Finance-savvy Wayne State Alumnus Help Start-ups Avoid Early Demise


Paul A. Glantz, founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment Inc. and CEO of Proctor Financial Inc., this month will speak at Wayne State University about ways start-up businesses can attract investors and protect their financial investments.

Glantz will present “Valley of Death: Surviving the Financial Rut” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium at Wayne Law, 471 W. Palmer St. The free workshop is open to the public. Parking is available for $6.50 in the structure across West Palmer Street from the law school.

The event is sponsored by Wayne State’s Blackstone LaunchPad business laboratory, Wayne Law’s Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law, WSU Front Door and Wayne State student venture M-Squared Financial.

“The reference to ‘Valley of Death’ in the title of Glantz’s keynote talk refers to the vulnerable stage of a new business venture that occurs after the owners have made their initial financial investment but before they have generated enough sales to get out of the red,” said Aubrey Agee, a senior program administrator with Blackstone LaunchPad. “Entrepreneurs who lose their focus and momentum during this stage risk devastating consequences, including significant financial losses, harm to their reputation among investors and a blow to their confidence from which many don’t recover. This workshop will give invaluable tips on how to avoid this fate.”

Glantz, a 1980 graduate of Wayne State’s School of Business Administration, was honored by the university as a distinguished alumnus in 2006. He raised $45 million in capital to start the Emagine theater chain, which was the first in the nation to convert all of its screens to high-definition digital. An active community volunteer, he is a member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Business Administration, as well as a member of the WSU Foundation Board of Directors and chairman of its investment committee.

A venture coach for Blackstone LaunchPad’s student entrepreneurs, Glantz in his keynote speech will focus on how startup entrepreneurs can find life-sustaining investors after launching. Also speaking at the workshop will be student entrepreneurs, who will share “leap of faith” stories of investing in their businesses and developing sales strategies to make it out of the “valley of death.”

The event begins with registration and light refreshments at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. by short introductions by Detroit entrepreneurs Agee of Blackstone LaunchPad, Nilesh Joshi of Joshi Biochemical, Dom Holmes of Pay-It-Forward, Kelly Guillory of Ashur Collective, and Max Ermakov and JJ Clenik of M-Squared Financial. The keynote talk will begin at 6:15 p.m., and hors d’oeuvres and networking can be enjoyed from 7:15 to 8 p.m.

Funded out of New York City by The Blackstone Group’s Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Blackstone LaunchPad assists WSU student entrepreneurs with business plan development, networking and venture funding. The Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law coordinates Wayne Law’s business law courses, clinics, internships and community engagement activities. The Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law offers early-stage legal assistance to local startups and creates forums for entrepreneurs to receive general legal guidance, access community resources and share their own business experience. The Front Door is Wayne State’s business engagement office, connecting companies of all sizes to university resources. The Front Door was established in 2009 to address industry needs for access to university resources, from recruitment services to world-class researchers and state-of-the-art technologies. M-Squared Financial is a venture that facilitates the efforts of young companies by assisting with their financials.

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