Detroit's M@dison Block Adds Microsoft As Partner

DETROIT — Microsoft Corp. will be joining M@dison Block, a part of entrepreneur Dan Gilbert’s downtown Detroit holdings along Woodward Avenue just south of Grand Circus Park that’s being developed into a tech hub.

Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services announced Tuesday that technical and business experts from Microsoft Ventures will work in the M@dison Building to engage with the neighborhood’s startup community and develop business partnerships in the region.

Microsoft Ventures is a program designed to support founders at every stage of the startup. Through partnerships with tech hubs like the M@dison Block, Microsoft Ventures provides entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to build successful companies.

“This partnership is an extension of Microsoft’s commitment to the Detroit community and to the state of Michigan, which aims to provide people with the technology and training skills needed for the growing economy,” said John Fikany, the Southfield-based vice president of Microsoft’s big business relationships, which the company calls the U.S. commercial sector.

“In addition, it is important for us to participate and contribute to the growing technology hub downtown where startups and established companies are collaborating on driving innovation and growth,” Fikany said. “There is a ton of energy going on in Detroit, and we are excited to continue to be a part of it.”

The Detroit tech training company Grand Circus secured the partnership with Microsoft Ventures on behalf of the M@dison Block. The partnership provides entrepreneurs with a variety of services to support growth, including technology, mentors, and networking opportunities. Microsoft joins Google, Twitter, Uber, Detroit Labs, UpTo and numerous other tech companies in the M@dison Block.

“It is a great indicator for our community that Microsoft sees the value in the excitement, creativity and talent that is radiating out of the M@dison Block,” said Damien Rocchi, CEO of Grand Circus. “This partnership further cements the opportunities that exist for the tech industry in downtown Detroit and will continue to advance our tech hub. Tech companies of all shapes and sizes, from big-name brands to new start-ups, can be found writing code and doing business along Woodward Avenue.”

The M@dison Block began in September 2013 after several tech startups inside the M@dison Building grew out of their co-working space and expanded into other buildings on the same block. The neighborhood, anchored by the M@dison Building and adjacent to Grand Circus Park, is bordered by Woodward Avenue to the west, Broadway Street to the east, Witherell Street to the north, and John R Street to the south.

Bedrock Real Estate Services recruited Microsoft to lease office space on the second floor of the M@dison Building. Since 2011, the real estate firm and its affiliates have recruited more than 100 tenants to downtown Detroit, invested more than $1.3 billion in real estate, created 6,500 jobs and now own, control or manage more than eight million square feet in more than 40 downtown Detroit properties.

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