Google picks Invest Detroit’s VC unit to help startups in Michigan

DETROIT–ID Ventures, the venture capital arm of Invest Detroit, the non-profit that supports business and real estate projects in the city and region, announced that it has been selected by the Google Developers Launchpad to provide scaling resources to startups in Detroit and Michigan.

ID Ventures is Google’s first such partner in the continental United States. It already has a similar presence in Puerto Rico.

Patti Glaza, ID Ventures managing director, said the final scope of those scaling resources is still being determined. But, she said, “two key components” would include individual mentoring for entrepreneurs with Google’s network of experts, and programs for startups that use the resources of that network.

Glaza said Google has a large network of mentors who could speak to highly technical topics — for example, cloud infrastructure technology, to make sure a tech startup has the secure cloud resources necessary for growth.

On the programming side, “using the Google partnership, we can run one- or two-day seminars on specific business topics — B2C marketing, lead generation funnel management, machine learning. We’ll have access to Google expertise in advanced technical and marketing areas.”

She said the relationship started with employees at Google and Invest Detroit who were alumni of the same university — Georgetown — and the Detroit employee shared the growth of the city’s economic opportunities in high tech. Google representatives visited the city in September, “and we showed them the accelerators and the city. We showed them the partnership could be valuable to both sides.” The deal that resulted from that visit was signed last week, Glaza said.

The formal program plan under the new partership should be complete by the end of February, Glaza said.

ID Ventures has invested in 120 Michigan-based startups since 2010. Glaza added.

The Google Developers Launchpad operates a global acceleration network across Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Puerto Rico. It offers starupts resources based on Google’s global network, insights from the company’s Silicon Valley-based startup programs, and 20 years’ worth of Google research and best practice insights on building businesses, products and teams at massive scale.

“This is truly a win for our local startup community,” Glaza said. “The partnership will give access to industry experts, startup training and needed services that will help our companies scale and successfully exit, moving us even closer to our vision of making Michigan a startup and technology hub for the Midwest.”

Added Kevin O’Toole, head of international growth for the Launchpad: “The Powered by Google Developers Launchpad program is about empowering startup communities around the world and helping them leverage each other for insights and resource sharing. We are thrilled to expand this program into Detroit and the state of Michigan.”

The 2018-19 report of the Michigan Venture Capital Association found 140 venture-backed startups in Michigan, up 37 percent over the last five years. Also, the report found, every dollar invested in a Michigan startup by a Michigan-based venture capital firm attracted $7.85 in investment from outside Michgian.

Meanwhile, the 2018-19 Entrypoint Detroit Ecosystem Report found 37 active venture-backed startups in Wayne County that have rasied an aggregate of $358 million. Of those, 41 percent are IT companies and 19 percent are mobility-related. The rest run the gamut from advanced materials to manufacturing to business services, consumer products, and healthcare.

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