The Michigan Venture Capital Association has just announced a partnership with Fontinalis Partners to create a $104 million Fund 3 to invest in the next wave of mobility startups in the state of Michigan. This comes on the heels of multiple other news funds raised by venture capital firms around Michigan to continue the historic steep growth in investment in new tech companies around Michigan and the Midwest, which are now being hailed as some of the best cities in the nation for new startup growth and incubation.
The 2021 MVCA Research Report has just been released, with more details available than our recent interview with Executive Director Ara Topouzian. The 2021 MVCA Research Report shows that 88 Michigan startups received more than $257 million in venture capital investment in 2020. The report estimates that an additional $1.2 billion of venture capital will be required to adequately fund the growth of Michigan’s 165 startup companies in the next two years.
Michigan is emerging like every other state from the haze of the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies and individuals chart a course forward, Cronicle wanted to check on the base of the tech startup pipeline: funding. Patti Glaza and Ara Topouzian have front-row seats to VC funding in Detroit, and in Michigan overall, and were gracious enough to spend an hour talking with us about what they’re seeing in the tech startup space after 2020. We hope that whether you are tech talent, a VC investigating Michigan’s startup space, or a startup founder looking for funding, our conversations with the folks in the venture capital scene help you connect with resources that help you also chart a course forward as the pandemic winds down.
Michigan’s economy has had a “K shaped recovery” as the COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate effect on restaurant, retail, and Main Street businesses that still have not recovered. What many people have been wondering is how businesses are faring who were able to function remotely or support businesses in that endeavor. Has Michigan hit yet another “once in a lifetime” financial crisis? The answer is a bit complicated, but there is a lot of good news for businesses like tech and life science companies that could pivot to remote work structures. We reached out to a few VC and angel investors in the Ann Arbor-Detroit startup space to get their perspective on what’s happening at the very base of the startup pipeline: funding. As everyone in the startup space knows, Michigan has always dragged a bit behind on having enough funding for the great startups that come out of this region, so we were concerned that if the funding dropped, the ecosystem might lag. Fortunately, we found the behind the scenes reality is quite the opposite, and many investors were happy to share their tips on how businesses can get in the loop on what’s going on in Michigan startup funding in 2021.
Today, the Michigan Venture Capital Association released its annual research report on the state of venture capital in Michigan. As with other recently published reports on the state of business investment, the MVCA Research Report show record-breaking investment in the recovering state’s new business ecosystem, followed by challenges brought by COVID-19.
Emily Heintz has been featured in Forbes Magazine, Axios, and VentureBeat. She was also named to Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 List. Heintz is the founder and managing director of EntryPoint, a research firm that specializes in conducting research and compiling reports on the state of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Michigan. Heintz founded EntryPoint several years ago, but previously worked to support the growth of the Michigan entrepreneurial community through the Michigan Venture Capital Association, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Ann Arbor SPARK. Why all this news coverage of her work? Heintz founded EntryPoint just as Michigan’s economy was undergoing major shifts toward more of an entrepreneurial economy.
MVCA’s Executive Director Ara Topouzian Balances Economic Development with Award-Winning “Side Hobby” in Armenian Music
We met him at the TechCity Jam early this fall. The local jam session for tech workers who have music careers or hobbies on the side included everything from pop songs to electronica to incredible traditional Armenian music. We wanted to know who was playing in this award-winning band that came seemingly out of nowhere to the stage and played a brilliant set that would be inadequate to just call foot-tapping. Ara Topouzian, pictured right above, plays the qanun (kanoon), an Armenian 80-string harp that goes back to the 5th century and is still played today. The music sounds traditional, and yet it’s still extremely catchy.