Business Leaders for Michigan committed to growing jobs and new, innovative companies
ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 30, 2012 – The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund (RVCF), the venture capital fund-of-funds formed by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), announced today that it has formed a second fund with initial capital of $60 million, growing the RCVF to over $100 million.
“Venture capital has been one of the principal drivers of economic growth around the nation,” said Chris Rizik, CEO of RVCF. “Venture capital-backed companies, as a whole, grow 50% faster than other companies and hire employees at eight times the national average. Michigan has the research and talent base to create these fast-growing new companies and the associated high paying jobs. RVCF marries these strengths with new capital and a network of collaboration between young companies, venture capital funds and many of Michigan’s largest companies, which will lead to more innovative new companies and employment in the state.”
When launched in 2008, the RVCF’s Renaissance I was the first fund of its kind in the U.S. Formed by BLM as a venture capital fund-of-funds, RCVF leveraged an impressive $45 million in private investment to help accelerate the development of innovation in Michigan. RVCF invested in 10 venture capital funds from around the nation under the condition that they actively look at Michigan opportunities. The investments to date by RCVF have led to venture capital firm investments of fifteen times that amount into Michigan companies and the creation of over 200 jobs.
The financial and regional growth successes of Renaissance I led to interest around the nation in this new model of investment. It has also laid the foundation for the larger Renaissance II, which includes a diverse group of investors such as Amway, DTE Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meijer, Inc. and La-Z-Boy, as well as Wayne State University and three important Michigan foundations: the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the McGregor Fund.
Mark Heesen, President of the National Venture Capital Association, remarked that the Renaissance strategy “has been extremely positive for the state of Michigan which, like many states, has the right components for a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem but does not yet have the level of indigenous capital to grow to its full potential.” Added Heesen, “Renaissance has quickly and effectively demonstrated an approach which accelerates the process. Other states would be wise to carefully review the Michigan model when looking to attract venture investors to their region.”