Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III Makes 50th Startup Investment

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Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III has made its 50th startup investment since being founded in August 2020. // Stock Photo
Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III has made its 50th startup investment since being founded in August 2020. // Stock Photo

Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III, a subsidiary of the Michigan State University Foundation in East Lansing, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), has made its 50th startup investment since being founded in August 2020.

To date, the fund has invested $5.8 million across 50 investments in 38 startups across the Great Lakes State, including 12 follow on investments in 11 portfolio companies.

“It’s been incredibly satisfying for our team to work with Michigan’s innovative startup community and to complete our 50th investment in under two years,” says Jeff Wesley, executive director of Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III. “This is not only a great accomplishment for Michigan Rise and the MSU Foundation, but more importantly it’s a demonstration of the continued growth of our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III invests in Michigan technology startups to help commercialize innovative technologies, and supports entrepreneurs across Michigan through capital support, coaching, assistance with funding strategies, and more. With an average investment of around $120,000 to date and a cap of $250,000 per company, Michigan Rise touches a variety of industries core to Michigan’s economy, such as life sciences, agriculture tech, energy, mobility, and more.

Michigan Rise’s first investment was in pharma-focused startup Genomenon, an analytic and data visualization tool that mines millions of medical publications to deliver a list of disease-gene-variant relationships curated from primary medical literature. The investment round served as a springboard for Genomenon’s core Mastermind technology and Michigan Rise’s entrance into the healthcare tech industry.

The 50th investment was in an HR-focused company called Wedge, which helps hiring teams better connect with the right talent and fast-track them through video resumes. Founded in 2015, Wedge gives employers the ability to attract, pitch, and fast-track the most passionate applicants. They empower hiring teams to achieve better job posting results, meet the right applicants faster and fight bias’, all while hiring simpler, faster, and more cost-effective.

“At the Michigan Economic Development Corp., we prioritize economic growth and development by partnering with organizations like the MSU Foundation and Michigan Rise,” says Fred Molnar, senior vice president of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the MEDC. “Michigan Rise’s work with emerging technology companies is bolstering the state’s economic reputation and increasing entrepreneurial opportunities across all industries. We congratulate Michigan Rise on this remarkable milestone as they continue to foster growth in vibrant communities across the state.”

In 2021, the State of Michigan saw a 682 percent rise in early-stage funding in the last two quarters. Not only is that number expected to grow in 2022, but the communities where startups convene are thriving. Wherever startups and established businesses grow, Michigan’s economic development continues to expand and swing upwards.

“We launched our fund at the peak of the COVID pandemic when there was a sudden crunch in capital, even for companies that had hitherto been trending well,” says Prem Bodagala, director at Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III. “It has been a privilege investing in and working with brilliant Michigan entrepreneurs who have not only withstood the challenges presented by COVID but have thrived in that time. It has also been gratifying to see founders who are alumni of Michigan home runs, such as Duo and StockX, launch their own startups and we are excited to support them in their new innings.”

To learn more about Michigan Rise, visit here.

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