Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Michigan Leads Venture Capital Growth in Great Lakes Region
An article on the business investment website Crunchbase.com identifies Michigan as the fastest growing state for venture capital investment, with an increase in venture dollars from $300 million in 2016 to $3.1 billion last year.
Crunchbase credits major investments including StockX’s $110 million Series C round in 2019 and $275 million Series E last year at a $2.8 billion valuation, along with Cisco buying Ann Arbor-based Duo Security for $2.35 billion in 2018 for helping to attract new out-of-state money to Michigan in recent years.
But Michigan’s venture capital ecosystem is not entirely dependent on out-of-state backers. The Michigan Venture Capital Association 2021 Annual Research Report notes that Michigan venture investors helped back nearly every Michigan venture-funded startup, demonstrating the health of the state’s entrepreneurial economy. That report also found venture capital funds under management of firms headquartered in Michigan in 2020 was $2.8 billion, an increase of 28 percent over the last five years.
“We are seeing incredible deal flow and have for more than two years,” says Martin Dober, senior vice president at Invest Detroit and managing director of its venture capital arm, ID Ventures. “We did about three times the amount of investments in 2020 than we did in 2019, and that was in the midst of a pandemic.”
The ongoing and growing support from in-state venture capital firms continues to signal Michigan’s competitiveness and growth on a national stage, with the MVCA report finding that every dollar invested in a Michigan startup by a Michigan venture capital firm attracts $9.70 of investment from outside of Michigan.
Early stage funding also continues to remain critical to the success of startup companies and entrepreneurs. Through a number of strategic partnerships, Michigan is able to help startups achieve the early-stage funding needed to succeed in getting to the point where venture capital and angel investors begin to step in. From the MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative’s Pre-Seed III Fund – administered by Michigan State University Foundation through Michigan Rise – to grants through the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, startups and entrepreneurs have a variety of options for accessing the capital they need early on to spur success and growth in Michigan.
Also helping this ecosystem continue to thrive: a quality of life with affordable cost of living that continues to position Michigan as a top place for talent. The most recent example of this is CBS News ranking Ann Arbor the #6 best place to live in the U.S.
“Entrepreneurism will be the ‘shot in the arm’ Michigan’s economy needs to recover post-pandemic and with the state of Michigan supporting early-stage funding in the startup ecosystem we can ensure that ideas with potential can ultimately evolve into companies that create jobs, pay taxes, and grow our economy,” says Fred Molnar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Bankruptcy Court Approves Sale of Henry Ford Village to Sage Healthcare Affiliate
The United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Michigan has approved the sale of Henry Ford Village in Dearborn to an affiliate of Sage Healthcare Partners for $76.3 million, subject to entry of final agreed orders.
The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, and HFV anticipates the sale will be completed in approximately 90 to 120 days.
The path forward for the community centers around its inclusion in Sage’s network of senior living communities, and includes plans to increase programmatic activities for residents and employees while investing to improve HFV’s campus more broadly. Sage also has pledged to uphold HFV’s current commitments to maintain the health, safety, and lifestyle of its residents.
“We’re starting a new chapter in the Henry Ford Village story, and we’re pleased to do so having achieved a stronger financial foundation and maintained the best interests for the full HFV community,” says Bruce Blalock, executive director of Henry Ford Village. “Sage is already showing commitment and engagement with the people who make HFV so special, and we’re confident that it will uphold HFV’s values. Now, we look forward to emergence and seeing the long-term positive impact that Sage has on our community.”
Penske Automotive Group Announces $500M Senior Subordinated Notes Offering
Penske Automotive Group Inc. in Bloomfield Hills today announced that it intends to offer $500 million aggregate principal amount of fixed rate Senior Subordinated Notes due 2029, subject to market and other customary closing conditions, pursuant to an effective shelf registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company says it intends to use the net proceeds of this offering to redeem its $500 million 5.5 percent Senior Subordinated Notes due 2026. In the interim, we intend to repay amounts outstanding under our U.S. credit agreement, to repay various floor plan debt, and for general corporate purposes.
This offering is being made solely by means of a prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus, which has been filed with the SEC. A copy of the prospectus for the offering may be obtained on the SEC’s website.
PelicanCorp and MISS DIG System Inc. Partner to Strengthen Notification Services
PelicanCorp in California today announced that it is partnering with MISS DIG System Inc., the notification center for underground utility safety in Michigan, to expand WorksAccess by installing PelicanCorp’s Notification Center solution, OneCallAccess.
The OneCallAccess software solution will enhance Notification Center operations across Michigan, providing a fully managed solution for e-ticket and call center operations to protect underground assets and infrastructure.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with PelicanCorp,” says Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG System. “Our MISS DIG 811 process currently receives requests from the excavating community and transmits the information to our 1,700 members, who then come out and locate their facilities. Adding the OneCallAccess solution will significantly boost our capabilities and services here in Michigan.”
Hosted by PelicanCorp in a high-availability cloud environment, OneCallAccess manages all notification tickets from any location, at any time, by leveraging advanced web and mobile-based technologies. OneCallAccess is built using a unique mapping platform enabling the most accurate ticket capture on the market.
Beer and Wine Group Applauds State’s Boost to Distilling Industry
The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesales Association in Lansing applauds the signing of two bills into law to help Michigan’s distilling industry.
Senate Bills 141-144 will provide a boost to Michigan’s craft distillers, retailers, and beer and wine distributors by reducing red tape and creating a viable market for ready-to-drink cocktails.
“Ready-to-drink cocktails are one of the fastest growing segments in the spirits industry, but in Michigan they fall under several different categories and are taxed differently — creating confusion for distillers, retailers, and distributors,” says Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA. “These bills will streamline how ready-to-drink cocktails are taxed and classified, which will provide a boost to Michigan’s flourishing craft distilling industry.”
The law will also create a strong regulatory framework for retailers who have a physical presence in Michigan to ship beer, wine, and spirits directly to consumers. Currently, only wine can be shipped to Michiganders from in-state retailers. The laws also will allow small craft distillers to self-distribute their spirits, just like small brewers and winemakers.
Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Fundraiser Slated for July 8
The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy announced for its second #BeingApartTogether on Thursday, July 8.
In 2020, the conservancy launched #BeingApartTogether to help raise funds to support the maintenance and operations of the riverfront during the pandemic. More than 4,000 people tuned-in to watch the musical performances, which raised more than $175,000 to support the conservancy.
Presented by Citizens, this year’s #BeingApartTogether is a continued celebration of the role Detroit Riverfront parks play in the community.
Supporters of #BeingApartTogether can purchase family friendly packages curated in partnership with Detroit’s City Bird. The packages are filled with limited-edition riverfront items, locally sourced gifts, and activities for outdoor fun that can be enjoyed from the comfort of their own backyard or during a visit to the riverfront.
There are three packages available for purchase. Packages can be purchased here.
The Family Fun Package for $250 includes a #1 Riverwalk baseball cap and canvas bag, a balsa glider, Detroit Riverfront Populace Coffee, a hologram sticker, mini craft cocktail syrup, sonography cards, fishing kit, sidewalk chalk, an activity zine and a mystery grab bag.
The Riverfront Essentials Package is $100 and includes the #1 Riverwalk baseball cap, a balsa glider, Detroit Riverfront Populace Coffee, a hologram sticker and an activity zine.
The Buy-A-Package, Give-A-Package program for $400 not only provides an individual supporter with a Family Fun Package, but allows a family from one of the Conservancy’s charity partners to receive a box of summer fun as well. Partners include the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, The Children’s Center, JazzyKat/Urban Fit Kids, Starfish Family Services and Healthy Kids Summer Jam Day Camp.
This year’s #BeingApartTogether will also offer the community a joyful evening of genre-spanning music in an engaging Battle of the Bands format featuring four local bands competing for a chance to win a cash prize and a headlining spot on the main stage at a future River Days event.
The performances will be premiered on the Conservancy’s Facebook page. Voting begins immediately following the final performance and continues until July 15. The winning performer will be announced on July 19.
The bands scheduled to perform include:
- New World Soul
- New Music Detroit
- The Aston Neighborhood Pleasure Club
Corporate sponsorships for the event are available here.
DIA Extends Car Design Exhibit Until Jan 9, 2022
The Detroit Institute of Arts has extended its exhibition “Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950–2020,” until Jan. 9, 2022.
This extension allows for additional visitors to experience the popular show as capacity restrictions begin to loosen and the vaccinated population increases. The exhibition is free with museum admission, which is free for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.
The exhibition highlights the artistry and influence of Detroit car designers working between 1950 and the present day. It brings together 12 coupes and sedans designed across that 70-year period to highlight significant achievements in style and technology, including unique examples of experimental show cars created for display and iconic production models sold to the mass market.
Design drawings allow visitors to imagine the creative and innovative processes that bring a vehicle from the drawing board to the street. A selection of paintings and sculptures highlight the conversation between the American art world and car culture.
Bay Harbor Golf Club to Debut New Scenic Cart Experience this Summer
Bay Harbor Golf Club west of Petoskey is offering nongolfers 12 chances to drive golf carts around the scenic course to take in the views.
The new Cliffview Cart Cruise takes event goers on a route navigating The Links and The Quarry courses with six stops along the way to soak in views and capture photos, including those showcasing the Lake Michigan shoreline. The experience is guided with participants driving their own carts in a caravan to each stop, where historical insights and course knowledge are also shared. offered on 12 dates this summer.
The cruise is available on July 1, 2, 21, and 22; Aug. 12, 13, 25, and 26; and Sept. 1, 2, 9, and 10. For dates through Aug. 13, check-in begins at 7:30 p.m. with the tour starting at 8 p.m. Starting Aug. 24, check-in is at 6:30 p.m., with the tour beginning at 7 p.m. The on-course experience lasts approximately one hour.
Cost is $49 per person, and includes a beverage of choice that can be enjoyed during the Cruise, or post-tour at The Links Grille featuring a patio that overlooks Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay.
A limited number of tickets are available per date. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit here.
Comedienne Cory Kahaney Headlines Fundraiser for National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan
Standup comedienne Cory Kahaney will headline the National Council of Jewish Women’s Michigan’s Spring Fundraiser, “Raising Laughter,” on June 6 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.
The Zoom comedy night also will feature long-time local comedian Alan “Big Al” Muskovitz.
Tickets for the virtual event are $36 (per household) and $75 (patron level), with proceeds benefiting the projects and programs of National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan (NCJW|MI), a 130-year-old grassroots volunteer and social justice organization.
“We decided to offer a comedy show this year because all of us could do with a good laugh after such a challenging year,” says Sandi Matz, past president of NCJW|MI and chair of the event. “Cory Kahaney is an exceptional comedienne whose experiences as a wife, ex-wife and mother, are both relatable and uplifting.”
Funds generated from “Raising Laughter” will be used to support the many projects NCJW|MI carries out to improve the lives of women, children, and families in need in our community. These include the Back 2 School Store, Backpack Project for homeless children, blankets for foster children, Literacy Outreach, Voter Advocacy Programs and Kosher Meals on Wheels. For more information, visit here.
Annual National Guard Association Golf Outing Tees Up June 24
The annual National Guard Association golf outing will be played on June 24 at Fox Run Golf Course in Grayling.
The four-person scramble, which begins with a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start, will crown winners in two categories. The legends category is comprised of teams with a combined age over 200 years. Leaders teams have combined ages less than 200 years.
Click here to register.