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Michigan Venture Capital Association Launches 2018 Venture Fellows Program

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Venture Fellows Program Incorporates MVCA Diversity and Inclusion Initiative to Advance Venture Capital Industry in Michigan

Ann Arbor, MICH. – February 5, 2018 – Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), the nonprofit trade association designed to increase the capital and talent available for Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community,  today announced the launch of its 2018 Venture Fellows Program supported by Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Launched in 2011, the program has increased the number of venture professionals in Michigan to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital in the state. As part of the new 2018 Venture Fellows Program, MVCA will build on initiatives to assist venture capital firms in fostering a more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.

To identify policy and program needs for Michigan’s growing entrepreneurial and investment community, MVCA examines trends pertaining to investment and entrepreneurship and publishes its findings within the MVCA Annual Research Report. As part of its report since 2014, MVCA includes studies related to the presence and roles of women, individuals identifying as LGBTQ+, and racial minorities within this community. According to MVCA’s most recent report, in 2016:

  • Michigan venture capitalists invested $222 million in 54 Michigan startup companies. Of that, $16.9 million was invested in four Michigan startup companies led by a CEO belonging to one or more underrepresented groups.
  • 14 percent of venture capital professionals in Michigan were female.
  • 7 percent of venture capital professionals were racial minorities.

“While Michigan meets or exceeds the national average of diversity within the entrepreneurial and investment community, the state has the opportunity to set a benchmark for the industry that more clearly reflects representative populations,” said MVCA Associate Director, Emily Heintz. “An ongoing focus on building an inclusive community is essential to ensuring Michigan attracts and retains the best talent. Our goal is to set the standard for venture capital associations across the country and create a model that will foster a more diverse and inclusive culture across the entire venture capital industry.”

The Venture Fellows Program aims to attract and retain investment professionals in Michigan by matching emerging talent with local venture capital firms.  To date, MVCA, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, has awarded over a million dollars to 19 venture capital professionals across Michigan to build their careers in Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community.  Venture Fellows are hired by Michigan-based venture firms to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies.

The 2018 Venture Fellows Program will require candidates to have a track record of actively contributing to building a diverse and inclusive community, a commitment to diversity initiatives, and will incorporate training on diversity and inclusion as part of MVCAcademy, a required one-day training for Venture Fellows. In addition, venture firms who participate in the program will be required to submit a statement regarding their firm’s commitment to building an inclusive entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.

“Participating in the Venture Fellows Program helped open the door to opportunities that were critical to advancing my career in venture capital,” said Reda Jaber, Gemphire Therapeutics Director of Business Development and Partner at IncWell. “With this program, we have the opportunity to help build leaders and advocates who will shape the future of the venture capital industry in Michigan.”

MVCA will be hosting its Member Networking Reception on Wednesday, February 7 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in Detroit and will feature Scale Venture Capital Partners Co-founder and Partner, Kate Mitchell, as a special guest speaker. Mitchell chairs the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) new Inclusion & Diversity Task Force and is active in policy matters that impact entrepreneurship, diversity, start-ups, and innovation. To learn more about the MVCA Venture Fellows Program, please click here.

About Michigan Venture Capital Association

The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) is a nonprofit trade organization designed to increase the amount of capital and talent available to venture and angel investors for the funding of Michigan’s most innovative entrepreneurs, as well as to work closely with them to transform breakthrough ideas into new companies and industries that drive Michigan job creation and economic growth. MVCA membership includes private and corporate venture capital funds, angel investors, universities and economic development organizations, and service providers. More than 400 individuals are members of MVCA, representing over 100 organizations across the nation. For more information, visit

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.