KALAMAZOO, MI — (Marketwired) — 08/21/14 — Vestaron Corporation, a company that designs environmentally friendly insecticides, announced today a first close on the sale of its Series C Preferred Stock. This $10M round, which was led by new investor Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, a fund specializing in food and agricultural companies, also included major current investors including Southwest Michigan First Life Science Venture Fund, Open Prairie Ventures, Pangaea Ventures, Michigan Accelerator Fund, and others.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Cultivian to the Vestaron team. Their expertise in the agricultural arena will be a great addition to our Board of Directors, and their experience in bringing agricultural products to market will be of tremendous help as we commercialize our first product, a biological insecticide,” said John Sorenson, CEO of Vestaron. This product, a naturally occurring peptide, was approved by the EPA for commercial sale in February.
Ron Meeusen, Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox, said, “We’ve followed Vestaron for several years now and this is clearly the right time for Cultivian Sandbox to invest in the Company. They have made tremendous technical progress in the past two years, and the commercialization of their first product is exciting indeed.”
Vestaron exploits the natural insecticidal properties of a class of peptides which have potent insect killing potential but which are safe to humans, birds, fish, and the environment, including honeybees. These peptides utilize new modes of action that have never been used in insect control, and therefore do not suffer from insect resistance. In addition to the bioinsecticide, the Company is putting the genes for the peptide into crop plants, and is modeling the active sites of the peptides to identify synthetic mimics that also have a favorable safety spectrum.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vestaron and Pangaea Ventures General Partner Keith Gillard commented that, “Cultivian Sandbox is a terrific fit for Vestaron and they’ve come along at the perfect time as we move from a research and development company to a commercial company. Their input into the commercialization process will provide tremendous value as we move the company to the next level.”
This press release contains certain “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Information in this press release, which is not historical, is forward looking and involves a number of risks and uncertainties. Investors are cautioned not to put any undue reliance on any forward-looking statement. Actual results may differ materially from historical results of operations and those discussed in the forward-looking statements for various reasons, including, but not limited to the parties’ ability to carry out the business plan, successful development and commercial acceptance of products, ability to fund development necessary for products and for the pursuit of new product opportunities, ability to hire required personnel, the risk of whether products result from development activities, protection of the parties’ intellectual property portfolios, the risk associated with obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals, the ability to obtain foreign regulatory approvals for products and to establish marketing arrangements in countries where approval is obtained, and other potential factors.
FENTON, Mich., Aug. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Blackford Capital, a national private equity firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., today announced its investment in Fenton, Mich.-based Burgaflex North America, a leading manufacturer of coolant system tube and hose assemblies serving the heavy truck, agricultural and off-road markets. The transaction is the fourth by Blackford’s Michigan Prosperity Fund.
Burgaflex NA currently employs 350 people at its 200,000-square-foot facilities and serves heavy equipment customers including Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Company (John Deere), AB Volvo and Daimler Group.
“Burgaflex is a perfect fit for the Michigan Prosperity Fund,” said Martin Stein, managing director of Blackford Capital. “The company’s focus on exceptional customer service and quality manufacturing has helped it build a strong reputation and a great growth trajectory. Our investment will help to grow the business and also bring jobs to one of the areas of Michigan hardest hit during the economic recession. We look forward to participating in the long-term success of both Burgaflex and the greater Flint region.”
“Blackford Capital is exactly the partner we were looking for to help us strengthen our business and achieve our long-term growth objectives,” said David Kennedy, CEO of Burgaflex NA. “Their investment in Burgaflex will be good for the company, our employees and our community as we expand our operations, create new jobs and bring added products and resources to our customers.”
The Michigan Prosperity Fund, created in 2012, invests in Michigan companies to generate best-in-class equity returns, and also supports the Michigan economy by protecting and creating jobs locally. Grand Rapids-based Custom Profile, Inc., Metro Detroit-based Mopec, and Grand Haven-based Grand Transformers, Inc. are the other three companies currently in the fund.
Burgaflex NA began operations in 2004 and both owners, Kennedy and David Bubnar, will remain with the company following Blackford’s acquisition. Kennedy will continue to serve as CEO and Bubnar as a consultant.
Mercantile Bank Corp. and Capitala Finance Corp. provided financing for the transaction.
Blackford Capital also announced, in line with its commitment to support its management teams and the expansion of the business, that it has named 10 people to the Burgaflex board of directors:
About Blackford Capital
Blackford Capital is a private equity firm based in Grand Rapids, Mich., that acquires, manages and builds middle-market manufacturing, distribution and service companies, with seven portfolio companies that employ more than 1,300 people and generate combined revenues of approximately $225 million. Blackford has offices in Grand Rapids (headquarters) and Santa Monica, CA. Blackford Capital reviewed roughly 3,400 transactions in 2013, and has closed 27 transactions in the past seven years. Burgaflex is Blackford’s seventh portfolio company and its fourth in Michigan. The firm’s investment criteria includes mature, profitable businesses with revenues between $20 million and $100 million, and with management teams that are either willing to remain with the company or are seeking to retire. For more information, visit www.blackfordcapital.com .
About Burgaflex NA
Burgaflex NA is a leading manufacturer of tube and hose assemblies for the heavy truck and agriculture markets. Since 2004, Burgaflex has been meeting the growing needs of a diverse range of customers by focusing on manufacturing quality products at competitive prices. For more information, visit www.burgaflexna.com .
SOURCE Blackford Capital
TROUT CREEK VENTURes
A regional co-investment fund specializing in angel and early stage private equity.