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.
It was a packed house at Zingerman’s Roadhouse this week for a panel on the best options for financing your company. It’s always worth it to get up for a 7 am breakfast here, because you are guaranteed to meet amazing new friends in the Ann Arbor business world, and because if you stay the full 2 hours your clothes will smell like the Zingerman’s barbecue smoker all day. The panel at this Leaders Connect breakfast hosted by executive coach, psychologist, and University of Michigan professor Dr. Rob Pasick included President of the Technology Industry Group at Bank of Ann Arbor Michael Cole, Managing Partner and Co-Owner of BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting Kris Bergman, VC Evan Ufer of Plymouth Growth Partners, serial entrepreneur Mike Klein who is currently CEO of genomics startup Genomenon, and Skip Simms who is Senior VP of Ann Arbor SPARK and managing partner of the Michigan Angel Fund.