Finance

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EAST LANSING — With a new investment fund at Michigan State University, students can gain experience on either side of the venture capital industry. The Student Venture Capital Fund offers students with an idea for a business or an innovation “priceless” experience in seeking capital and pitching to prospective investors, said Jeff Wesley, the executive director of Red Cedar Ventures at MSU.

Rose Street Advisors LLC of Kalamazoo has acquired HRM Innovations LLC, a human resources consulting and training firm.

South Bend, Ind.-based Teachers Credit Union plans to acquire New Bancorp Inc., the parent company of New Buffalo Savings Bank.

As Michigan’s venture capital industry made further gains in 2018, it made some progress on one front that’s been the focus of attention the last few years: Diversity. Statistics tucked into the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s 2019 research report show an uptick over five years in investments into startups companies led by women and minorities.

The amount of venture capital invested in the Midwest grew at a compound annual rate of 17 percent from 2013 to 2018, the third highest in the U.S., behind the West Coast at 28 percent and the Mid-Atlantic region at 22 percent. The growth rate was one of the reasons the National Venture Capital Association and the University of California Berkeley chose Ann Arbor as the place to launch a new education program, VC University LIVE, on May 15-17 at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

WALKER — Seven years after buying Custom Profile Inc., Blackford Capital Inc. was ready for an exit. In seeking to sell the company, the Grand Rapids-based Blackford Capital evaluated a variety of options. Those options included finding a strategic buyer, a deal with another private equity firm, or selling to Custom Profile’s management and employees under an employee stock ownership plan.

Macatawa Bank Corp. recorded strong earnings growth for the first three months of 2019.

Merger-related expenses flattened quarterly earnings for ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc.

Independent Bank Corp. got off to what President and CEO Brad Kessel called a “solid start” in 2019 with slightly higher earnings.

A venture capital fund led by women investors to back women-owned startups has raised $4.5 million so far toward a $20 million goal. Belle Michigan Impact Fund LP has attracted 57 investors to date, including its first institutional investor in Toronto-based Canadian Imperial Bank Corp.

United Federal Credit Union plans to buy a former Whirlpool Corp. office building in St. Joseph for its new corporate headquarters.

Mercantile Bank Corp. began 2019 with higher earnings and strong loan growth that it expects to continue through the year.

Venture capital funds based in Michigan more than doubled the amount they invested in startups in 2018, although the money went to fewer companies.

PORTAGE — In the past, First United Credit Union would consider doing a business loan when a member asked about it. Now, after signing on last year with a Portage firm, the small Grandville credit union takes a slightly more proactive approach toward business lending to members.

The insurance industry in Michigan grew by double digits over a 13-year period and remains poised to grow even more with the cluster of talent based in the state. Those were among the conclusions in a new report that for the first time offers a broad look at the state’s insurance industry, which in 2018 accounted for 4.6 percent of Michigan’s gross domestic output, directly employed more than 80,000 people, and supported another 58,000 jobs indirectly through the purchase of goods and services.

Genesis Innovation Group LLC and its affiliated venture capital funds invested in HAPPE Spine LLC, a Grand Rapids startup developing and commercializing a material for orthopedic implants.

Red Cedar Investment Management LLC has relocated to Grand Rapids after landing a veteran investment team that has ambitious growth plans for the firm.

The second-generation family-owned MultiState Insurance Center Inc. agency has signed a definitive agreement to sell to a Texas-based independent life insurance and health insurance firm.

Some business exits go smoothly; others, not so much. The key for business owners approaching the time when they’re poised to move on is to plan early and often, and to thoroughly think through their approach to the process.

Life happens. So does death. Professional advisers say business owners need to prepare for what happens to their companies in the event they’re taken out of commission by a sudden life-changing event — such as an illness or injury that leaves them incapacitated or debilitated, or worse. Even if an owner experiences a personal crisis that takes him away from the business for an extended period, it can have crushing effects on the company, especially without prior planning, advisers say.

Jennifer Orme applied to be the human resources director for the city of Holland after hearing about the job on Facebook. The city’s next request took her by surprise: They asked her to send in a hard copy of her resume.

SPARTA — ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc.’s proposed $89 million merger with a similarly sized community bank in Lapeer began last summer when Kelly Potes struck up a conversation with his counterparts.

Craig Hecker had thought about his eventual departure from his family business for a decade or more. A few years before he sold, he began preparing. He spent time “making sure everything was up to date and in good shape,” and even paid off the company’s debt.

Sparta-based ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. plans to merge with Lapeer-based County Bank Corp. in a deal that would create a bank with a combined $1.28 billion in assets.

GRAND RAPIDS — A capital fund providing commercial real estate bridge loans raised more than $11 million from investors in its first few months and closed on transactions with three borrowers. Red Oak Capital GP LLC of Grand Rapids continues to close monthly on investments from new investors en route to a goal of raising $50 million through a bond offering by the end of 2019, with two six-month extensions if needed. The capital raised goes to a national fund that provides senior lines of credit for commercial real estate deals that do not yet qualify for bank financing.

GRAND RAPIDS — Nearly a year after closing on the acquisition of a community bank on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Lake Michigan Credit Union could extend its footprint further in the Sunshine State. By following members who are migrating south for the warmer climate in retirement, the Grand Rapids-based Lake Michigan Credit Union is presently looking at other community banks in Florida, said President and CEO Sandra Jelinski.

A Mid Michigan medical marijuana company plans to expand after raising more than $30 million in capital.

Grand Angels’ formation of an affiliate investment group in Detroit brings more capital and investors into the field to support startup companies in Michigan. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Steady growth led Mercantile Bank Corp. to proceed with an addition at its corporate headquarters. Rising on the south side of the headquarters building at Leonard Street and U.S. 131 in Grand Rapids, the three-story, 25,000-square-foot addition will enable Mercantile Bank to bring together commercial banking teams and support staff — lenders, treasury and credit analysts — at one location.

The proposed $3.6 billion merger between Chemical Financial Corp. and TCF Financial Corp. would create a Midwest bank based in Michigan that’s able to compete with the largest national banks and that’s likely to pursue further acquisitions. Under the $3.6 billion all-stock deal, the Wayzata, Minn.-based TCF Financial (NYSE: TCF) would merge into the Detroit-based Chemical Financial (Nasdaq: CHFC). Once the deal closes, Chemical Bank locations would take on the TCF name.

HOLLAND — The $6.7 million that ITB Packaging LLC raised from private investors will go to support developing new production equipment and expanding into markets outside of the U.S. In the years ahead, the company aims to accelerate growth, penetrate new product markets such as consumer goods, electronics and the beverage industry, and establish production for overseas customers in Mexico and Europe. The first step is to complete in-house development on the next generation of automated production equipment to produce the packaging dividers.

Acrisure LLC capped off its most active year for M&A with the acquisition of Milwaukee, Wis.-based HNI Risk Services at the end of 2018.

Independent Bank Corp. this week reported net income of $9.9 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2018. 

Chemical Financial Corp. would extend further across the Midwest with the proposed merger with Wayzata, Minn.-based TCF Financial Corp.

Macatawa Bank Corp. nearly tripled earnings for the fourth quarter.

ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. posted record earnings for the fourth quarter.

Former Herman Miller Inc. President and CEO Brian Walker joined Detroit-based private equity firm Huron Capital as a partner in charge of strategic leadership for portfolio companies.

Mercantile Bank Corp. recorded strong earnings and loan growth to end 2018, a trend executives expect should continue into 2019.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Jan. 21, 2019.

Insurance broker First Agency Inc. has sold to Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

The $8 million in capital West Michigan Community Bank just raised will go to support further growth and perhaps develop another branch location in the Grand Rapids area.

Professionals expect a vibrant M&A market and strong deal flow this year amid easing U.S. economic growth and rising interest rates.

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