Grand Rapids Investment Co. Supports Local Orbit, ProNAi Therapeutics


Grand Rapids-based Grand Angels will invest in five Michigan-based companies, including two from metro Detroit, bringing its total investments to $13 million in 28 companies.

“Michigan is an exciting region for growth in technology, health care research, and agricultural advancements, and we are thrilled to see these companies flourish in the coming year,” says Jody Vanderwel, president of Grand Angels.

Investment recipients include Local Orbit in Ann Arbor, which provides sales and business management software for farmers, producer co-ops, food hubs, farmers markets, and independent distributors to efficiently sell to local restaurants, grocers, and institutions.

Online marketplaces powered by Local Orbit are already active across 12 states, and local farmers’ sales through Local Orbit have grown by 300 percent from 2012 to 2013, says Erika Block, founder and CEO of Local Orbit. The investment will help the company expand its activity to new customers nationwide, she says.

Grand Angels also announced Monday it will invest in ProNAi Therapeutics, a Plymouth-based cancer biotech company, which has seen recent success with safely treating Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients in clinical trials.

Other companies to receive support from Grand Angels include Kalamazoo-based Ablative Solutions, which has developed a safe outpatient renal denervation process for the treatment of high blood pressure; Grand Rapids-based Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, which offers services for clinical, small-scale, and commercial stage products; and Kalamazoo-based Vestaron Corp., which is focused on the development of a new generation of insecticides.