Ann Arbor entrepreneurial community wins with HandyLab sale

This story originally ran 10/28/09

The sale of Ann Arbor-based HandyLab is the story that entrepreneurial dreams are made of.

And in this case they came true.

A published report on AnnArbor.com puts the price Becton-Dickinson paid for HandyLab at $300 million (a BD spokeswoman declined to confirm the price), and if that's true it's a very big start-up win for the region. The type that reinforces, if not proves, the idea that entrepreneurs can hit it Silicon Valley-big in Ann Arbor.

"This kind of success demonstrates that you can do this very well and allows local venture funds to leverage more capital," says Tom Kinnear, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

He adds that there is a trend of these sorts entrepreneurial wins, including the acquisition of Ann Arbor-based HealthMedia last year and T/J Technologies before that. These also symbol investment wins for local venture capital firms, such as Ann Arbor-based EDF Ventures and U-M's Wolverine Fund.

"It's the tip of the iceberg in a sense because there are a lot of other investments underneath it by the VC and angel communities," Kinnear says.

HandyLab specializes in conducting miniature laboratory experiments using technology developed by two former University of Michigan graduate students. The company started off in 2000 and employed 40 people as of last year. It started to form a partnership with Becton-Dickinson earlier this year.

B
ecton-Dickinson is 112-year-old firm based out of New Jersey. It develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents.

Source: Becton-Dickinson and
Tom Kinnear, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business
Writer: Jon Zemke
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