DETROIT — The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, Michigan’s innovative venture capital fund-of-funds, announced that its initial investment of $16.7 million has led to a total venture capital investment of nearly $300 million in 20 new Michigan companies and the creation of hundreds of high-wage jobs, helping to make Michigan the fastest growing state in the nation for venture capital. Since RVCF’s formation in 2008, venture capital has grown nationally 3 percent while venture capital investment in new Michigan companies has grown 69 percent.
Smart investing and creating connectivity are the keys to the success of the RVCF, said CEO Chris Rizik, “We provide capital that increases entrepreneurial activity and we connect young innovative start-ups with Michigan’s established companies, to the benefit and financial success of both parties. We have a proven model for expanding innovation, growing jobs and earn solid returns for our investors.” RVCF invests in the venture capital funds around the United Staes and then engages those funds with Michigan’s strong technology and entrepreneurial base, with the goal of increasing profitable investment in Michigan and creating new opportunities for Michiganders.
The RVCF was originally established by Business Leaders for Michigan in order to bring together the state’s venture capital, business, industrial, and entrepreneurial communities in a way that will help the state grow and diversify. The formation of the RVCF was in response to a review of Michigan’s economic competitiveness relative to that of Top 10 states. Top 10 states tend to have significant capital available to support economic growth through investments in innovation and entrepreneurism. Today, the RVCF is recognized as one of the nation’s most promising investment funds. Fully mature, the RVCF is projected to attract over $1 billion in venture capital investment in the state and over 25,000 Michigan jobs.
“Interest in the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund has exceeded all expectations,” says Sam Valenti, Chairman of the RVCF. “By creating both strong financial returns and significant positive impact on the economy, RVCF has become a national model for investing.” In 2012, the RVCF became the template for Proctor & Gamble and other Ohio business leaders who formed the Cintrifuse fund of funds.
RVCF more than doubled in size in 2012, growing to $110 million through partnerships with corporate investors such as DTE Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meijer, Inc., Ford Motor Company, AAA-Michigan, CMS Energy, Huntington Bank, R.L. Polk & Company, La-Z-Boy, Wolverine Worldwide, and Atain Insurance; foundations such as the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the McGregor Fund; and Wayne State University. RVCF is the largest privately funded entity of its kind in the United States.
To date, the RVCF has surpassed all of its targets for leveraging investment dollars and its strong investor base to increase the amount of venture capital activity in Michigan. Through 2012, the RVCF has invested $16.7 million in 11 venture capital funds. Those funds have, in turn, attracted nearly $300 million of new venture capital into 20 Michigan companies, a ratio of $17 venture capital investment coming into Michigan for every dollar invested by the RVCF. Rizik remarked, “Our investments are not only profitable, but have already created hundreds of excellent Michigan jobs with average pay of approximately $80,000. All while at the same time providing strong financial returns, proving to the world that Michigan is an attractive state in which to invest and to start a business.”