$6.8M Michigan Fund to Back Innovative High-Tech Startups


The Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0, a new statewide investment fund, has designated $6.8 million to support high-tech, early-stage companies as they near commercial viability, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced today.

“Michigan is a leader in making capital resources available to high-tech start-up companies,” says Charlie Moret, president and CEO of the Invest Michigan, which will manage the fund. “We look forward to being a financing partner to entrepreneurs developing technology in a wide array of areas.”

Financing for the fund — $5.8 million to support high-tech start-up companies and $1 million to help universities transfer technology to the marketplace through the University Commercialization Fund — was provided through the MEDC-managed Michigan Strategic Fund. Officials say the organization will leverage at least $8 in private investment for every Michigan Strategic Fund dollar invested.

“These pre-seed funds are intended to help innovative companies take those last steps to become commercially viable and more attractive to private investors,” says Paula Sorrell, MEDC vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation, who will participate on the Invest Michigan board as an observer. “With the wealth of entrepreneurial talent we have in Michigan, we want to make sure good ideas turn into businesses that help expand and strengthen the state economy.”

Companies are eligible to apply for the pre-seed funds if they are developing technologies in the areas of advanced automotive, manufacturing and materials, agricultural technology, alternative energy, homeland security and defense, information technology, life sciences, and other innovative technologies.

In addition to Moret, Invest Michigan board members include:

  • Mark J. Bennett, founder and president of MJBennett PLLC who has started five companies;
  • Martin Dober, vice president for business acceleration at Invest Detroit and former MEDC senior vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation;
  • Marianne Fey, an entrepreneurial advertising executive and a member of Michigan Angel Investors; and
  • David Gregorka, venture partner at Baird Capital in Ann Arbor and adviser to seven research universities in Michigan working to expand their Tech Transfer Talent Networks.

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