MiBiz: Michigan VC investors reach ‘turning point’ as tech integrates to mature industries

Tim Streit and McKeel Hagerty started venture capital fund Grand Ventures I LP in Grand Rapids last March and went on to make three investments during the year in companies in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Each of the deals were co-investments for Grand Ventures, which invests early-stage capital in technology startups in agriculture, manufacturing, mobility and transportation, as well as other industries in Michigan and the Midwest. A regulatory filing last spring indicated the venture capital fund planned to raise up to $50 million from investors.

 

How’s the first year gone for Grand Ventures?

It was positive. Like most things in life, it’s taking a little bit more time than maybe we hoped or anticipated, but the support has been tremendous. We have investors all across the state as well as across the country, so the fundraising side of things has gone well. From a deal flow perspective, by the end of this year, we will probably have reviewed a thousand (prospective) deals. The deal flow is very strong across all of our core geographies.

 

What is the state of the venture capital industry in Michigan heading into 2018?

I am very optimistic about 2018 and ’19 for the state of Michigan. We now have second- and third-time entrepreneurs who are going out and starting businesses and who have great track records, and we also have seen all of the efforts that have been undertaken by the universities the last several years to further academic research (and) to boost the entrepreneurship programs. We’re seeing the benefits of that. Michigan is very well positioned because we have a more experienced group of entrepreneurs as well as a greater body of research, and just young and emerging talent and overall interest in entrepreneurship.

 

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