Ann Arbor SPARK scores $10.8M for investments and programs

Ann Arbor SPARK plans to spread $10.8 million it received from the state last week toward replenishing the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, funding the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition and starting the Michigan Angel Fund.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp awarded the money from the state's 21st Century Jobs Fund. Most of it, $9.17 million, will go toward reloading the four-year-old Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund. The $14 million evergreen fund has invested $13.4 million in local pre-seed stage start-ups to help them finish larger fundraising rounds.

"If the trends of the last four years stay in place this fund will last us two years, possibly a little longer," says Skip Simms, senior vice president of Ann Arbor SPARK and administrator of the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.

Approximately $1.05 million will go toward funding the second annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The Business Accelerator Network of Southeast Michigan's business-plan competition offers more than $1 million in prizes for the cream of the crop of Michigan-based start-ups and companies interested in moving to the Great Lakes State. The funds will cover the awards and logistics of the event, which is managed by Ann Arbor SPARK.

The remaining $600,000 will pay for the administrative costs of the Michigan Angel Fund, a new angel investor group managed by Ann Arbor SPARK. The new $5 million investment fund from which everything but the administrative costs will come from high-net-worth individuals, will be focused on investing in Michigan-based, early stage start-ups. The investments are intended to help bridge the gap between turning research into commercialized technology.

"We're raising funds for it now," Simms says. "We hope to initiate it as soon as possible." He adds that there is no definitive timeline for launching the fund.

Source: Skip Simms, senior vice president of Ann Arbor SPARK
Writer: Jon Zemke

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  • Ann Arbor Spark
    201 S. Division, Suite 430
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104 Website
    Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is the driving force in establishing the Ann Arbor region as a destination for business expansion, retention, and location by identifying and meeting the needs of business at every stage, from startups to ...