Michigan Investments Benefit East Coast’s Flagship Ventures

Shannon Beeman
March 21, 2013

Cambridge, Massachusetts based Flagship Ventures manages over $900 million in capital. The firm is comprised of two units: VentureLabs creates innovative startups, and Venture Capital serves as the finance arm. Flagship invests in medical technologies, therapeutics and sustainability.

Mike Johnson, an associate of Flagship’s Ann Arbor location, focuses on healthcare and sustainability investments in the Midwest. He notes that Flagship came to Michigan for a number of reasons, one being its most successful advancement, Accuri Cytometers, which was acquired by BD in 2011. The firm was also attracted by Michigan’s academic and research base, university system, experienced entrepreneurs, investment community and state support programs. “Michigan offers capital efficiencies that are superior to the East Coast,” said Johnson. “We have received money from the Venture Michigan Fund II and Renaissance Venture Capital Fund in the past.”

In addition to Accuri Cytometers, Flagship’s main Michigan investment is Tangent Medical Technologies, Inc. Tangent, a company spun out from the University of Michigan Medical Innovation Center, “is another great example of great technologies that are coming out of the University systems,” said Johnson. “For me, to see the external validation I have from my colleagues in the Cambridge, Massachusetts office is great. People are excited about the relationships and business we can create in Michigan.”

Johnson has attended the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium multiple times. “It’s a great showcase for local companies and attracts a wide range of entrepreneurs and investors,” he said. Last year, Flagship’s CEO addressed the Symposium. “People still talk about his speech,” said Johnson.