Michigan Venture Capital Association Launches 2018 Fellows Program

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Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), a nonprofit trade organization in Ann Arbor that seeks to boost the capital and talent available to grow the state’s entrepreneurial and investment community, today announced the launch of its 2018 Venture Fellows Program with support from Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC).

Launched in 2011, MVCA says the program has increased the number of venture professionals in Michigan as well as accelerated the fundraising and deployment of capital in the state. As part of the new 2018 Venture Fellows Program, MVCA will build on initiatives to assist venture capital firms in fostering a more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.

  • According to the most recent MVCA Annual Research Report, in 2016:
  • Michigan venture capitalists invested $222 million in 54 Michigan startup companies. Of that, $16.9 million was invested in four Michigan startup companies led by a CEO belonging to one or more underrepresented groups.
  • 14 percent of venture capital professionals in Michigan were female.
  • 7 percent of venture capital professionals were racial minorities.

“While Michigan meets or exceeds the national average of diversity within the entrepreneurial and investment community, the state has the opportunity to set a benchmark for the industry that more clearly reflects representative populations,” says Emily Heintz, associate director of the MVCA.

“An ongoing focus on building an inclusive community is essential to ensuring Michigan attracts and retains the best talent. Our goal is to set the standard for venture capital associations across the country and create a model that will foster a more diverse and inclusive culture across the entire venture capital industry.”

The Venture Fellows Program aims to attract and retain investment professionals in Michigan by matching emerging talent with local venture capital firms. To date, MVCA, in partnership with MEDC, has awarded more than $1 million to 19 venture capital professionals to build their careers in Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community. Venture Fellows are hired by Michigan-based venture firms to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies.

The 2018 Venture Fellows Program will require candidates to have a track record of actively contributing to building a diverse and inclusive community, a commitment to diversity initiatives, and will incorporate training on diversity and inclusion as part of the “MVCAcademy” (a required one-day training for Venture Fellows). In addition, venture firms that participate in the program will be required to submit a statement regarding their firm’s commitment to building an inclusive entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.

MVCA membership includes private and corporate venture capital funds, angel investors, universities and economic development organizations, and service providers. More than 400 individuals are members of MVCA, representing over 100 organizations across the nation.

For more information, visit www.MichiganVCA.org.

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