Back to Blog April 19, 2013 in

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

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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 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.”