BELLE Michigan Celebrates First Successful Exit


BELLE Michigan, the state’s only women led venture funds that invests in women-led businesses, celebrates successful first exit.

The BELLE Michigan Fund, LP, an early stage investment fund specializing in human and financial capital for women led businesses will make its first exit since its founding in 2012, with final transaction papers signed this week.  Ft. Worth based Magaw Medical, LLC founders Jay Tydlaska and Amy Sheppard, both practicing nurse anesthetists, developed an innovative, cost effective and virtually mistake free laryngoscope system that attracted BELLE’s attention after developers of a similar product sought capital from them in 2014.   

BELLE negotiated the sale of its holdings on behalf of the noteholders just 16 months after its initial investment, having identified a Farmington Hills, Michigan, based acquirer that had the ability to better respond to Magaw’s needs for assistance in manufacturing, sales and marketing. 

Magaw’s Co-Pilot VL, a video laryngoscope, is a thoroughly modernized version of an essential medical tool used in emergency rooms, hospitals, emergency response vehicles and doctor’s offices around the globe. 

Carolyn Cassin, Terese Hunwick and Nancy Philippart, general partners and co-founders of BELLE Michigan, lead a group of 29 limited partners (28 of which are women), with a goal of providing superior return, while serving the early stage capital needs of women-led companies. The companies in BELLE’s portfolio have access to not only capital but also to a network of entrepreneurs, professionals and corporate executives to support their growth and success. "We are delighted that we have joined Michigan-based capital for a Texas based woman-led business," said Terese Hunwick who led the deal.

 “This is a good news story for everyone involved, with BELLE LPs making a sizeable return on their investment, while retaining a financial interest in any future sale of the company within six year.” said Carolyn Cassin, BELLE’s General Partner.  “Magaw’s impressive and innovative founders will remain in their leadership capacity, with the new financier supplying the financial resources necessary to position the video laryngoscope on the top of state of the art medical devices in vertical. Moving manufacturing to Michigan is an important consideration for the BELLE investors.  Simply everyone wins by this transaction.”

Tucker J. Marion is an associate professor at Northeastern University.

Jon Eslinger