Renaissance Venture Capital based in Ann Arbor announced it will initiate the first UnDemo Day — which the firm hosts biannually — designed specifically to attract national venture capital to companies in the Midwest and Central U.S. led women, people of color, and other diverse communities.
The virtual event will take place on April 27 with 50 companies and hundreds of venture capital firms.
“Our history at Renaissance has been one of successfully attracting the best venture capital funds from around the country to invest in regional startups,” says Chris Rizik, founder and CEO of Renaissance Venture Capital.
“And our goal for April 27 is to bring in that powerful investor network to focus on approximately 50 of the most promising companies in the region led by diverse founders. These are largely meetings that these founders would otherwise have trouble getting, and likewise, these are startup companies that the VCs might not otherwise find.”
According to Renaissance, startups led by women, Black, and Latino founders collectively receive less than 10 percent of all venture capital investments, and trends do not show much of a change over the last decade. In many cases, access to investors is the limiting factor, which is what UnDemo Day seeks to alleviate.
In a similar format to prior UnDemo Days, the event will include larger group “pitch rooms” as well as hundreds of curated one-on-one meetings between startups and VCs. Last year, 15 Michigan startups received funding because of introductions made at the event.
Renaissance and its partner, Invest Detroit Ventures, will conduct coaching sessions prior to the event to help the participating startups prepare their pitches. Participants will also have access to UnDemo Day consultation on accounting, legal, and human resources planning from event partners Ernst and Young, Foley and Lardner, and Amy Cell Talent.