Skip to content

Disrupting Venture Capital in the Midwest

2 min read

In my last post, I wrote about the best startup advice I’ve ever gottenthink bigger. Truly the best advice I’ve ever gotten and I encourage you to read that post if you haven’t already.

And in my first post, I talked about the entrepreneurial gold rush going on in Detroit and why I moved here from San Francisco. Another great post to get even more perspective.

But so what?

I didn’t just move here to be part of rebuilding Detroit through entrepreneurial fire.

I didn’t just move here to think bigger.

I also moved here to disrupt venture capital.

Wait, what? How can you disrupt an industry known for guys sitting back in offices, sipping cocktails, and writing checks to that lucky, aspiring entrepreneur they so happened to like that one day they were actually working that week?


I’m a blue collar VC. I’m rolling up my sleeves, and getting down and dirty with my startup companies. I’m their silent co-founder, behind the scenes, working the midnight oil.

But I’m not alone. I’m joined by a team of street fighters at Detroit Venture Partners. Yup, street fighters, helping our companies to fight and stay alive in an ever fierce corporate world.

Why us? Everyone on our senior team has deep, startup operational experience. We know what it is like to start a company from scratch, to live on ramen and barely have enough money to make payroll. To know the ups and downs of startup life. We know how to persevere. We have grit. And most importantly, we know how to win.

And we’re not alone.

We’re part of a growing crop of venture capitalists that are building teams focused on operational experience and truly helping startups, not merely writing a check and then off playing golf.

With less than 100 active venture capital funds in the US, the landscape is changing quickly.

“I would say the next 10 years look phenomenal for venture capital. But the market expects more than money these days. I think that is a major shift in our industry.”Mark Suster, General Partner at GRP Partners and 2x Entrepreneur

Mark does a great job of giving his perspective on the disruption in venture capital in this video.

Forward-thinking VCs are using their operational experience in creative ways and raising their public profiles through blogs and social media, he said. Their greater public personae and more active portfolio company participation helps to differentiate them in a consolidating industry, Mark noted. The result is a shift in how deals are sourced and a crumbling of the old-boy networks that once led top portfolio companies to a small group of established firms.

Well said.

Leaders in this emerging world include Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Google Ventures, and True Ventures.

But these are coastal VCs. What about the other 90% of the US?

Hello, Detroit Venture Partners.

It’s no secret. Detroit Venture Partners has only been investing in startups for 2 years (since April 2011) and is already disrupting venture capital in Michigan. But we’re not stopping in Michigan. In my next post, I’ll be talking about the diamond in the Midwest.

Disrupt, or be disrupted.

And that’s another reason I’ve moved from San Francisco to Detroit.

I’m here to disrupt.

Detroitventure capitalstartups

Related Posts

Bosch Acquires Techstars Mobility Graduate SPLT

Today, I’m delighted to announce that Bosch has acquired SPLT. Splitting Fares, (aka “SPLT”), went through the 2015 Techstars Mobility Accelerator program. Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier and corporate partner to Techstars Mobility, has created a new Connected Mobility Solutions division to house the SPLT team and

Detroit — 4 min read

Techstars Mobility and 3 Portfolio Companies Make History at North American International Auto Show

Today, for the first time in the show’s 100+ year history, three early-stage technology startups are making press announcements at the North American International Auto Show. On January 15, 2018, three Techstars Mobility startups made history as the first early-stage startups to take the main press stage. Spatial announced

Detroit Auto Show — 4 min read

One Entrepreneur’s Journey: Jon Rossi, 2015 Techstars Detroit Founder

Meet Jon Rossi: Founder and CEO of MyDealerService. Jon is one example of a passionate founder who has experienced the Techstars network in many different ways.

founders — 1 min read