$10M investors fund in Grand Rapids will aid startups in Michigan's growth industries

Deborah Johnson Wood

Life sciences and technology, alternative energy and other growth industry startups in Michigan could soon receive an infusion of $10 million to spur business development and jobs.

Michigan Accelerator Fund 1, L.P., a new Grand Rapids-based venture capital fund, has received $6 million in seed money from the state's 21st Century Jobs Fund, a program of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The investment jumpstarts the fund and moves it closer to its goal of having $10 million available for startups in early 2011.

"We look for Michigan-based companies to invest in. They must be startups, and must fit into life sciences and technology, homeland security, advanced manufacturing or alternative energy," says Dale Grogan of The Charter Group, managers of the fund. "We'd like to make our first investment the first part of next year, and will be willing to look at the first prospects within the next the 30 days."

Grogan credits the successful start of the fund to the collaboration of several regional partners, including Grand Valley State University, Van Andel Research Institute, Hope River Ventures, West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative, Grand Angels, Michigan State University Foundation, Right Place, Inc. and Lakeshore Advantage.

Those organizations will help the fund raise the additional $4 million from investors around the state, Grogan says.

"We're hopeful that this fund does great things," Grogan says. "We want to create Michigan jobs and we want them to be in the magic four categories, so if we can provide money to start up businesses in Michigan, and they grow and succeed, then we're doing exactly what we're supposed to do."

Interested entrepreneurs can contact Grogan at The Charter Group at 616-235-3555, or through the MAF1 web site when it launches online in September.

Source: Dale Grogan, The Charter Group and Michigan Accelerator Fund 1, L.P.; Amanda Passage, Lambert, Edwards & Associates

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected] Development News tips can be sent to [email protected]
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