Renaissance Venture Fund Becomes Largest Of Its Kind

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The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, Michigan’s venture capital fund-of-funds, announced that it has had its final closing on its first fund, raising a total of nearly $50 million in investments from some of the state’s most important organizations. 

This closing makes the RVCF the largest privately funded regional VC fund of funds in the nation. 

“The vision of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund was to strengthen and bring together the state’s venture capital, business, industrial and entrepreneurial communities in a way that will help the region grow and diversify,” RVCF CEO Chris Rizik said. “By investing in and connecting the people that drive our State’s longtime R&D strength, we can expand innovation in Michigan and earn solid returns for our investors. And we are proud that the business leadership of the state has come together to embrace our vision and create this unique vehicle for change and growth in the state.”

Now in its second year of operation, the RVCF has surpassed its targets in leveraging investment dollars and its strong investor base to increase the amount of venture capital activity in Michigan. 

Through the end of August, the RVCF has invested $5.8 million in six venture capital funds. Those funds have, in turn, invested more than $23 million in 12 Michigan companies, and those 12 companies have leveraged that investment to receive over $146 million in venture capital investment from investors around the United States — a 25 to 1 multiple of the RVCF’s investment. 

And even in these very early stages of their development, these companies have created more than 200 new Michigan jobs.

In addition, the RVCF has made its first profit distribution to investors ahead of expectations.

“What RVCF has done will provide Michigan with the foundation to create the state’s new technology driven economy,” said Mark Heesen, President of the National Venture Capital Association.  “Michigan has so much to offer in terms of research and development, an understanding of clean technology, a dedicated workforce and corporate citizenry and a diversified life science community. Venture firms with the help of RVCF will be able to harness these attributes and take to them to the next level for the good of the state and the nation as a whole.”

The RVCF has made investments to date in Ann Arbor-based venture capital funds Arboretum Ventures and RPM Ventures and Kalamazoo’s T-Gap Ventures. It has also invested in San Francisco-based 5AM Ventures and Houston’s DFJ Mercury Ventures. Two other firms, Illinois-based MK Capital and Florida’s Arsenal Ventures, are presently opening Michigan offices following their investment by the RVCF.

Led by Business Leaders for Michigan, the formation and funding of the RVCF was the culmination of nearly two years of preparation and cooperation of various regional economic development organizations and several of Michigan’s most important corporations. 

“When we first envisioned the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, we were confident that our strategic approach and the participation of our world class investors could yield great results for our region,” said Sam Valenti, Chairman of the RVCF. “But both the performance and impact of the fund to date have exceeded our expectations and signal great news for Michigan going forward.”
 
Formed out of the groundbreaking “Road to Renaissance” initiative of Business Leaders for Michigan, the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund received its initial support and investment from some of Michigan’s most important organizations. Through its investment in top tier venture firms that are active in Michigan and its work connecting Michigan’s established business base with new technologies and companies, the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund is helping to drive forward both innovation and growth of emerging companies in the region.

More at www.renvcf.com.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.

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