Composites firm attracts investment for energy-related structures

Angel investor group BlueWater Angels has given $200,000 to Fulcrum Composites for the research, development and marketing of its alternative energy business venture.

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Fulcrum Composites Inc. (Midland, Mich., 25948) has netted more than $200,000, the result of a cash infusion from BlueWater Angels (Midland, Mich.), a nine-month-old investment group in the mid-Michigan region. The deal, BlueWater’s first, closed on Dec. 22, 2008, and will enable Fulcrum to continue its research, development and marketing efforts, focusing on alternative energy options.

Spun off in 2004 from Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.), Fulcrum’s core technology involves a thermoplastic resin that is readily adaptable to pultrusion and other traditional thermoset molding processes. The company cur-rently produces continuous fiber-rein-forced pultruded profiles and parts and has begun to provide innovative solutions for lightweight structures in the solar and wind energy markets. The company also has received funding from other investors, including Dow Chemical, and was recently recognized with an Innovation Award from a local economic development group, Midland Tomorrow.

“This will certainly help to move us ahead,” says Chris Edwards, Fulcrum’s president. “And, as important as the money is to us, the support of the people involved in the BlueWater Angels is equally important. BlueWater Angels membership includes many successful business people with vision and leadership in sectors where Fulcrum is heading.”

“This is not an easy economic climate, and we are grateful to the BlueWater Angels and all of our investors for their confidence in us and the future of Michigan-based technology companies,” Edwards adds.

An “angel investment” is a vehicle for young, innovative high-growth startup firms to raise seed capital to bring their business ideas to fruition on a scale large enough to interest other investors and enhance an area’s economy. The term “angel” was originally used to describe wealthy individuals who provided money for theatrical productions in 19th Century England. BlueWater Angels is one of several investor groups affiliated with the private, not-for-profit MidMichigan Innovation Center (Midland, Mich.), a technology incubator. During the investment and analysis process, the BlueWater Angels considered more than 90 investment opportunities from across Michigan. In exchange for the investment, the group received an undisclosed share in the company, says a published source. According to Brent Case, executive director at MidMichigan Innovation Center and managing director for the BlueWater Angels, the group plans to continue to focus on investment opportunities within Michigan and in the Midwest in 2009 with consideration of more deals on an ongoing basis.

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