Detroit’s Invest Detroit Ventures has enough philanthropic support to begin its effort to turn its First Capital Fund into a sustainable evergreen fund that will support early stage Michigan startups.
The Detroit-based Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation gave $3 million, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. gave $2.5 million, and the fund has $11 million in assets funded to date. Invest Detroit Ventures is kicking off a fundraising effort to pool enough philanthropic support to create a sustainable source of early capital for Michigan’s diverse, underrepresented entrepreneurs and technology startups.
“This initial support from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and the MEDC is truly exciting and exemplifies the dedication of the state and local funding community to supporting Michigan growth and innovation,” says David Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of Invest Detroit. “As an organization committed to economic health and job creation in the region, we are grateful to our partners for supporting our efforts to bring critical resources to local entrepreneurs and career opportunities for residents.”
Invest Detroit Ventures has been doing seed investing since 2010 and the First Capital Fund launched in 2017 with $3.3 million in funding from the MEDC, the New Economy Initiative, and Invest Detroit.
“It has since been overwhelmed with requests for funding, receiving over 300 applications since inception — a trend we anticipate will continue in the coming years,” says Patti Glaza, senior vice president and managing director at Invest Detroit Ventures. “With demand rising and availability of local seed capital extremely limited, we recognize a need to build greater funding capacity and to fill this critical funding gap today and into future decades.”
The fund will focus on startups with high growth potential and that will create local job opportunities.
The Michigan Venture Capital Association reported that only 7 percent of Michigan venture capital is currently invested at the seed stage. This creates a gap in funding for pre-seed and early-seed companies. Invest Detroit Ventures is hoping to fill that gap.
Invest Detroit Ventures works to provide inclusive access to resources for Michigan entrepreneurs.
Invest Detroit is a nonprofit lender, investor, and partner.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness, and community development.
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated to supporting people in southeast Michigan and western New York.