Jeff Helminski of Auxo Investment Partners was sitting in his downtown Grand Rapids office in May 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, when his phone rang with a cold call from a prospective investment partner. Little did Helminski know when he answered the call that the conversation he was about to have would ultimately lead to a transformative moment for the private equity firm Auxo.

The $100 million private equity fund created to invest in Michigan-based companies has completed its fundraising and now turns its attention to deploying the capital over the next few years. The Grand Rapids-based Auxo Michigan Opportunity Fund I LLC, launched in February 2021 with the backing of Doug and Maria DeVos’ family office, netted the $100 million from 76 investors, according to a federal regulatory filing. “The Michigan Opportunity Fund is all about helping Michigan-based businesses thrive and grow,” Doug DeVos, co-chairman of Ada-based Amway Corp., said in a statement to MiBiz. “We have a great group of Michigan-based investors who care deeply about the state and desire to see Michigan businesses prosper. We believe this fund is a unique opportunity for various Michigan-based industries, some seeking to grow and others looking to transition ownership.”

When Business Journal reporters and editors met to discuss nominees for the 2018 Newsmaker of the Year honors, nearly 200 choices were considered before settling on the top three nominees...In short, we are honoring the people who generated the most important news stories during 2018.


  • Jeff Helminski and Jack Kolodny, Auxo Investment Partners
  • Kelly Potes, ChoiceOne Bank
  • Tom Welch, Fifth Third Bank

Grand Rapids Business Journal will recognize those people and projects that made news in 2022 at its annual Newsmakers of the Year breakfast from 7:30-9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

Jeff Helminski, co-founder and managing partner of Auxo Investment Partners in Grand Rapids, successfully leveraged his atypical experience and path in multiple deals last year. Helminski has a diverse professional background, including experience in manufacturing engineering, high-volume assembly operations management and real estate development. His firm, Auxo, now specializes in investing in and growing founder- and family-owned industrial, manufacturing and business services companies.

Closing fundraising for a $50 million private equity fund gives Auxo Investment Partners a year-long breather before preparing to raise capital for a second fund. Presuming Grand Rapids-based Auxo Investment Partners maintains its present pace of investments, Managing Partner Jeff Helminski expects the firm to return to fundraising mode as soon as a year from now.