WSU Mike Ilitch School of Business and Michigan Venture Capital Association to Host Future of Venture Capital in Detroit and Southeast Michigan Conference

As Detroit has been named the second fastest global city for Venture Capital Growth by the 2023 Pitchbook Global VC Ecosystems Ranking, the Mike Ilitch School of Business’ Entrepreneurship and Innovation program has partnered with the Michigan Venture Capital Association to host the Future of Venture Capital in Detroit and Southeast Michigan conference. 

Wayne State University students, faculty, alumni and members of the Michigan Venture Capital Association are invited to the Ilitch School from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. on Friday, February 16, 2024, for a keynote address and panel discussion. 

Assistant professor of global supply chain management and director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation program Kevin Ketels has organized this conference and is excited about what students can take away from this experience. 

"This is a great opportunity for our students to engage the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Detroit, and for these industry professionals to see the innovative work our students are doing in their student-run venture capital fund,” says Ketels. 

The keynote address, “Venture Capital Strategy in Today’s Economic Headwinds” will be delivered by Tom Shebab, M.D., who is a Managing Partner at Arboretum Ventures. This will be followed by two panel discussions. 

The first discussion, “The Future of Venture Capital in Detroit,” will feature Nia Batts, Managing Partner & COO of Union Heritage, Chris Rizik, CEO of Renaissance Venture Capital, Martin Dober, Senior Vice President of Invest Detroit and Managing Director of ID Ventures, Nancy Philippart, Co-Founder and Partner of Belle Michigan and Mykolas Rambus, Co-Founder and CEO of Hush. 

This panel will be moderated by Ara Topouzian, executive director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. He feels that “this conference is a significant event for WSU students and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Detroit. It provides a unique opportunity for students to engage with venture capital professionals. As Michigan continues to grow for venture capital, it is crucial for our students to be exposed to the future of venture capital and the strategies needed to navigate today’s economic headwinds. This event will undoubtedly contribute to the development of the next generation of venture capital talent in Detroit.” 

The second panel, “New Generation Venture Capital Talent” will feature Meagan Malm, Principle of Michigan Capital Network, Keegan McGuire, Healthcare Investor at Arboretum Adventures, Nicholas Cohn, Investment Analysis at Grand Ventures and Caroline Wolanin, an Investor at Plymouth Growth and a class of ‘22 alum of the Ilitch School. 

This panel will be moderated by Austin Churley, a junior finance major at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, and president of the Warrior Ventures student organization. 

These will be followed by a reception featuring refreshments and networking opportunities for those in attendance. Those interested in attendance can RSVP here: 

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