PitchBook’s recent report on the 3 critical factors for a strong venture ecosystem
— density, resources, and talent — led me on a quest to find where, beyond the typical major cities discussed in the venture world, we see these factors crystallizing in emerging ecosystems. I didn’t have to go far; my research led me across Lake Michigan to the Wolverine State. With top-tier universities, a long-standing culture of grit, and an economic downturn that nearly devastated its primary trade, Michigan is now experiencing an industrial transformation.
According to my analysis of PitchBook’s data for Michigan over the last 10 years, the state has received 250 percent more startup investment in the past 5 years — $1.4 billion — than it received in the 5 years prior ($577 million). In addition to attracting capital from major investors like Sequoia, Accel, and Naspers (among others), a number of Michigan-based funds have emerged to help the motor capital of the world become an emerging startup ecosystem. Firms like Wakestream Ventures, Invest Michigan, Invest Detroit, Detroit Venture Partners, Plymouth Growth Partners, Beringea, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, Huron River Ventures, and more have invested hundred of millions of dollars in startups.