech Crunch, Mashable, and Investor’s Business Daily, as well as hundreds of other trade and local media. Larry is currently on the University of Michigan Technology Transfer National Advisory Board and previously held board and leadership positions with various other industry groups. Larry was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist and a Digital Analytics Association Most Influential Industry Contributor Finalist. Larry has a B.S. in computer science from the University of Michigan and a M.B.A. from Wayne State University.
Timothy B. Petersen
Managing Director, Arboretum Ventures
Tim Petersen leverages his broad business experience creating, growing, and financing entrepreneurial firms to target promising capital-efficient investment opportunities. In recent years he has particularly focused on investments in companies that are changing the way healthcare is delivered. Tim led Arboretum’s investment in HealthMedia (acquired by Johnson & Johnson) and Accuri Cytometers (acquired by Becton, Dickinson and Company) and served on the Board of Directors of each company prior to exit. He also led Arboretum’s investments in Advanced ICU Care CerviLenz, Inogen, MyHealthDIRECT, PathCentral, Tangent Medical, Fidelis SeniorCare and IntelliCyt Corporation, and presently serves as a director of these companies. Tim is responsible for Arboretum’s financial and fund management activities and is a member of the Investment Committee. He has been a venture capital investor for the past fourteen years. Prior to joining Arboretum in 2002, Tim was the Managing Director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan, leading the creation and rapid growth of the Institute's programs. He also directed the Wolverine Venture Fund (WVF), the Institute's venture capital fund focusing on early-stage life science and technology investments. Previously, Tim spent nine years at the economic consulting firm Industrial Economics, Inc., becoming a member of the firm's senior staff in 1991. Earlier in his career, Tim was also a manager in the investment banking practice at Plante & Moran. Tim is involved in a number of community efforts focused on entrepreneurship and frequently lectures at local universities on venture capital. He is currently the Alumni Fund Manager for the Wolverine Venture Fund and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. Tim earned a BA in Economics from Williams College, where he was captain of the men’s tennis team. He also holds an MS in Economics from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Mina Patel Sooch
Founder & General Partner, Apjohn Ventures, Fund President and CEO, ProNAi
Mina Sooch brings with her almost twenty years of healthcare and pharmaceutical experiences as an entrepreneur, strategy & finance advisor, and venture capitalist. As a founder and general partner at Apjohn, she had been active in sourcing, screening, due diligence, and closing of all the fund investments. Mina currently serves on the board of ProNAi, Svelte, and CytoPherx with prior board seats at exited companies ZyStor and Asterand and prior board observer seats at exited companies Afmedica and Ikano. She recently completed two years as Chairman of the Board of the Michigan Venture Capital Association which she has served on also as board member for over seven years. She also has been a board member of the Midwest Healthcare Investment Network for over eight years. Mina shares her time and thoughts by serving as speaker, moderator, panelist, or judge at many entrepreneurial and life sciences community activities. Since 2001, Mina has been fully engaged in the early stage life sciences space through synergistic roles as founding principal of Apjohn Group (life sciences business accelerator) and entrepreneur in residence at North Coast Technology Investors ($100 million early stage venture capital firm in Ann Arbor). Through those roles, she has served as founding CFO of Afmedica and founding CEO of SenseGene Therapeutics (now ProNAi). Prior to 2001, Mina spent eight years as a global account manager at Monitor Group, a top tier global strategy consulting firm based in Boston, with her client base consisting of mid-cap and large-cap healthcare companies and multi-billion dollar private equity companies. With a focus on M&A, she has worked on over 30 deals including $7B Pharmacia & Upjohn merger in 1995 and $1B merger of PharMerica in 1997. Mina was also a founding leader of Monitor's Corporate Finance practice in 1998 with Tom Copeland. Mina began her career spending several years in research and product development at Ford Motor Company, Dow Chemical Company, and Proctor and Gamble. Mina received a MBA from Harvard Business School in 1993. She graduated summa cum laude and commencement speaker from Wayne State University in 1989 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Huron River Ventures
Ryan has over 15 years of experience in investing, operating and consulting roles in the alternative energy and environmental sectors, and is widely recognized as an experienced cleantech investment professional. Ryan has invested in more than 20 energy technology companies at seed, venture and growth equity stages, totaling over $100 million of invested and committed capital. Prior to co- founding Huron River Ventures, Ryan helped establish an energy-focused private equity group within New York-based Ziff Brothers Investments, one of the largest and most successful family office investment firms in the country. There he became part of the core team of investment managers and worked on multiple transactions in sectors including renewables, biofuels, power transmission and advanced materials. Ryan began his career in venture capital working inside DTE Energy’s corporate venture group, where he worked on investments in fuel cells, energy storage, power electronics and waste-to-energy, among others. Ryan also established and executed a seed stage funding program at NextEnergy, where he funded several prominent Michigan-based alternative energy companies, and co-founded a “dot com” web portal for outdoor enthusiasts while in business school. Ryan holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and a MBA with Distinction from the Ross School of Business at University of Michigan, where participated in the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise.
Steven D. Weinstein
Managing Director, Novartis Venture Fund
Steve is a Managing Director in Novartis Venture Fund’s Cambridge, MA office. Steve focuses on both medical device and bio/pharma investments for the fund. He brings significant operating and venture capital experience to Novartis' investing efforts. Steve joined the Fund in 2006 as a Managing Director. He has led the investments and serves on the board of Ablation Frontiers (acquired by Medtronic), Autonomic Technologies, Portaero, Sonitus Medical, and Visiogen (acquired by Abbott). Prior to Novartis, Steve was at Prism Venture Partners, where he focused on medical devices and served on the boards of iScience Interventional, and Sensitech (acquired by Carrier/UTX). Prior to Prism, Steve was a Kauffman Fellow with Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds. He started his career as an entrepreneur and CEO, raising angel funds to buy the assets of a defunct distribution business out of bankruptcy, and then rebuilt the business over the next five years. Steve holds an MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Business School and a BS in mechanical engineering from Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science. He serves on the University of Michigan Wolverine Venture Fund Advisory Board and on the board of the Family to Family Project.
Managing Director, RPM Ventures
Marc Weiser is Founder and Managing Director of RPM Ventures, a seed and early stage venture firm focused on information technology. For RPM, Marc is currently involved with the boards of BountyJobs, Glyde, Kontextual, Mojo Motors, ShareThis and Xtime. He is also responsible for the firm’s investments in Giftly, Luvocracy, SoFi, and Wide Open Spaces. Previous investments include: Applimation (acquired by Informatica – NASDAQ:INFA), OpenLane (acquired by Kar Holdings – NYSE: KAR), R4 Global Services (acquired by Verisign – NASDAQ:VRSN), RiverGlass (acquired by Allen Systems), and TetraVitae (acquired by Eastman Chemical – NYSE:EMN). Prior to forming RPM, Mr. Weiser was an internet and software entrepreneur. He co-founded QuantumShift, a provider of web-based business-to-business technology and services focused on corporate telecommunications needs. He was also an early employee at MessageMedia (acquired by DoubleClick) where he pioneered some of the original methods for e-commerce and helped lead the company’s IPO. In addition to his board roles for RPM, Mr. Weiser serves on the boards of McKinley, Inc., the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) and Wolverine Venture Fund at the University of Michigan, where he is an adjunct professor. He is the recipient of the University of Michigan College of Engineering Alumni Distinguished Service Award for his efforts in founding the CFE, the TechArb (student accelerator), and the Masters in Entrepreneurship (a joint program between the College of Engineering and Ross School of Business). Additionally, he and his wife are leading the creation of the Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan. This Center will provide national leadership and a path to a cure for those that suffer from food allergies. He graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan with a BSE in aerospace engineering and a MBA with highest honors.
Chief Operating Officer and General Partner
Harry joined Flagship Ventures in 2006, bringing a rich set of experiences and expertise in financial management, operations, fund management and strategy. His career spans 30 years and has involved many different roles and functions including Controller, CFO, Sr. VP BD, and CEO. He has also served on several Boards of Directors. In addition to his corporate experience, Harry was previously CFO of two venture capital firms, Highland Capital Partners where he was the founding CFO and General Partner, and prior to that, Charles River Ventures. Most recently he has served as CFO and then Sr. VP Corporate Development for EXACT Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS), one of Flagship’s portfolio companies. In addition to EXACT Sciences, Harry led an active consulting practice which included roles as interim CEO of two biotech companies: Thrasos Therapeutics and Biostratum. Prior to this, Harry was Executive Vice President, Chief of Finance and Corporate Development of Pyrosequencing, a publicly-held European biotech company. Earlier, he had been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge NeuroScience, Inc. (NASDAQ:CNSI) until its sale to CeNeS Pharmaceuticals, and before that Sr. VP Business Development and CFO of Cellcor. As COO and General Partner at Flagship Ventures, Harry is responsible for the operational management of Flagship's VentureLabsTM unit, serves as a member of Flagship's investment committee, and oversees the firm's financial operations and LP relations/fundraising. He was a board member of Accuri Cytometers prior to its successful sale to Becton Dickinson. He also plays a role as board member or advisor to select portfolio companies and is currently a board member of Black Duck, Celexion, Seahorse Bioscience, Seventh Sense Biosystems, Tangent Medical Technologies, Inc. and T2 Biosystems.