March 21, 2014 @ 12:24 am

Beringea Invests $3 Million in Detroit Institute of Music Education

New venture will attract young people, bring jobs to downtown Detroit

 

Beringea, LLC, a private equity firm providing growth capital to market-leading businesses, has announced its fund made a $3 million investment in Detroit Institute of Music Education, Inc. (“DIME”), a music education college dedicated to teaching the next generation of modern musicians. The investment will be used to launch the company’s first U.S. music college, in Detroit.

 

“We’re excited to bring this innovative high profile, high impact business to Detroit and provide growth capital for its launch. DIME’s education model will attract creative young people from all over the country to Michigan, while creating more jobs in the education sector,” said Charlie Rothstein, senior managing director and co-founder of Beringea.

 

Founded by music industry veterans Kevin Nixon, Sarah Clayman and Bruce Dickinson, DIME offers advanced music students a college-style experience in contemporary music, with expert musicians and industry professionals teaching courses in guitar, bass, vocals, drums, songwriting and music entrepreneurship. Prospective students can pursue a bachelor’s degree or diploma in Creative Music Performance, or sign up for part-time and summer music education programs. DIME expects to enroll 150 students for its 2014-2015 school year.

 

“The music industry is a complicated business and learning by experience can be a long route. DIME brings the information, encouragement and expertise to demonstrate how to build a successful career,” says Kevin Nixon, president of DIME. “Musicians will be playing in bands, meeting industry professionals, mastering technique, promoting their own shows, developing their brand, arranging songs, and many other exciting career development activities. Most of all, DIME students will be part of a musical community of like-minded musicians and budding entrepreneurs.”

 

DIME is the third music education venture for serial entrepreneurs Nixon, Clayman and Dickinson. The trio’s most recent model grew to a multi-campus college with locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. DIME’s educational programs are built on the successful model pioneered by the founders.

 

DIME’s temporary location at 1520 Woodward Avenue, between John R and Witherell will serve as its admissions office and performance space. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the space and meet the DIME team and sign up anytime Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

 

The space will also be equipped with a live stage and sound system, and will feature regular entertainment events. Bands and artists interested in performing in this space can contact the admissions office at 313-223-1600 or www.dime-detroit.com.

 

DIME will formally open in September, when renovations are complete on the historic Bamlet Building, located at 1265 Griswold Street and owned by Bedrock Real Estate Services.  The school will occupy more than 20,000 square feet of space on four floors of the seven-story, building in Capitol Park at the corner of Griswold Street and Grand River Avenue built in 1896.

 

“Detroit has always been known for its music and innovative culture,” said Dan Gilbert, Chairman and Founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans. “It is fitting for the Detroit Institute of Music Education to open in the heart of downtown Detroit where the opportunities to create are endless. I can think of nothing more important than locating institutions that attract young talented people to the city. DIME is a unique entrepreneurial organization that has a proven strategy to develop top-notch musicians. The combination of Detroit’s DNA and DIME’s exciting educational model is going to be a huge success for the entire community.”

# # #

 

About Beringea
Beringea, LLC provides equity and/or mezzanine debt to small- and-middle market companies. The Firm, which includes Michigan-based Beringea, LLC and its London, UK office Beringea LLP, invests in portfolio companies operating in a range of sectors, including health care, clean technology, manufacturing, media, Internet technologies and specialized consumer products.

 

With flexible capital solutions, extensive investing experience and offices in the U.S. and UK, Beringea’s team offers its portfolio companies the resources to grow their businesses and create value for shareholders. For more information, visit www.beringea.com.

 

In the United States of America, Beringea operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor, Beringea, LLC. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Beringea LLP, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Beringea LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with company number OC342919, and its registered office is at 39 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LT, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Beringea’s potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.

 

About Detroit Institute of Music Education

Detroit Institute of Music Education (“DIME”) is a music education college dedicated to teaching the next generation of modern musicians. Founded by music industry veterans Kevin Nixon, Sarah Clayman and Bruce Dickinson, DIME will offer advanced music students a college-style experience in contemporary music, with expert musicians and music industry professionals teaching courses in guitar, bass, vocals, drums, songwriting and music entrepreneurship. Prospective students can choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree or diploma in Creative Music Performance, or sign up for part-time and summer music education programs. Serious musicians can expect practical and real-world preparation for a career in the music industry upon graduation.

 

DIME will formally open in September, when renovations will be completed on the historic Bamlet Building in downtown Detroit. A pop-up space, located at 1520 Woodward Avenue between John R and Witherell will open Thursday, March 20 and will serve as a temporary admissions office and performance space for the college. For more information on DIME, visit www.dime-detroit.com or call 313.223.1600.

 

About Bedrock Real Estate Services

Detroit-based Bedrock Real Estate Services is a full-service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial space. Since its founding in 2011, Bedrock has recruited more than 100 tenants to downtown Detroit’s Central Business District. A full listing of recruited tenants is available here. For more information, visit www.Bedrockmgt.com.

 

About Opportunity Detroit

Opportunity Detroit is a campaign that promotes downtown Detroit as a great place to live, work and play. The campaign launched as a partnership with Quicken Loans, Rock Ventures, the Detroit Regional Chamber, and dozens of non-profit, civic and business organizations in the city. It started as a commercial, and it continues to evolve as a campaign to tell Detroit’s story as an emerging high-tech hub, and the city’s ongoing transformation from a muscle economy of the past to the brain economy of the present and future. For more information visit www.opportunitydetroit.com.

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January 24, 2014 @ 3:58 am

Invest Detroit’s First Step Fund

Invest Detroit continues to actively support companies in the Detroit region with its First Step Fund (FSF). Based in downtown Detroit, First Step Fund is an early stage micro investment fund that was formed through an investment from the New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan.

 

While more and more funds are choosing to call Michigan home, few are like First Step Fund. In most cases, First Step Fund is the first institutional investment into a company. The industry agnostic fund has made 55 investments across southeast Michigan.  The fund has an interest in supporting women, minority and immigrant owned companies across the region.

 

First Step Fund’s recent investments include Avegant, Sky Specs and Kontextual. “These investments all fit First Step Fund’s overall investment strategy so well, and are the ideal representation of the range of businesses that can grow and thrive in the region,” said First Step Fund’s managing director, Adrian Fortino.

 

Avegant is a new platform that allows consumers to interact with media and data in new ways, and allow for new forms of storytelling.  The platform revolves around Avegant’s revolutionary virtual retinal display technology that interacts with eyes in the way that they naturally function. By reflecting light into the eyes, consumers can see media and data the way they’re supposed to be experienced: lifelike and vividly.

 

“First Step Fund saw an extraordinary and uniquely designed opportunity last year when we invested prior to the seed round Avegant closed late last year,” said Fortino. Avegant recently won a coveted CES Editors Choice at the 2014 Show and exceeded their goal in their Kickstarter campaign in less than four hours.

 

Sky Specs develops autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles that inspect infrastructure such as bridges, wind turbines, dams and sewers. SkySpecs couples the hardware with an analytics dashboard to interpret and map the massive amount of data gathered during flight.

 

“First Step Fund led Sky Specs’ $500,000 pre-seed round to finalize the first commercial product and effectively launch the company,” Fortino continued. “Sky Specs has market opportunities across several verticals and a remarkable team which has positioned it well with key strategic partners at a prototype stage.”

 

Kontextual helps companies build transparent, metric-driven cultures.  Its cloud- and mobile-based platform is the end result of decades of experience in the enterprise software market combined with cutting edge software skills and intensely beautiful interface design, all sprinkled with a healthy dose of lessons learned from social media.

 

“Business social enterprise software is a dynamic sector and Kontextual is positioned well with an experienced management team and great investment partners,” he added. “Kontextual fills a critical gap in the business operations software space.”

 

Looking forward, Invest Detroit is excited by the potential for First Step Fund as well as its recently-launched Detroit Innovate, a seed stage venture fund to fuel high-growth technology companies in the Detroit Region. Detroit Innovate focused on enabling technologies in healthcare, transportation, advanced manufacturing, and resource efficiency.

 

“Our deal flow has never been higher in volume and quality,” said Fortino. “We expect to continue at the brisk pace of 2013 where we invested in 10 new companies, if not more!”

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December 16, 2013 @ 3:04 am

Ford Chairman Investment Generates Attention for Michigan VCs

QuickPay is a parking start-up app that recently closed an additional $5.5 million of funding. This deal is generating attention for Michigan VCs, reflecting how our automotive heritage plays a role in creating our strong innovation economy. Chairman Bill Ford invested in QuickPay through MVCA member Fontinalis Partners.

 

Read the Venture Capital Post article.

 

 

 

 

 

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November 26, 2013 @ 1:33 am

Jim Adox and Venture Investors Charge Full Steam Ahead

Jim Adox and Venture Investors are charging full steam ahead in a challenging economy, and in doing so, are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible here in Michigan. Dreaming big – including the potential for a new, state-sponsored fund of funds – and being willing to work for it are setting Adox and his firm apart, and positioning them for leadership.

 

Adox joined Venture Investors in 2007 as a managing director and heads up its Ann Arbor office. Venture Investors, founded in 1982, is one of the leading venture capital firms in the Midwest.  It’s focused on making seed and early stage healthcare and technology investments.  With offices in Madison, Wisconsin and Ann Arbor, Venture Investors is strategically located in the backyards of the nation’s two leading public research universities. The firm is currently investing out of its fifth fund and has more than $200 million under management.

 

Venture Investors recently made three exciting investments, UpTo, Reshape Medical and NetSocket.  UpTo, a social calendar app that’s generating a ton of buzz, is the firm’s first investment in Detroit, and one that it made in collaboration with Detroit Venture Partners. ReShape Medical is a nonsurgical weight loss company headquartered in Southern California, and NetSocket is a Plano, Texas company focused on software-defined networking solutions (SDN).

 

Although Venture Investors’ recent deals are diverse having just closed its fifth fund has Adox and his team particularly bullish about Michigan’s future. “It’s a really challenging environment to close funds, and we’re pleased we were able to accomplish it,” he said. “Michigan offers some unique resources, such as the Venture Michigan Fund, that make choosing to raise VC and make investments here appealing. There are a lot more VCs to do deals with and more experienced entrepreneurs, and Venture Investors has a new fund and money to invest. I’m looking forward to making a few more Michigan investments in the next year.”

 

Adox came to Michigan from the east coast, despite never having heard of Ann Arbor before choosing University of Michigan’s engineering school. “My familiarity with Ann Arbor was tied to Bob Seger’s song about Ann Arbor,  ‘Main Street’,” he said. “Once I got here, though, I didn’t leave. After graduation, I became a gear head in automotive world through an executive engineering program at Chrysler.  I left that position and returned to U-M, where I earned my MBA.”

 

He left U-M with more than an MBA, though. It was during his MBA program when he was introduced to VC through professors David Brophy, director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance, Andy Lawlor, Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Strategy and Director, Global MBA Projects, and Tom Kinnear, the Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies.  Adox maintains these transformative relationships today.

 

Adox, who was recently elected chair of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, sees assets like the Venture Michigan Fund, a fund of funds managed by Credit Suisse, as critical to the state’s future success. He also sees the state’s burgeoning entrepreneurial network as a strong indicator of future success.

 

“The more I’ve gotten involved with MVCA, the more I’ve seen that there’s an opportunity to improve Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Adox explained. “I want to play a role in that. I’ve been here 15 years and have a good idea of where we’ve been and where we can go. I want to do my part to improve the opportunities for everyone – entrepreneurs and VCs alike.”

 

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November 5, 2013 @ 4:03 am

MVCA Honors VCs, Deals at Annual Meeting; Names New Chair, Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 5, 2013 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – At its annual meeting, the Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) awarded Best Financing to Esperion, the MVCA 100 to FutureNet, Best Exit to Pioneer Surgical Technology and Lifetime Achievement to Tom Kinnear.  It also announced its 2014 executive committee and board of directors.

 

“The last year affirmed Michigan’s reputation as a destination for innovation-based businesses and the VCs that back them,” said Carrie Jones, MVCA’s executive director.  “Even as venture capital declined nationally, access to capital increased in Michigan. There are amazing companies accomplishing amazing things here, and MVCA’s annual meeting is a chance to celebrate those individuals and organizations that are part of that success story.”

 

Esperion, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing first-in-class, oral, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering therapies for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, was honored with MVCA’s Financing of the Year award.  In June, Esperion issued an initial public offering of 5,000,000 shares of its common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market.

 

MVCA honored FutureNet with its 100 Award for achieving $100 million in revenue this year. FutureNetGroup is a Detroit-based energy and environmental, construction, technology, and security company that provides infrastructure improvement and protection through innovative technologies.

 

Pioneer Surgical Technology was awarded by MVCA as the Best Exit. In 2013, the Marquette-based company was successfully acquired by RTI Biologics. The acquisition created a global surgical implant company positioned for growth in orthopedics and biologics.

 

Tom Kinnear was honored by MVCA for his lifetime achievement. Kinnear is the D. Maynard Phelps Collegiate Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.  He previously served as executive director of the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. In addition to his teaching, Kinnear supports the U-M Office of Tech Transfer and is chairman of the state-backed Venture Michigan Fund. He also is active in the entrepreneurial community as a co-founder, advisor, angel investor, and Board member of startup companies, including: Network Express, BlueGill Technologies, Accuri Instruments, Avail Networks, Avidimer Therapeutics, Mobius Microsystems, Janeeva, nanoCerox, and NanoBio. He is also a limited partner in Apjohn Ventures, Arbor Partner Ventures, Arboretum Ventures, EDF Ventures, and RPM Ventures. He is a member of the investment committee for EDF Ventures and for Arboretum Ventures.

 

At its annual meeting and awards dinner, MVCA also announced its 2014 board of directors.  Jim Adox of Venture Investors will serve as the organization’s board chair.  Other board members serving 2014-2015 are:

  • Josh Beebe, MK Capital
  • Hugo Braun, North Coast Technology Investors
  • Pete Farner, TGap Ventures
  • Patricia Glaza, Arsenal Ventures
  • Tony Grover, RPM Ventures
  • Mark Horne, Plymouth Venture Partners
  • Tom Kinnear, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
  • Jon Lauckner, GM Ventures
  • Mark Olesnavage, Hopen Life Sciences Ventures
  • Tim Petersen, Arboretum Ventures
  • Jeff Rinvelt, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund
  • Ted Serbinski, Detroit Venture Partners
  • Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK
  • Jody Vanderwel, Grand Angels

 

About the MVCA
The MVCA is a non-profit trade organization designed to bring together venture capital industry participants in the state of Michigan.  The organization’s goal is to grow and sustain a vibrant venture capital community in Michigan.  Membership includes private venture capital funds, corporate venture capital funds, private equity firms, angel investors, and entrepreneurial infrastructure participants.  The MVCA is a vehicle to bring together industry participants and to provide a concerted voice for Michigan’s venture capital industry.  www.michiganvca.org

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September 10, 2013 @ 7:02 am

Michigan Companies Make Forbes Venture Player List

Three Michigan companies, and MVCA members, are considered among the top venture players in the midwest.

 

(excerpted from Forbes article)

“As entrepreneurs all over the country and the world make the leap into startup life, investors are keeping step to finance them—hoping to own a piece of a company that could yield buckets of cash. Venture capital firms have been circling innovation capitals like Silicon Valley and New York City for years but have recently been forced to take notice of other regions where young companies are putting down roots.”

 

Read the full story.

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August 9, 2013 @ 8:06 am

Detroit-Based HealthCure Closes Second Round of Funding

HealthCure, LLC, a Detroit-based health care services company, recently closed on its second round of private equity funding. Physician’s Choice Laboratory Services (PCLS) of Charlotte, North Carolina, led the funding round. The Series B round was HealthCure’s second tranche of strategic funding, with the Series A round led by the Oakwood HealthCare Systems of Dearborn, Michigan.

 

HealthCure is a leader in the effort to reduce Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI), a major financial and health burden to the industry. There are over 2 million cases of HAI annually in the United States, resulting in about 100,000 deaths. The strategic funding validates the significance of HealthCure’s value proposition to the health care industry, and aligns the Company with two significant sources of financial capital, and industry expertise.

 

HealthCure’s comprehensive approach to HAI is unique, as the company focuses on facility assessment, innovative practices, the introduction of proprietary disinfecting products, and unique data compilation, which helps its clients reduce patient risk and bring down non-reimbursable costs. In addition to capital, PCLS brings a proprietary diagnostic assay, allowing HealthCure to rapidly assess, diagnose, and treat problem areas within a hospital.

 

Mark Arizmendi, HealthCure’s Managing Director, stated, “We are pleased to enter into an investment relationship with PCLS. They are a tremendous complement to the HealthCure business, and their scientific expertise, as well as their marketing prowess, will allow HealthCure to grow its core competency of assessing and treating facilities for HAI and help us advance our marketing efforts more rapidly and with greater effectiveness.”

 

Northwestern Capital Partners, LLC, of Charlotte, NC, and Chicago, IL, advised HealthCure on the financing. Northwestern Capital Partners is also an investor in the Company, along with Michael and Carlton Guthrie of Detroit, MI.

 

About HealthCure, LLC

HealthCure, LLC, is a Detroit-based company focused on reducing the risk of HAI in the healthcare system. HealthCure uses evidence-based methods and products to provide a virtual shield against the infectious agents that cause HAI. The Company manages complex and disparate data to develop and choose best in-class protocols to not only manage the hospital environment, but also to consult with hospitals to increase efficiency and bottom-line performance.

 

For additional Information, please contact:

 

Mark Arizmendi, CEO, Northwestern Capital Partners, LLC

marizmendi@northwesterncapital.net

 

Linda Ratliff, Manager Communications and Customer Service, HealthCure, LLC

Linda.ratliff@healthcure.biz

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July 24, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

Beringea Attributes 25-Year Success to Seeing Things a Little Differently

Ask Beringea founder and managing partner Charlie Rothstein what makes doing business in Michigan different and you’ll get a quick, candid answer.  “We don’t follow the herd and trip over competitors like you would on the coasts.  We collaborate and we cheer for each other, and that makes us different than the rest of the world.”

 

Looking beyond the Great Lakes has provided Beringea with terrific perspective and unparalleled opportunities for investing, but the firm’s roots in Michigan are the strong foundation on which it’s continued to thrive.  Beringea chose to call Michigan home because unlike others, it saw the state as offering amazing potential for those willing to take a chance and start here.

 

“People outside of Michigan wondered what we were doing starting here,” Rothstein said, recalling Beringea’s humble beginnings in his basement 25 years ago.  “That always struck me as the wrong question because the answer is so obvious: In order to be successful, you have to see things different than the rest of the world.  In Michigan, we don’t give up when things are tough, which is a huge advantage for entrepreneurs that will get knocked down a lot in the early stage of business.  Knowing these companies will get off the mat and persevere makes them a really attractive investment opportunity.”

 

That eye on Michigan’s strengths has helped Beringea find great investment opportunities that those outside of the state are missing.  Recently, it backed Fiber Byproducts, a Michigan company that recycles wood waste.

 

“Fiber Byproducts is based on a smart, simple concept that’s in great demand,” Rothstein said.  “The company takes scrap wood from construction business that would otherwise go to waste and recycles it for wood pellets used in heating stoves as well as mulch, wood chips, and other consumer products.  Investing in Fiber Byproducts gives Beringea the chance to support a company that’s innovating a clean, cheap, sustainable fuel, and commercializing a Michigan-made product.  Fiber Byproducts is a great investment because it created an in-demand product but needed capital to take business to the next level.”

 

Identifying and embracing those attractive investment opportunities has helped Beringea become a partner of choice for entrepreneurs in a range of business sectors including media, healthcare, clean technology and IT. Today, the firm has offices in Detroit and London, more than 60 companies in its portfolio, and more than $525 million under management.

 

Recently, the firm’s portfolio has been boosted by a few major wins.  Beringea investment Pioneer Surgical Technology was acquired by RTI Biologics Inc. for $130 million. Earlier this year, the firm was also part of a $5 million investment round in Abe’s Market, an online store for natural and organic products.

 

Looking forward, Rothstein is as enthusiastic about the future now as he was 25 years ago.  “We are seeing an economy nationally and locally that has stabilized,” he said.  “In Michigan, we’ve laid the groundwork and now’s our opportunity to show that we’re home to great VCs and great companies.”

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May 3, 2013 @ 5:53 am

Second Annual Deals in the Garden

Our second annual Deals in the Garden took place on April 22 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Emceed by Jody Vanderwel of Grand Angels, the event gave the following companies the opportunity to pitch their businesses to investors.

 

are you a human, Detroit
Vestaron, Kalamazoo
Nanorete, Lansing
Arborlight, Ann Arbor
Covaron, Ann Arbor
Gema, Ann Arbor
Current Motor, Ann Arbor
FlockTag, Ann Arbor
Optofluidic Bioassay, Ann Arbor
Savvy Languages, Lake Orion
Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, Grand Rapids
Compoto, Holland

 

2nd Annual Deals in the Garden

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing booth, and from L to R: Tom Ross, Managing Director, DWH; Connie Degen, Chief Operating Officer, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing; Jerry Scott (back to camera), Grand Angels’ member; and Nick Bykerk, Controller, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing

 

We were extremely pleased with the quality of the presentations and delighted with the high number of attendees and that the audience was so engaged.

 

2nd Annual Deals in the Garden

Current Motor’s scooter, and Grand Angels members, from L to R: Andy Keller, Paul D’Amato, and Bob Sprotte

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April 19, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

The Road Less Traveled: Detroit Venture Partners Pursues “Crazed Mission” to Back Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs

 

Detroit Venture Partners

Ask Josh Linkner what’s got him, and the team at Detroit Venture Partners, fired up, and you’ll get a simple response: Detroit.  The VC firm’s “crazed mission” is to back companies that are committed to rebuilding the Detroit area by entrepreneurship.

 

We view business building as a palette for creative expression and an opportunity to make a difference and change the world. If not, why bother,” explained Linkner, who is managing partner of Detroit Venture Partners.

 

Linkner and the Detroit Venture Partners team aren’t shy about getting in the trenches to make sure these world-changing businesses succeed.  “We are willing to get down and dirty with our entrepreneurs in order to drive results. We look at venture investing as a full-contact sport, and are ready to do whatever it takes to help our portfolio companies win. You’ll find us hands-on and deep behind enemy lines while other VCs are enjoying their French-vanilla, no-whip, mocha frappuccinos.”

 

Detroit Venture Partners’ commitment to entrepreneurial warfare has helped the firm achieve a key goal to re-establish Detroit as a beacon of innovation and entrepreneurship.  “We’ve led the way and set a path for others to come invest in Detroit, and for startup leaders to build their businesses here,” Linkner said.  “We believe that this region has tremendous untapped potential and this last year was about laying the foundation to harness it.  With the groundwork in place, Detroit is now poised to take off as one of the most important startup cities in the country.”

 

The firm’s investment portfolio is a telling reflection of Detroit Venture Partners’ commitment to backing entrepreneurs who are making their mark in the Detroit area… and beyond.  Over the last year, it’s invested in several exciting Detroit-based companies, including:

 

  • LevelEleven, a company that develops enterprise gamification and CRM solutions that help sales and other managers keep their teams focused on the right things. The company’s flagship product, Contest Builder, is a salesforce.com app that gives companies new ways to motivate salespeople to make more calls, book more meetings, and close more business, which in turn spikes adoption of Salesforce.
  • Chalkfly, which is becoming known as the ‘Zappos for office supplies.’ It offers 50,000 products, 24/7 customer services, free over-night shipping, and a 365-day return policy. Most importantly, Chalkfly gives 5 percent of all sales directly to teachers in your local community.
  • iRule, LLC, a cloud software company offering a platform for the connected home and home entertainment control. iRule’s control and automation software, available for both iOS and Android, is loved by its customers for its functionality, versatility, and value, and is sold by professional dealers in 50 countries.

Linkner is careful to point out that Detroit Venture Partners’ “crazed” mission is really rooted in a common sense, practical approach to investing.  “Michigan offers real advantages to other locations,” he said.  “The state, and the Detroit area in particular, are ripe with top talent that are attracted to what’s unique here: Affordable housing, and accessibility to business leaders and networks.  Plus, there’s a low cost of doing business here that makes an investment go far.”

 

While pursuing their favorite pastime of changing the world’s mind about VC opportunities beyond the coasts – and in Detroit, specifically – Detroit Venture Partners will continue to work hard at being an illustration of all that’s going right here. “We’re excited to add eight to 10 more companies to our portfolio this year,” Linkner said.  “While we continue to grow, we’ll continue to work deep in the trenches with our existing companies to help them win.”

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The MVCA is a non-profit trade organization designed to bring together venture capital industry participants in the state of Michigan. The organization's goal is to grow and sustain a vibrant venture capital community in Michigan.
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