March 20, 2014 @ 11:43 pm
Charlie Moret has been in the world of startup financing for a long time, but it’s been quite a while since he’s been as excited as he is to take the helm of the soon-to-be-launched Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0. Invest Michigan will be the Fund manager and, is set to take advantage of Michigan’s unique entrepreneurial ecosystem, and show that sustainability is the path forward to the state’s vibrant future.
“Michigan is incredibly active in terms of entrepreneurship,” explained Moret of taking the head job at Invest Michigan. “Doing this in Michigan is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to being a partner with the state’s investor groups.. Working with entrepreneurs and assisting them is a chance to be part of Michigan’s future.”
Moret, who was previously with TechTown Detroit, is working now on getting Invest Michigan ready for business. The fund plans to officially launch on May 31.
With Invest Michigan, Moret hopes to take the lessons learned running TechTown’s entrepreneurial programs and a similar venture fund in Connecticut, and blend Ann Arbor SPARK’s experience with the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund to create a sustainable fund over time.
“The Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0 needs to become a revolving capital fund,” Moret explained. “It’s important that we create a sustainable fund so that we can continue to be a viable source of capital for start-ups.”
As with the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, Invest Michigan will target startups in AgTech, advanced manufacturing, homeland defense, alternative energy, IT and life sciences.
The Fund, as its predecessor did, will also engage with all of Michigan’s 15 SmartZones. “The SmartZones are important partners as well as the state’s investment funds and the SBDC,” Moret explained. “Bottom line: We want to make sure companies get support that reduces time to market, and that usually comes best from the combination of SmartZones, co-investors and the SBDC working together.”
Invest Michigan will have monthly conference calls with the SmartZones and will hold monthly office hours so clients can engage with the Fund before applying for financing.
“Two things that attracted me to Michigan was the strong supportive ecosystem that exists and the momentum,” he added. “Everyone talks about California or Boston or Colorado, but the reality is that Michigan offers startups stronger support. A key advantage to being in Michigan is that an entrepreneur can access more resources and faster than in other states.”
Looking forward, Moret sees as a tipping point in Michigan’s technology based economy.
“The work that has occurred here over years, and the number of investment funds that are now operating here – well we’ve hit the tipping point,” he said. “Michigan has momentum and all the right tools. It’s a great time to be here, and a great opportunity to be part of something bigger.”
For information on funding opportunities available through Invest Michigan, stay tuned and visit www.investmichigan.org at the end of May.