wjr business beat

WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: LLamasoft Acquisition Puts Spotlight on Michigan Startups (Episode 140)

Today, we’ve got some great news to report coming out of Ann Arbor. Another unicorn has emerged, as LLamasoft, an AI-based business for supply chain management, has been acquired for $1.5 billion.

Jeff spoke with Ara Topouzian, executive director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, who had this to say about the news:

“It’s great news for the state of Michigan… it shows is that we’ve got some great entrepreneurs and innovators here in Michigan, and hopefully we’ll spark the pipeline even further.”

Listen to this morning’s WJR Business Beat to hear Jeff break down how this incredible investment will benefit local startups: 


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Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at [email protected] and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

Today’s WJR Business Beat is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

We’ve got some great news to report coming out of Ann Arbor. We’ve got another unicorn. That’s a startup that has realized a billion dollars or more in value with the best part of the story, the valuation isn’t driven by investment, but rather by an acquisition worth $1.5 billion in a mix of cash and stock.

The company being acquired? LLamasoft, an AI-based business for supply chain management, in a deal that will allow the two companies to shorten the lead time between supply chain decision and execution by having all the data in one system.

I spoke with Ara Topouzian, executive director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, who had this to say about the news:

“It’s great news for the state of Michigan. I think it does a lot of things. First of all, it’s shines a certain spotlight on Michigan, Michigan is not a flyover state for innovation and investment. And what I think it shows is that we’ve got some great entrepreneurs and innovators here in Michigan, and hopefully we’ll spark the pipeline even further.”

Now while hauling down 1.5 billion in a sale is great news for LLamasoft stakeholders, the benefits extend way beyond that, to the broader community.

As Ara said, this is going to demonstrate that Michigan is a great place to start companies, invest in companies if you’re an investor and, or acquire companies, if you’re an acquirer.

To break this down, this is going to bring cash into the community, it’s going to energize and inspire founders to start new companies, and it’s going to encourage investors to invest in startups right here in the great state of Michigan.

And some of them will be able to make further investments with money they’ve just made on the LLamasoft acquisition. And to put in perspective the kind of money that can be made on events like this, well how about this?

One locally-based venture capital firm put 4 million into the company when it was valued at $20 million. Given a $1.5 billion acquisition, that’s about 75 times return on the investment made by that venture capital firm.

What a great way to end our week, Paul! Good news for the state of Michigan and all involved in the LLamasoft transaction. Congratulations!

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat, brought to you today by Dell Technologies, on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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