Venture capital firm wants to find next Silicon Valley-style 'home run' in Ann Arbor
Recent comments made by high-powered entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are drawing attention to the relationship between Ann Arbor and the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Silicon Valley. Now a new VC firm aims to capitalize on local ideas and talent, Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh writes.
Silicon Valley venture capitalists Scott Chou, Doug Neal, Bob Stefanski and Rick Bolander launched Michigan eLab last summer, attracted by Ann Arbor's talent pool and comparatively low cost of living. The group also maintains an office in San Mateo, Calif.
Neal also serves as executive director of the University of Michigan College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship. He does not vote on investments because of his role at U-M.
Michigan eLab has raised almost $10 million, including $2.25 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and hopes to close its first fund with $15 million ready to invest in mostly information technology companies, Walsh reported.
Chou, the author of "Maxims, Morals and Metaphors: A Primer on Venture Capital," last week told students at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business: "Everything is cheaper here. It's a source of disruptive innovations. It's a core center for research innovations — one of the top-funded universities in the country. There's a lot of groundbreaking ideas and few venture capitalists here."
For more, read Walsh's Sunday column.