The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund has closed on its second investment vehicle, a $79 million fund destined for Michigan-based startups and the venture capital firms investing in them.
The 6-year-old firm, which has offices in Ann Arbor and Detroit, is a fund of funds, meaning it invests in smaller venture capital firms. It closed on its first fund for $45 million in 2010 with an idea of helping grow Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by infusing it with more seed capital and attracting more outside investors.
Some of Michigan's biggest corporations have contributed to Renaissance Venture Capital Fund’s investment vehicles. The hope is by including them they will help these startups grow by providing revenues and potential acquisitions. The fund also invests in out-of-state venture capital firms looking to invest in Michigan-based startups.
"For every $1 we put in them they put $4 into the state," says Chris Rizik, CEO of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund. "It has worked out very well."
For instance, the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund made an investment in Houston-based Mercury Fund, which opened its Midwestern office in Ann Arbor. Mercury Fund has invested in Ann Arbor-based startups like DeepField and Swift Biosciences.
The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund and its team of four people have already made eight investments in venture capital firms and is aiming to make three side-by-side investments in startups with those VCs. The second fund has been active for two years and is looking to continue to keep going this year.
"We probably have another 3-4 years left to invest," Rizik says.
Source: Chris Rizik, CEO of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund
Writer: Jon Zemke