Michigan's Bank of Ann Arbor is a full service institution offering business financial services. Within the Bank, the Technology Industry Group focuses on business banking products for early to late stage innovation-based companies, angel investment companies, and venture capital firms.
"Often with the earlier stage companies we provide business advisory services," said Technology Industry Group President Michael Cole. "Sometimes it's looking to help them with their business plans or some of their business strategies, and often helping connect them to other resources and people within the community."
Cole notes that it is easy for early stage companies to overlook the small, yet important things. "We have a whole team of people who provide personalized service," he said. "There's always someone to talk to, and when time sensitive challenges come up it’s helpful to have people to work through issues on a quick basis."
The Technology Industry Group focuses on building the innovation economy in the Ann Arbor region. It recently helped the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum put on an event called Tech Twilight. "We brought in local innovation-based companies – early and late stage - for a whole night of activities," said Cole. "They displayed their cool technology." The Group is currently developing the Ann Arbor Imagination Corridor, a project involving innovation-based companies, local science and technology organizations and the arts and entertainment community. "The Bank of Ann Arbor is growing, and we are growing along with it," said Cole. "We have a great financial strength behind us to help us continue to grow out this focus on working in the innovation community."
Cole also works closely with the angel investment community, having founded the Ann Arbor Angels in 2004. "The group has been investing a little more than $3 million a year for early stage companies and some of the early stage funds developed in town," he said.
For Cole and his team, the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium is one of the first events added to their calendar each year. "We get the chance to meet people outside of the region and new people in the region," he said. "We've had dozens of our companies present over at MGCS throughout the years, and they've really made important connections to potential funding sources."