GRBJ: Can GR be another Silicon Valley

Industry leaders stress forging own path toward creating bustling tech culture, not copying other regions.


Grand Rapids doesn’t need to spawn the next Elon Musk to create a bustling technology sector in West Michigan.


The PayPal co-founder used funds gained from his exit to start some of the world’s most innovative companies, and while Grand Rapids entrepreneurs and technology employees might be able to use a similar strategy to start more companies, the focus of the companies can be to make industries, such as farming, medical and manufacturing, more efficient.


Musk is a serial entrepreneur, starting Tesla, Solar City and Space X with funds gained from successful exits in his past, including PayPal for which he earned nearly $200 million.


“We don’t have to strive for that, we just need to innovate for the industries we know through and through,” said Maitlan Cramer, principal at recently launched Grand Rapids venture capital firm Grand Ventures. Cramer grew up in Grand Rapids but spent the past 10 years working in tech and banking in Denver and San Francisco.


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