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Posted on Mon, Aug 10, 2009 : 3:05 p.m.

Ann Arbor investment firm RPM Ventures secures $4 million in funding

By Nathan Bomey

Ann Arbor-based RPM Ventures has secured $4 million in funding from a Detroit-based group charged with boosting Michigan-based venture capital operations.

Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, led by Ann Arbor-based venture capitalist Chris Rizik, is investing $4 million in RPM Venture’s second investment fund.

The investment is a significant victory for RPM co-founder Marc Weiser in the midst of an economic crisis that is wreaking havoc on venture capitalists’ ability to raise funds. Weiser is traveling and was not immediately available for comment this afternoon.

Some estimates suggest that one-third of venture capitalists nationwide could disappear within the next couple years as institutional investors dedicate fewer funds to venture investors in an effort to mitigate risk.

Rizik previously helped lead Ann Arbor-based VC firm Ardesta, which is no longer making new investments. His new venture, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, is backed by a consortium of groups, including economic development group Detroit Renaissance.

RPM, which, at 9 years old, is one of Ann Arbor’s elder VC firms, has developed a niche in the information technology investment market. Its existing investment portfolio includes Quantum Learning Technologies, which announced an Ann Arbor expansion this year, and Ann Arbor-based Arbor Photonics.

“The partners at RPM have a keen sense of technologies that capitalize on the strengths of our region and provide benefit to the entire world,” Rizik said in a news release. “They are creating the types of opportunities for growth that are ideal for Michigan and the Midwest.”

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