Third class of 'Hacker Fellows' to interview with startups at LTU's Detroit Center

DETROIT — Hacker Fellows, a program of Invest Detroit Ventures, has began to match its 2017 class of 15 young software developers to early-stage, tech-based companies in Michigan.

Having completed the Hacker Fellows year-long fellowship program, these 15 developers are soon to be hired full-time by Michigan startups, advancing Michigan’s tech ecosystem, and furthering the mission of retention of talented graduates of Michigan’s universities.

Thanks to the recent financial support of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), and the Ford Motor Co. Fund, Hacker Fellows is soon to kick off its third year of training, mentoring and supporting recent graduates in launching successful careers with startups.


“The importance of developing our technology talent in the region cannot be understated. The Hacker Fellows program is a critical to this effort,” said Don Jones, associate director at CFSEM, which recently committed an additional $550,000 in funding to Hacker Fellows over two years.

On Friday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Hacker Fellows has invited its 15 current fellows to in-person interviews with more than 30 startups from across the state. Each fellow will have the opportunity to interview with five to seven companies in hopes of receiving a full-time offer. The interviews will take place at Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology (DCDT), 4219 Woodward Ave.

Once all 15 fellows have received full-time offers, the true Hacker Fellows experience begins in Detroit, with a five-week software and entrepreneurship boot camp at DCDT. Following the five weeks of training, each of the Hacker Fellows goes to work at their paired startup, where they receive a $10,000 to 15,000 grant to boost their first-year salary. Beyond the salary boost, each fellow receives ongoing support from the Invest Detroit Ventures team throughout the year.

“The 2016 Hacker Fellows boot camp focused on front end technologies — specifically Angular JS, Node JS along with HTML and CSS — all technologies I had a strong interest in learning about,” said Jessica Wu, a 2016 Fellow now working for NewFoundry, an Ann Arbor design and software development firm. (The entire 2016 cohort is pictured below.)


Added Bradley Hoos, Hacker Fellows executive director: “There’s a huge need for top tech talent in Michigan and it’s been really exciting to see Hacker Fellows become the go-to source for young startup developer talent. The raw talent of our fellows is really impressive and once they are aware of the great things happening in the Michigan startup community, they are choosing to be a part of it. In fact, 13 of our 15 2016 fellows told us that they would have left the state if it weren’t for Hacker Fellows. That’s powerful.”

Hacker Fellows’ goal is to attract and retain top developers in  Michigan and pair these developers with early stage tech startups. In the first two years of the program, more than 70 Michigan startups have engaged with and interviewed Hacker Fellows. All 2015 and 2016 Hacker Fellows accepted positions at Michigan startups, with Fellows joining the program from 14 different universities and working at 21 different Michigan tech startups. Since working with Hacker Fellows, participating startup companies have created more than 160 jobs.

Hacker Fellows is free for participating Fellows and startups thanks to the generous support of sponsors CFSEM, MEDC, and the Ford Motor Co. Fund.

The Hacker Fellows program has an open application period year around, and officials say they’re always interested in interviewing passionate and talented developers. If you’re interested in applying, visit this link.

Visit to hire a Hacker Fellow.

More information at, including the latest on free and open meetups. Follow Hacker Fellows on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well.

Invest Detroit is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a source of private sector financing which uses a variety of funding tools through managed for-profit and non-profit targeted funds to support economic and community development in underserved communities, primarily in the City of Detroit.

Representing $225 million in funds, committed capital and New Markets Tax Credit allocations, Invest Detroit serves as a platform to meet a broad range of financing needs to support business expansion and real estate development, the creation and retention of jobs, and the revitalization of distressed areas.

Invest Detroit represents the vision of the Board of Directors and management of the Detroit Investment Fund, which was created and funded in 1995 by members of Detroit Renaissance, now known as Business Leaders for Michigan. In 2010, the DIF Board and management team enhanced and transitioned the capabilities of the DIF to create Invest Detroit, which serves as an umbrella entity for the DIF and other for-profit and non-profit managed funds.

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