Key Milestones in Venture in Michigan

2023 MVCA Research Report

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Key Milestones of Venture Capital in Michigan

  • Michigan Capital & Service (MCS) was Michigan’s first venture capital firm in 1966. located in Ann Arbor, MI. (MCS was bought by National Bank of Detroit in 1981)
  • Doan Associates, formed in 1971 by Herbert (Ted) Doan, who was the last of the Doan family to lead Dow Chemical was considered Michigan’s founding father of venture capital.
  • Michigan Growth Capital Symposium began in 1979 and founded by David J. Brophy through the University of Michigan. MGCS’s objective was/is to shed light on the need for venture capital to further entrepreneurship in the state of Michigan. MGCS itself launched in 1980 with the idea to showcase small companies similar to what had been done on the coastal regions.
  • Comerica Bank started a venture capital firm in late 1981. 
  • State of Michigan established a substantial venture capital investment activity in 1983, investing both in partnerships and directly in companies. 
  • Michigan Strategic Fund (through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MEDC) committed to invest in four seed funds in 1987. 
  • Michigan Venture Capital Association was founded in 2002 by a small group of investors. Arbor Partners founder, Richard Eidswick was instrumental in leading the establishment of the MVCA and served as its first President in 2002 and 2003. Mitch Mondry was MVCA’s second Board Chair and thus a long journey of Chairs and Board members. 
  • The Venture Michigan Fund is a venture capital fund investment program that has been formed under the Michigan Early Stage Venture Investment Act of 2003. The bill was sponsored by former Sen. Mike Bishop and enacted into law by Governor Jennifer Granholm in 2004.
  • In 2006, MVCA was able to hire its first full time Executive Director (through a grant from the MEDC) to run the organization. Up until this time it was operated by a volunteer Board. 
  • In 2007, MVCA released its first research report. At that time, there were 15 venture capital firms and close to $2.5M under management. 
  • MVCA launched The Venture Fellows program which was designed to increase the number of venture professionals in Michigan in order to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies many of which are in Michigan. A total of 22 individuals were part of this program from 2011 – 2018.
  • In 2017, MVCA celebrated its 10th anniversary. As reported in the research report, there were 29 venture capital firms and $3.9B under management. As a comparison in 2007, there were 19 venture capital firms and $2.4B under management. 
  • MVCA launches Michigan Venture & Entrepreneurial Foundation (MVEF) in 2021 with the purpose to create programs and initiatives that support the entrepreneurial and investor community throughout the state of Michigan.
  • MVCA celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2022 unveiling a new brand and research report.